Tiny kitchens can present some unique design challenges, but they also provide opportunities for creativity and innovation. With careful planning and clever solutions, small kitchen spaces can be highly functional, beautiful, and filled with big ideas. From optimized layouts to space-saving features, the examples below showcase 50 tiny kitchens packed with inspiration.

Optimizing Layout in a Tiny Kitchen

The layout of a small kitchen requires careful consideration to maximize every inch. Here are some effective strategies for optimizing workflow and storage in a tiny kitchen layout:

Create Zones

  • Divide the kitchen into zones for prep, cooking, cleaning to separate tasks and improve organization. Place items near where they’ll be used.

Add Islands

  • Islands provide extra prep space and storage while opening up the kitchen. Even a narrow island makes a big difference in a small room.

Use Peninsulas

  • Peninsulas connected to one wall optimize space efficiency. They expand the countertop working area without taking up as much floor space as an island.

Install Shelving

  • Open shelving along walls or above work areas takes advantage of vertical real estate for extra storage. Glass-front cabinetry also keeps everything visible.

Go Portable

  • Add lightweight carts and movable islands for flexible prep space that can roll where needed.

Remove Walls

  • For an open concept, knock down walls between the kitchen and other rooms to expand space.

Clever Storage Solutions for Tiny Kitchens

Maximizing every inch of storage is essential in a compact kitchen. Here are innovative solutions to get the most from kitchen storage:

Use Drawers and Pull-Outs

  • Drawers and pull-out cabinetry provide easy access to items that would otherwise be buried in deep cupboards. Roll-out trays and shelves reach back corners.

Add Undershelf Baskets

  • Hanging wire baskets under shelves and cabinets create storage for small items like spices.

Install L-Shaped Corner Cabinets

  • These make use of awkward dead space in corners. The L-shape provides storage along two walls.

Buy Multi-Level Organizers

  • Stackable shelves, cake stands, layered cutlery trays, and vertical in-cabinet organizers maximize vertical storage.

Mount on the Backs of Doors

  • Hanging spice racks, cutting boards, utensil hooks, and paper towel holders on the backs of doors add functional storage.

Get Creative with Dish Storage

  • Plate racks free up cabinet space. Dish drawers can hold full place settings. Hooks on the wall provide a spot for mugs.

Small Appliance and Kitchen Tool Picks

Choosing space-saving appliances and multi-purpose tools suited for tight spaces helps maximize utility in tiny kitchens. Consider these small yet mighty options:

  • Compact microwave – Skip the oven and opt for a small countertop microwave when possible. Many include grilling, convection, and baking functions.
  • Mini fridge – Undercounter and other petite refrigerators provide just enough space for essentials. Some even have mini freezers.
  • Single-serve coffee maker – For small kitchens, a single-cup brewer takes up less space than a traditional machine. Look for ones with a detachable water reservoir.
  • Immersion blender – This handheld wand blends, whisks, and purees right in pots, bowls, and pitchers so no bulky appliance is needed.
  • Electric kettle – Boil water faster than a stovetop with a sleek cordless kettle. Many include temperature controls for the perfect cup of coffee or tea.
  • Toaster oven – Toast, bake, and broil in this multipurpose small appliance instead of turning on the full-sized oven.
  • Multi-cookers – Devices like the Instant Pot pressure cook, sauté, steam, and more all-in-one pot.
  • 2-in-1 tools – Items like a spatula/turner, peeler/bottle opener, and zester/grater combine multiple tools in one.
  • Magnetic knife strips – Mounting knives on the wall saves drawer and counter space.
  • Vertical utensil holders – Hold cooking spoons, spatulas, and other tools in countertop containers with a narrow footprint.

Space-Saving Countertop Tips for Tiny Kitchens

Making the most of countertops helps maximize function in a small kitchen. Consider these space-saving ideas:

Use Lids or Boards as Extra Surface Area

Turn lids, cutting boards, tray lids, and cookbooks into instant extra prep space. Store flat items like these near the countertop to pull out when needed.

Add Tiered Storage

Try narrow, vertical racks for spices, utensils, cutting boards, bakeware, and more. These provide storage and access without taking up precious surface area.

Install Adjustable Tables

Fold-down counters, tabletops on raised arms, and other adjustable work surfaces can be pulled out or lifted as needed for temporary prep space.

Opt for Retractable Faucets

Faucets that pull out and retract back into the counter free up room that would otherwise be taken up by a bulky faucet and base.

Use Wall-Mounted Storage

Pot racks, shelving, and hanging utensil racks keep items organized while minimizing countertop clutter.

