A well-designed kitchen is the heart of any home. It’s a place for creating delicious meals, bonding with family and friends, and making lifelong memories. For many homeowners, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to get right when renovating or building a house.

However, not everyone has the luxury of ample space for their dream kitchen. In tight urban areas, smaller homes, or multi-generational households, the kitchen often has to multitask as a laundry room, office, homeschooling station, and more.

The key to a successful small kitchen is smart storage, multi-functional fixtures, and a thoughtful layout. With clever design choices, compact kitchens can be just as functional and beautiful as their more spacious counterparts.

This week, we’re delighted to feature a stunning part-time kitchen that shows what’s possible in a petite footprint. Through brilliant space planning and chic design selections, this kitchen punches far above its modest square footage. It truly embodies the motto that in small spaces, every inch counts!

Overview of the Compact Kitchen

This week’s petite yet powerful kitchen is located in a historic townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. The owners, a professional couple with two school-aged daughters, purchased the 19th century property five years ago.

While rich with antique charm, the narrow three-story home was sorely lacking in modern functionality. The old kitchen was especially problematic. Wedged into a tiny back corner of the parlor floor, it was completely closed off from the rest of the home. Appliances and storage were woefully inadequate for the busy family’s needs.

A gut renovation was in order, but floorspace was extremely tight. The challenge was to open up and upgrade the kitchen without compromising the adjoining dining room or adjacent family room.

Bringing in an ingenious kitchen designer was the solution. Through reworking the layout and specifying space-saving elements, the designer carved out a kitchen that belies its mini footprint. Despite measuring just 110 square feet, the new kitchen is airy, highly functional, and beautifully styled.

Let’s take a look at how this petite part-time kitchen punches above its weight class!

Space Planning Optimizes Every Inch

In small kitchens, layout is paramount. The floorplan and workflow need to be meticulously planned to minimize steps and make the most of every inch. This renovation is a masterclass in intelligent space planning.

The first smart move was borrowing space from the adjoining dining area. By tweaking the layout, almost 20 extra square feet were gained for the kitchen. This allowed for better positioning of the appliances, prep zones, and storage.

Built-in cabinetry along the walls maximizes vertical storage. The peninsula contains base cabinets on one side for concealed storage, while the other side has stools for casual dining. This dual-purpose island opens up the kitchen to the living areas.

Appliances are full-sized for serious cooking, but thoughtfully slimmed down in depth. The slim refrigerator, slide-in range, and panel-ready dishwasher take up minimal floorspace. The microwave is tucked away in a base cabinet to keep counters clutter-free.

Multi-Functional Elements Do Double Duty

When working with limited kitchen real estate, it’s essential for fixtures and finishes to multitask. This space squeezes every ounce of functionality out of its features.

The kitchen island doubles as a breakfast bar with ample seating for quick meals and casual entertaining. Glass-front upper cabinets provide open display space while keeping items within easy reach.

The stainless steel sink integrates cleverly into the countertop, maximizing prep space. The Dacor Discovery wall oven has a special compartment that can be used for warming or as extra storage.

The polished nickel faucet by Brizo pulls triple duty as the primary sink faucet, filtered drinking water tap, and even an extendable sprayer for food prep.

Stylish Mix of Materials Adds Interest

Despite its modest footprint, this kitchen dazzles with upscale materials and finishes that interplay beautifully. The cabinetry mixes painted Shaker-style maple doors with lustrous stained oak. Sleek white Caesarstone countertops pop against the navy lower cabinets.

The glass mosaic tile backsplash from Fireclay Tile injects artisanal flair. Warm brass hardware and light fixtures provide an extra layer of polish. These refined yet unfussy finishes ensure the petite space never feels claustrophobic or cluttered.

Let There Be Light!

Abundant lighting is essential for small kitchens to feel open and airy instead of dark and gloomy. This design floods the space with light from all angles.

The glass cabinet doors keep sightlines open while pendant lights illuminate the counters and backsplash. Recessed can lighting in the ceiling generates overall ambient illumination.

A skylightinjects zenith brightness while enhancing the expansive feel. The window over the sink ushers in natural light while providing a connection to the outdoors. Light-colored surfaces bounce and amplify the light.

Storage Solutions Abound

In a compact kitchen, there can never be too much storage. This design squeezed storage into every nook and cranny. The Perimeter cabinetry provides copious space for dry goods, dishes, and small appliances. Deep drawers keep pots, pans, and serveware organized.

The pantry cabinets make use of normally wasted space by the refrigerator. Open shelves by the oven display pretty cookware while offering grab-and-go storage for essentials.

The kitchen island adds even more storage with large drawers for utensils and table linens. The stools hide additional storage for entertaining supplies.

