A small, minimalist kitchen can be both charming and highly functional with the right design approach. By focusing on multi-purpose furniture, hidden storage, and streamlined aesthetics, you can create an efficient and organized space that feels airy and open, despite its petite proportions. Follow these 16 essential tips to maximize every square inch and embrace the beauty of less in your compact kitchen.

Choose Light, Neutral Colors

Painting the walls, cabinetry, and trim work a soft white or light neutral shade is a classic minimalist trick that makes a small kitchen feel clean and spacious. Avoid darker colors, which can close off the space, in favor of soft tones like:

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Light gray
  • Pale yellow
  • Subtle blue
  • Light green

White paint has a timeless appeal and pairs well with any color accents or materials you add. For a bit of visual interest, consider a light natural wood stain on the cabinets. Just steer clear of strong, saturated colors that overwhelm.

Install Mirrored Surfaces

Strategically placed mirrors are a go-to for small kitchens because they visually double the space. Install a mirrored backsplash, use mirrored cabinet doors, or affix a large mirror to the wall to make your kitchen feel instantly larger. Ample natural light bouncing off the reflective surfaces enhances the bright, airy aesthetic.

Rethink the Sink Area

The sink area is often the bulkiest part of a small kitchen, so reconsider traditional setups. Some space-saving ideas include:

  • A wall-mounted faucet that frees up counter space.
  • A slender apron sink instead of a large farmhouse style.
  • A small prep sink in addition to the main sink for improved workflow.
  • Shelving or cabinets above the sink rather than windows, which take up wall space.

Removing bulky surrounds and upgrading to a sleek sink keeps the look minimalist. Think modern and utilitarian.

Build Floating Shelves

Floor-to-ceiling shelving is great for small kitchens, but even better is shelving that appears to “float” on the wall without bracket supports. This looks especially streamlined and modern in a minimalist space. Use floating shelves near the cooktop to store spices, oils, and other cooking essentials while freeing up precious counters.

Hide Appliances with Custom Panels

Standalone appliances like a refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher can make a petite kitchen feel cluttered. For a streamlined look, have custom front panels made to match your cabinetry fronts and conceal these appliances seamlessly. Paint the panels the same neutral tone as the cabinets for a cohesive built-in appearance. This trick works especially well for small galley kitchens.

Opt for Compact Appliances

When choosing appliances, select more compact models tailored for small kitchens. Look for:

  • A narrow 24-inch refrigerator and freezer instead of a larger model.
  • A small 18-inch dishwasher that fits in tight spaces.
  • A mini stove like an apartment-sized model just 20-24 inches wide.
  • A microwave with a trim kit for a built-in look.

Measure carefully to find the best fit. Compact appliances prevent bulky look.

Install Wall-Mounted Faucets

By installing wall-mounted faucets that remove the need for a sink deck, you can regain several inches of precious counter space in a small kitchen. Look for minimalist designs with long, graceful necks for a streamlined appearance. Position faucets on the wall behind the sink, on the side, or directly across from the sink basin to maximize functionality.

Choose Multi-Purpose Furniture

Instead of dedicating furniture pieces to a single function, find designs that multitask. For example:

  • An island with seating and storage.
  • A bench tucked into a dining table.
  • A coffee station built into a kitchen cart.
  • Tables with lift-tops to access storage below when not in use.

Dual-purpose furniture fits more function into your small kitchen.

Use Glass Cabinet Doors

While open shelving has a minimalist appeal, it also exposes clutter. For a streamlined look that hides kitchenware and pantry items, have some upper cabinets fitted with glass doors. The transparent panels maintain visibility while concealing everything inside. For lower cabinets, use doors minus handles to continue the sleek, uncluttered aesthetic.

Install Pull-Out Shelving

Maximize vertical storage space in base cabinets and drawers by installing pull-out shelves on tracks. These allow you to see and access items in the back that normally go unused in deep cabinets. Pull-outs also make a small kitchen more ergonomic by reducing bending and reaching. Include a combination of shelves and drawers for an organized layout.

Choose Wall-Mounted Tables

A standard kitchen table requires ample space to pull chairs in and out. In a squeezed kitchen, use a wall-mounted drop-leaf table that folds down when not in use. Look for compact caf� tables that support two stools and tuck up against the wall or fold down from a shelf when you need dining space.

Add Discreet Lighting

Bulky overhead fixtures like a chandelier or pendant lights only clutter the sight lines in a small kitchen with low ceilings. For a streamlined look, install recessed or track lighting that offers general illumination without the visual weight. You can supplement discreet overhead lighting with task lighting, like under-cabinet LED strips to brighten countertops.

Hide Small Appliances

A clutter of small appliances on your counters can overwhelm a petite kitchen. Keep these conveniently at hand but out of sight by storing them in drawers or cabinets fitted with electrical outlets inside. Simply open the drawer or door to use the appliance, then tuck it away again in seconds. This keeps the minimalist aesthetic.

Design Efficient Drawers

Instead of wide drawers that hold a sparse few items, optimize your small kitchen with deeper, narrower drawers designed to fit cooking utensils, servingware, and other essentials. Include dividers to organize contents neatly. Effective drawers prevent kitchen clutter on counters when space is limited.