Nifty Flooring Ideas for Small Kitchen Spaces

Choosing the right kitchen flooring can make a small space feel open rather than cramped. Consider these flooring options suited for tiny kitchens:

Light-Colored Wood

Hardwood flooring in light stains helps reflect light around the room to create an airy, spacious feeling. Maple or birch are nice choices.

White or Light Tile

Similarly, white or very light-colored tile creates brightness. Glossy finishes and smaller tile sizes enhance this effect. Mosaic tiles can make floors appear wider.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring comes in wood-like finishes but is warmer and more comfortable underfoot than real wood. Durability and water resistance are added bonuses.

Polished Concrete

Concrete floors polished to a high-gloss finish bounce light well. The smoothness makes them wheelchair-friendly too. Add radiant floor heating for extra coziness.

Custom Patterned Floors

Make a small kitchen feel bigger with creative use of color, shape, and pattern. Try bold checkerboard tiles or concentric circles.

Lighting Tricks to Brighten Tiny Kitchens

Proper lighting prevents a small kitchen from feeling dark and closed in. Maximize light with these tips:

Add Skylights and Windows

More natural daylight makes any space feel more open. If adding a window isn’t possible, consider a solar tube skylight.

Use Mirrors

Strategically placed mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. Hang one near a window to amplify daylight.

Go for Light Colors

Painting walls, cabinets, and ceiling light colors keeps things bright. Off-whites, pale yellows, and light blues are good choices.

Add Under-Cabinet Lighting

Strip lighting illuminates countertops and work areas without taking up space. Choose warm white or natural daylight bulbs.

Use Pendant Lights

Draw the eye upward and let light spread down over the room with stylish pendant lamps or chandeliers.

Install Sconces

Spotlight specific areas like food prep zones with wall-mounted swing arm sconces. Point toward countertops or ingredients.

Layer Lighting

Combine several lighting sources like recessed overhead lights, pendants, sconces, and under-cabinet strips for well-lit workspace.

Style Ideas for Small Kitchens

Just because a kitchen is tiny doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. These tips help add personality:

Infuse Color

Bright, saturated hues make a vibrant statement. Try a colorful backsplash, accent wall, or vibrant cabinetry. Pale blues and greens are soothing.

Showcase Collections

Display collections like stacks of colorful enamelware bowls or rows of matching ceramic canisters. This personalizes the space.

Add Warm Metal Accents

Matte black or bronze hardware, fixtures, and appliances add an elegant, modern touch without overpowering a petite room.

Incorporate Natural Textures

Natural materials like butcher block, rattan baskets, stone backsplashes, and wood open shelving add warmth.

Pick Streamlined Furnishings

Avoid bulky decor and furniture. Slim tables and open-base stools maintain an airy feel.

Personalize with Art

Hang art you love, like decorative plates or framed photos. This makes a mini-kitchen truly yours.

Tiny Kitchen Remodel Ideas

Giving a tired, outdated small kitchen a makeover can modernize it and make it more livable. Remodeling ideas include:

Knock Down Walls

Remove non-load-bearing walls to open the kitchen to living spaces if possible. This expands it without adding square footage.

Add New Countertops

Replacing laminate countertops with stone adds style. Lighter-colored natural stone opens up the space.

Install Backsplashes

Creative backsplashes like handmade tiles or natural stone make a big visual impact in a small area.

Update Cabinetry

New shaker-style cabinets with soft close hinges and built-in organizational features optimize storage.

Replace Appliances

Trading bulky appliances for new streamlined versions saves space. Add pull-out faucets and drawer-style dishwashers.

Improve Lighting

Update old fluorescent lights with new fixtures like LED under-cabinet and track lighting. Add pendants over islands.

Change the Sink

A larger single basin sink adds work area. Apron-front styles are attractive. Add a pull-down faucet.

Install Mini Splashbacks

A small strip of tile behind sinks and stoves prevents splatter without overwhelming a tiny kitchen.

Clever Tiny House Kitchens

Tiny homes demand especially smart small kitchen design. Ideas from inspired tiny house kitchens include:

Use Ladders for Storage

Mount pots, pans, and utensils on a vertical ladder to save precious floor space. Hang over the sink, stove, or island.

Add Fold-Down Prepping Tables

Mounted on hinges, these pull-out of the wall as needed for temporary work area then tuck away. Great near entrances and corners.

Incorporate Hideaway Appliances

Look for stoves and fridges that slide out of sight like drawers or lift up into the wall. Even microwaves can be mounted underneath counters.

Opt for Combination Appliances

Instead of separate ovens, cooktops, and microwaves, pick combination appliances to consolidate. Washer/dryers also save space.

Choose Double Duty Furniture

In tiny homes, look for furniture like storage ottomans and table/chairs that serve multiple purposes.

