How to Utilize Space in a Small Kitchen

Do you live in a place with a small kitchen? You may have recently moved to a new home or apartment with a smaller kitchen, or perhaps you are considering such a move. Either way, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. It’s your playground. It’s the heart of your home. It should be well-organized and a place you want to be in.

To help you accomplish this, here’s our tips to help you utilize your small kitchen more effectively in order to make it both convenient and attractive.

Make a Plan

Small Kitchen

The first thing you need to do is make a plan. Sit down in your kitchen and look around. Involve your family or significant other in this discussion. With a pad and a pencil decide if, or where, you need to make any renovations.

For example, adding glass cabinet doors will make your kitchen look larger. So, you may want to replace the cabinet doors to reveal open shelving and help “open” up the room.

Now that you have a general idea of what you want your kitchen to look like, it’s time to get to work.


Are you going to paint? If so, light colors or white will make the space appear larger. The same goes for adding an accent wall, a wall that is a darker shade than the rest. In this instance, adding an accent all at the end or back of the kitchen will help make it look deeper than it really is. You can also paint the back of your open or glass fronted cabinets. The best color for the ceiling is white or a very light off-white shade.


Now is also a good time to add better lighting to your kitchen. Consider under-the-counter lighting to highlight your counter tops. Light makes an area appear larger, so keep any windows uncovered to allow sunlight in. And don’t forget overhead lighting.

If you already have the lighting that you want, consider upgrading the fixtures. A new light fixture can give your kitchen a completely new look. They’re easy to install and not too expensive.

Add An Island or Rolling Cart

If your kitchen is large enough for an island, it can provide extra storage and also be a convenient seating space with the addition of a chair or two. If you want an island, but don’t have the space, get a rolling cart. This is the preferred method for those living in compact spaces, as you can always move it out of the way when it’s not in use. Additionally, a small table can be pushed against one wall or below a window for food prep and a small eating area.

Small Appliances

If you need new appliances for your kitchen, you should consider buying smaller counter-top units. Nowadays, pretty much every appliance comes in a smaller, counter-top version. These smaller appliances are easier to store when you have no use for them, but still get the job done like their larger counterparts.

Organizing it all

Now that you have a fresh coat of paint and can see it with the right lighting, it’s time to organize it all. All you have to do now is decide where everything is going. One idea is to arrange your kitchen so you have “centers” – everything for baking in one area, and for breakfast – coffee cups, cereals, bowls, etc. – in another.

Now, it is time to clean up and out. Get rid of whatever you do not need or use. If you haven’t used it in the last few years, chances are you never will. Also, see if you can do without some items that take us a great deal of space. For example, that huge turkey roaster you used to use when the family came at Christmas. Let it go. Face it, there is no way you can cook dinner for twenty-plus people in this little kitchen. If you managed to do so, where would you put all of them to sit down and eat it? Give it to one of your children, donate it to Goodwill or just throw it away. Later, if you decide to cook a large piece of meat, get a disposable aluminum roasting pan.

Consider adding a ceiling rack for pots and pans. If that won’t work, try adding a pegboard to hang up some of these essentials. You can paint the pegboard to match the walls.

As you reorganize your kitchen, consider the following:

  • Mount items on walls below cabinets, or on hooks under cabinets.
  • Racks in cabinets can make stacking dishes easier.
  • Consolidate – Stack and nest (mixing bowls, measuring cups, food storage containers).
  • Keep counters clean and neat. Clutter will make your area look smaller. Only keep the essential appliances on your counter tops.
  • Get dishes done promptly. Having dirty dishes on the counter decreases space.
  • Use all available space. Consider using appliances for storage. Your fridge and freezer, if not full, can be used to store nuts, coffee, grains, etc.
  • Shiny surfaces will “bounce” the light, making the space look larger.
  • Consider using all one color for whatever is out; this carries the eye around the kitchen and makes it appear larger.
  • When it comes to food, don’t buy what you don’t need or will not be using soon. Initially, this may be difficult if you are used to buying in bulk.

Fully utilizing the space in your kitchen is an easy task. Start with a plan, renovate and renew, and your small kitchen space can provide a comfortable, cozy, cooking and (possibly) eating area.

Jeff Flowers

About Author

Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.


  1. Jean Cushman says

    You didn’t mention countertops and what would be the best – granite with lots of colors (all in the same family of colors) or something that’s light and not stone.

  2. bob says

    I certainly appreciate the need for organizing and downsizing. It’s just a matter of realizing what you really need and what you can learn to live without. In this case anything that will use up precious space. Nicely written!

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