7 Ways to Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen

Is a closet-sized kitchen cramping your style? Here's how to maximize kitchen efficiency in even the tiniest of spaces.

By Lucy E. Halse

 

Even if you’re working with a small studio apartment, there's hope for making your kitchen look and feel less crowded. The best part is that you can balance your needs of storage and function while letting your personality show through. By following a few designer tips, you can make your small kitchen look bigger with vertical storage space, beautiful vintage mirrors, adding a glossy finish to your paint, and more. Whether you're making small changes or major improvements to your dwelling, keep in mind that adding light to your kitchen and keeping clutter at bay by maximizing storage space are key techniques to enhancing the kitchen space you already have. Just add a few pieces of multi-purpose furniture, and guests will love coming to your house for dinner!

 

1. Think Tall

If you can't build horizontally, go vertical. Chances are there’s space between your existing cabinets and the ceiling. Make use of this real estate by adding a row of cubbies above your cabinets and windows to get a little bit more storage space. To store your pots and pans, consider a pot rack. Place it above your kitchen island, or another open area, and hang your cookware from the hooks. Adding a shelf above your stove also keeps clutter out of the way and frees up cabinet and counter space. If you have really tall cabinets, get a vintage library-style sliding ladder to reach those top-shelf items.

 

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2. Let There Be Light (with White)

White, which reflects sunlight, makes a small room look bigger and sunnier. Give your cabinets a fresh coat of white paint, and they will instantly brighten up the space. You can take it a step further by accenting the walls with white subway tile to capture the sun's morning and evening light. Pair the tiles with complementary finishes like brass hardware and a frosted chandelier. If you're hesitant about decking out your kitchen in one color, try a slightly off-white color for the walls, like beige or light gray, and paint the trim and moldings white. Having this color contrast will also produce the illusion of more light and space.

 

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3. Slim Down Your Furnishings

If you're working with a small space, you don't want to have large, bulky furnishings taking up space. That doesn't mean you have to give up on your favorite kitchen accessories, however. A slender, petite kitchen island is a natural addition to your space-impaired room. In addition to adding visual appeal, it serves as a cooking space, an eating area, and even a storage tool. Pair it with stools, which can be stored away when not in use, or slender chairs. If you're planning to get a kitchen table, look for a compact one that you can move against a wall or even store in another room when it's not in use. Swap out a set of cumbersome kitchen chairs with a wooden bench. With its hollow design, a bench comes in handy as a storage area, too for your towels, cookbooks, place settings and more. While you're at it, look for smaller appliances, like a slim refrigerator and compact dishwasher.

 

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4. Make Use of Mirrors

With their reflective properties, mirrors add dimension to the surrounding space. Place vintage mirrors on your kitchen cabinets to make the interior feel larger. You can also dress up your kitchen with mirrored backsplash, which adds light to a dark kitchen. The advantage of mirrors is that they are both functional and decorative, so you can keep an eye on your stir-fry browning on the stove as you move about the kitchen. They can also show off your prize possessions. Add vintage mirror backsplash behind your china teapot or an artisan vase to make them stand out. Before you decorate, be sure to get mirrors with glass that's designed specifically for kitchens, as they are less prone to damage from heat and moisture.

 

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5. Get Sliding Doors

Sliding doors, which are sleek and compact, are a wonderful alternative to swing doors for small spaces. You can easily use sliding doors to close off the kitchen from surrounding rooms, like the dining room, to minimize noise and let guests enjoy their conversation while you cook. When you're done, just slide the doors back into place, and your room returns to its normal size. Sliding doors come in many styles, including finished and unfinished wood, so you can choose the one that matches your home's unique style.

 

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6. Don't Forget the Ceiling

If you're worried about visitors noticing your too-compact space, just direct their attention upwards. You can make the ceiling part of your comprehensive space-maximizing plan with a few simple tricks. To make your room look taller, get ceiling boards made with vertical lines. Budget-permitting, you can also extend the tile backsplash from your walls to the ceiling. Merging the dividing line between the wall and ceiling makes the walls look taller, which in turn makes the room look bigger.

 

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7. Give it a Strong Finish

If you're repainting your kitchen, don't forget about the ending. Adding a coat of high-gloss finish to the walls adds shine to your painted surfaces and gives the illusion that the room is bigger. You can also lacquer the ceiling to give your kitchen a nice shine all around. The ceiling will also reflect light onto the floor, which makes your space look bigger.

 

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From floor to ceiling, there are many creative ways to make the most of your small cooking space. You might not be able to fit that rustic double sink or high-end oven range into your kitchen right now, but you can still make the most of the space you have with a bit of creativity and common sense. 

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

Next: Open Shelving Concept for the Kitchen: Why (and How) to Pull It Off