Install Pocket Doors

Doors that slide into the walls are space-savers. No swing zone is needed so you can place furniture right up to the doorway.

Add Fixed Corner Shelving

Taking advantage of odd small angles, c-shaped corner shelving adds storage without eating up floor space.

Space-Saving Design Ideas for Apartment Kitchens

Even rented apartment kitchens can become more functional with DIY upgrades and space-conscious furnishing. Ideas include:

Use Wall-Mounted Folding Tables

Attach a table to the wall on a hinge so it can be folded up against the wall when not in use to keep the walkway clear.

Convert Closet to Pantry

Take over an adjacent closet to make a handy walk-in pantry for expanded food storage. Add shelves and baskets.

Buy Wall-Mounted Shelving

Floating shelves mounted on walls provide display space and storage without bulky furniture. Great for spices, cookbooks, decorative items.

Add Over-the-Door Storage

Utilize the back of doors by mounting sturdy shelves or multiple hooks to hold everything from utensils to keys.

Use Rolling Carts

Carts and wheeled islands that roll out provide movable prep space that can be tucked away under counters when not needed.

Opt for Barstools Over Chairs

Barstool seating at kitchen peninsulas takes up less space than chairs and makes an eat-in kitchen feel more open.

Choose Small Scale Furnishings

Opt for narrow bistro tables and folding stools instead of a full dining set. Lightweight ottomans work better than bulky chairs.

Creating Multi-Purpose Spaces in Tiny Kitchens

With some adjustments, even the tiniest kitchen can multitask as a workspace, dining spot, and more. Ideas for multi-functional use include:

Add an Adjustable Dining Table

Tables that fold up against the wall or down from it save space when not in use for meals.

Use a Counter Overhang as a Bar

Overhanging countertops make a perfect spot for quick casual meals. Add barstools instead of chairs.

Install a Drop-Leaf Table

A compact table that folds out to seat more is ideal. Tuck into corners when closed.

Buy Furniture That Doubles as Storage

Look for benches and ottomans with storage space inside to substitute for cabinets. Coffee tables with shelving work too.

Add Wheels to Bulky Objects

Putting heavy furniture like islands and hutches on wheels allows them to be moved aside to open up floor space for other functions when needed.

Use Racks for Vertical Storage

Free up cabinets by storing cookware vertically on racks. This opens shelving for alternate uses like workspace storage.

Make Temporary Desks

Pull a small table or counter up to a wall and add a chair as needed to create an impromptu work station.

FAQ About Tiny Kitchen Design

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about designing tiny, space-saving kitchens:

What are some essentials for a highly functional tiny kitchen?

Some top essentials for maximizing usability in a compact kitchen are good lighting, space-saving fixtures like pull-out faucets, drawer appliances, optimized storage solutions like roll out shelves and vertical organizers, and portable carts or islands to expand work areas.

How can I make a very small kitchen feel bigger?

Using light colors on walls, cabinets, and floors help reflect light and create an airy look. Adding mirrors enhances light and the feeling of openness. Clever storage solutions like open shelving, hanging pots racks, and mounted wall tables keep things organized while minimizing visual clutter.

What are some good compact appliances for small kitchens?

Some great small appliance options include mini fridges, portable induction cooktops, convection microwaves or toaster ovens, coffeemakers with detachable reservoirs, electric kettles, immersion blenders, multi-cookers like Instant Pot, and 2-in-1 tools that combine multiple functions.

Should I get an island for my tiny kitchen?

Islands are almost always beneficial, even in very small kitchens, because they substantially expand work surface area and storage. Just be sure to leave enough room for traffic flow. Movable cart-style islands can roll aside when not needed.

What type of sink should I get for a petite kitchen?

Opt for a compact single-basin sink, which maximizes workspace next to it. An apron-front style can look great in a small kitchen. Add a pull-down sprayer faucet to gain flexibility when cleaning and preparing food.

How much space do I need for a mini kitchen?

While it’s possible to cook in a very small kitchen of 50 square feet, most tiny but functional kitchens are in the 75-125 square foot range. This allows for smart workspace plus room for 1-2 people to move around.

What should I avoid in a small kitchen remodel?

Steer clear of bulky traditional furniture and clawfoot tubs. Skip full-size appliances if narrower options are available. Avoid dark colors, heavy beams or textured ceilings that make the space feel closed in. Minimize upper cabinets to keep things light.


While tiny kitchens present some design challenges, they offer big opportunities for innovation and creativity through space-saving layouts, storage solutions, appliances and furnishings. Careful planning allows even the smallest kitchen to feel open, stylish, and highly functional. These 50 inspiring examples demonstrate that big cooking potential can come in small packages. With some imagination, tiny kitchens can be one of the most efficient, personalized, and enjoyable rooms in the home.

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