Select Wall-Mounted Storage

Take storage up rather than out with wall-mounted rails, tracks, and hooks that accommodate everything from utensils to pots and pans. Mount a hanging knife rack inside a cabinet door. Use wall-mounted shelving for cookbooks. Take advantage of vertical space for storage.

Embrace Multi-Tasking Furniture

when possible, choose furniture and fixtures that serve multiple purposes. A great example is the kitchen island, which can function as a generous work surface, informal dining area, and storage unit all in one. Maximize islands with a combination of cabinets, shelves, and drawers. A kitchen cart is another excellent adaptable option, providing work space, open shelving, and extra storage. Even your stools can include hidden compartments. Furniture with built-in versatility is essential for petite kitchens.

Adopt an Organized Minimalist Approach

Edit down to the essentials and then organize those remaining items for a clutter-free look. Inside drawers and cabinets, use dividers, bins and trays to create a place for everything. Avoid letting anything accumulate on counters, which quickly makes a small kitchen feel chaotic. The fewer items on display, the cleaner the aesthetic, so donate, recycle or get rid of what you don’t use to pare down to basics.

Provide Adequate Task Lighting

Cove lights installed under cabinets provide ideal task lighting that illuminates countertops for food prep and cooking safety. On upper cabinets, puck lights shine down to brightly illuminate the workspace below without competing visually in the petite space. Other options include strip lighting under shelves or ceiling-flush swivel fixtures that direct light right where you need it. Provide abundant task lighting even with minimal visual fixtures.

Embrace Multi-Purpose Furniture

When possible, choose furniture and fixtures that serve multiple purposes. A great example is the kitchen island, which can function as a generous work surface, informal dining area, and storage unit all in one. Maximize islands with a combination of cabinets, shelves, and drawers. A kitchen cart is another excellent adaptable option, providing work space, open shelving, and extra storage. Even your stools can include hidden compartments. Furniture with built-in versatility is essential for petite kitchens.

Install Sliding Storage

Sliding mechanisms allow you to conceal elements like trash and recycling bins, baking pans, and even small appliances behind cabinet doors that glide open. Look for cabinets and shelves fitted with commercial-grade hardware that enables doors to disappear into the frame. The hardware allows full extension so you can access contents easily. Sliding storage gives a hidden functionality.

Prioritize Multi-Purpose Items

Seek out kitchenware and cooking tools that offer multiple uses, rather than singular-function gadgets that take up space. Some examples include:

  • A Dutch oven that braises, sautés, bakes, and more.
  • A cutting board with built-in colander and drawer for offcuts.
  • An immersion blender with attachments for food processing tasks.
  • A panini press that also works as a grill.

Multitaskers prevent clutter and make the most of the space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key principles for designing a minimalist kitchen?

Some core principles for minimalist kitchen design include:

  • Utilizing clean lines, neutral tones, and ample natural light for an airy, uncluttered look.
  • Focusing on multifunctional, wall-mounted, or concealed storage to reduce visual clutter.
  • Choosing streamlined furnishings and fittings with a modern, utilitarian aesthetic.
  • Editing down to essentials and organizing remaining items out of sight.
  • Taking advantage of mirrors, glass cabinetry, and other tricks that visually expand the space.
  • Rethinking traditional elements like the sink, appliances, and lighting fixtures.

What are some space-saving tips for small kitchen appliances?

  • Look for apartment-sized or narrower models to fit compact kitchens better.
  • Install appliances on retractable lifts or slides that tuck them out of sight.
  • Store small appliances like mixers and blenders inside kitchen cabinets fitted with outlets.
  • Mount microwaves or coffee makers on the wall at eye-level to free up counter space.
  • Choose smaller versions of appliances like mini-fridges, convection ovens, or toaster ovens.

How can you maximize storage in a small kitchen?

  • Use wall space for mounted rails, tracks, hooks, and shelves.
  • Opt for cabinetry with drawers and pull-outs vs. hard-to-access cabinets.
  • Install smart organizers like lazy susans, racks, and adjustable shelving to optimize cabinets and drawers.
  • Conceal items behind sliding doors and hardware that allows full access.
  • Store items you rarely use in one or two larger drawers rather than spread across many.
  • Pare down to essentials and keep everything organized neatly to save space.

What are some of the best paint colors for opening up a small kitchen?

Soft white, very light gray, pale blue, light green, ivory, and other super-light neutral shades visually expand a small kitchen. Darker colors tend to make petite kitchens feel closed in and cluttered. Aim for airy, bright hues that keep things light and spacious.

What are some tips for reducing clutter in a minimalist kitchen?

  • Store small appliances, utensils, and cookware out of sight in cabinets, drawers, and closets.
  • Use trays, bins, and organizers inside cabinets to neatly corral contents.
  • Pare down to only essential items and get rid of duplicates.
  • Clean all surfaces frequently to prevent clutter build-up.
  • Choose furniture like islands or kitchen carts with ample built-in storage.
  • Use sliding doors, garage hardware, and concealed storage where possible.
  • Take advantage of wall space with mounted rails, shelves, and racks.


While diminutive in size, a small, minimalist kitchen can still provide ample function and style by playing with lighting, multi-purpose furnishings, streamlined aesthetics, and concealed storage. The key is editing down to essentials, maximizing every inch of space, and embracing light and bright colors and finishes that give the illusion of expanse. With clever, customized design choices, tiny kitchens can feel open, uncluttered, and serene.