A narrow kitchen can feel cramped and limiting, but with some creative solutions, you can transform your small kitchen into an enjoyable and functional space. Here are 9 tips to help you make the most of your narrow kitchen layout.

Optimize Storage with Tall Cabinets

Install tall cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling to maximize vertical storage space. You can store less frequently used items up high while keeping everyday dishes and cookware within easy reach. Try open shelves or glass-front cabinets to prevent a closed-in feeling.

Add Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space

Strategically placed mirrors will instantly make your kitchen feel larger and brighter. Install a mirror on the backsplash or across from windows to reflect light and views. You can also mount one on the back of a door or cabinet to visually double the size of the room.

Go for Retractable Faucets

Retractable faucets are space-savers that fold back into the countertop or wall when not in use. This frees up precious counter space in a narrow galley kitchen. Look for high-quality commercial-style retractable faucets for durability.

Install Slide-Out Storage

Make good use of awkward narrow spaces between cabinets or appliances by fitting them with slide-out storage units. These are available in a range of sizes as pull-out cabinets, racks, and shelves. Use them to neatly store cutting boards, trays, pans, and more.

Choose Multi-Function Furniture

Opt for furniture that serves multiple purposes, like a rolling cart that doubles as extra counter space and storage. Or try a drop-leaf table that folds down when not dining. Even a slim butcher block on a lower cabinet can function as a work surface for food prep.

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances

Swap out bulky appliances for slimmer, energy- and space-efficient models. Look for low-profile microwave-convection oven combos, long narrow french door refrigerators, and an apartment-sized stove or cooktop. This streamlines your cooking zone.

Integrate Extendable Work Surfaces

Make good use of every inch by installing extendable work surfaces that pop out from the wall as needed for food prep and tuck away when not in use. Try fold-down tables, flip-up counters, or compact cutting boards that slide out over the sink or stove.

Install Shelving Above Sink and Stove

Take advantage of the vertical real estate above your sink and stove by putting in shelves for display and storage. This is wasted space in many narrow kitchens. Use it for frequently accessed items like oils, spices, dish soap.

Embrace Open Shelving and Lighting

For a more spacious ambiance, skip upper cabinets altogether and opt for open shelving. This keeps the sightlines open. Pair with plenty of recessed and under-cabinet lighting to brighten up shadowy areas in your narrow kitchen.

A narrow kitchen layout presents storage, workspace, and lighting challenges. But with some clever solutions like space-saving storage, multi-functional furniture, retractable faucets, and mirrors, you can enjoy an efficient and inviting kitchen despite limited square footage. The key is optimizing every inch of space in your narrow kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Enjoying a Narrow Kitchen

How can I make my narrow kitchen feel less cluttered?

  • Prioritize vertical storage with tall cabinets and shelving to reduce visual clutter.
  • Store gadgets, appliances, and cookware you rarely use.
  • Use an organizing system like trays, racks, turntables to neatly contain items.
  • Clean surfaces and tidy up daily for a decluttered look.

What kind of flooring works best in a narrow kitchen?

  • Small-scale stone or tile flooring to make the space appear larger.
  • Solid bamboo or vinyl plank flooring to extend sightlines.
  • Avoid busy patterns which can make space feel cramped.

Should I paint my narrow kitchen a dark or light color?

  • Light, neutral colors like white, beige and pale gray visually expand a narrow kitchen.
  • Avoid dark colors which can make a small space feel closed in and cramped.
  • A darker accent wall in a complementary color can add depth.

What type of lighting works best in a small kitchen?

  • Recessed ceiling lights provide overall illumination without taking up space.
  • Under-cabinet lighting places task lighting where you need it.
  • Vertical strip lighting on edges adds ambiance without bulk.
  • Large pendant lights tend to overwhelm a petite kitchen.

How can I gain more counter space in my tight kitchen?

  • Add an expandable counter that folds down from the wall when needed.
  • Opt for a slim, movable kitchen cart that can double as a work surface.
  • Replace upper cabinets with open shelves to place frequently used items within reach.
  • Install a drop-down table or shelf behind the sink pipes when not in use.


A narrow galley kitchen presents unique challenges, but also possibilities for clever space-saving solutions. Focus on opening up sightlines, integrating storage vertically, installing space-extending accessories like pull-out surfaces, and choosing leaner appliances. With some creativity and optimization, your narrow kitchen can become an inviting culinary workspace you enjoy spending time in. The key is making the most of every inch while keeping your layout streamlined and clutter-free.