Takeaways from a Petite yet Powerful Kitchen

This 110 square foot kitchen offers invaluable lessons for maximizing tiny cookspaces:

  • Carefully map out the floorplan and workflow to optimize every inch. Ensure appliances, storage, and prep zones are positioned for efficiency.
  • Select compact, multi-functional appliances and fixtures. Slim, space-saving appliances combined with versatile fixtures like an integrated sink/faucet maximize room for meal prep.
  • Use glass cabinets, open shelving, skylights and splashy backsplashes. Transparent and reflective materials make the space feel light and open.
  • Specify space-saving specialty storage. Cabinet innovations like pull-out pantries, lazy susans, and slide-out drawers organize more in less space.
  • Don’t overlook in-between spaces. Take advantage of awkward spots around appliances for extra storage.
  • Add seating for casual dining. Islands or banquettes allow small kitchens to flex for impromptu meals.

With ingenious space planning and design, this petite part-time kitchen shows that cooking in compact quarters can be a beautiful, highly functional joy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Compact Kitchen Design

Kitchens are often the most used yet most neglected room in home renovations, especially for houses with space constraints. Here are answers to common questions about optimizing small kitchen spaces:

How small is too small for a kitchen?

With creative layout and storage solutions, kitchens under 150 square feet can accommodate serious cooking and several people working at once. However, anything under 70 square feet will be extremely challenging for more than one cook.

What is the optimum small kitchen layout?

A single galley layout works well for tight spaces. Position the sink, prep zone, and appliances along one wall and maximize counter space. Locate the fridge near the entrance for easy access.

What storage solutions maximize space?

Pull-out pantries, corner lazy susans, drawer organizers, and rollout trays make the most of every cubic inch. Multi-tiered cabinets and wall-mounted racks double storage.

Which appliances minimize footprint?

Look for counter-depth fridges, slide-in or 24” ranges, and panel-ready dishwashers. Drawer or under-counter microwaves and compact cooktops are also excellent choices.

How can lighting be maximized in a small kitchen?

Layer lighting throughout with pendants, under-cabinet lights, recessed ceiling cans, and accent lighting. Include a skylight or window over the sink. Reflective surfaces like glass tile or mirrored backsplashes amplify light.

Should small kitchens avoid upper cabinets?

Not necessarily. Glass front upper cabinets keep the space feeling open while providing essential storage. Limit upper cabinets to only one wall to keep sightlines open.

What backsplash tiles work best?

Glossy tiles visually expand the space. Go for large-scale tiles to make the room feel bigger. Add tiles vertically on the walls or as full splashes instead of just small backsplashes.

What countertops help small kitchens?

Lighter solid surface counters like quartz visually open up the space. Seamless countertops make kitchens feel more expansive. Waterfall edges eliminate seams between counters and islands.

How can islands be added to tiny kitchens?

Even 24-30” wide islands can provide a landing spot for dining or extra prep space. Opt for movable cart islands if space is extremely tight. Just be sure to allow for ample circulation.


Small kitchens may be limited in size, but they can be unlimited in beauty and functionality. By exercising creativity with the floorplan, storage solutions, materials, and lighting, compact kitchens can be a complete joy to cook and entertain in.

While this week’s stunning 110 square foot kitchen makes a petite space feel so much larger, every home has different needs. The key is working with a talented designer who understands both ergonomic functionality and visually expanding tricks.

We hope this kitchen provides inspiration for upgrading cramped yet charming cookspaces of all sizes. Remember, no kitchen is too small for gorgeous, innovative design! With smart planning and choices, even the most modest kitchen can be a showstopper.

Kitchen of the Week: A Part-Time Space Fully Satisfies

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A beautifully designed kitchen is a central gathering spot and source of pride in any home. Yet when space is at a premium, it can be challenging to create a kitchen that is both stunning and supremely functional.

This week’s “Kitchen of the Week” reveals how even the most modest floorplan can be transformed into a gracefully stylish and efficient space. Through ingenious layout, storage hacks, and chic finishes, this compact cookspace punches far above its weight.

Let’s explore how every square inch was maximized in this petit yet powerful part-time kitchen!

The Design Challenge: A Tiny, Outdated Kitchen

The kitchen featured this week sits in a historic townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. While full of old-world charm, the home was sorely lacking in modern amenities.

The existing kitchen exemplified the issue. Tucked away in a tiny corner of the parlor floor, the space measured a miniscule 110 square feet. Appliances and storage were vastly insufficient for the owners, a family of four. Dark and closed off from the rest of the home, the kitchen felt cramped and utterly dysfunctional.

A renovation was crucial to create a kitchen tailored to the family’s busy lifestyle. However, the footprint could not be expanded due to the adjoining rooms. The challenge was optimizing every inch of the existing kitchen to make it both beautiful and high-functioning.

Planning an Open, Smart Layout

With only 110 square feet to work with, a highly efficient floorplan was paramount. The first design decision involved opening up the kitchen to adjacent living areas. By tweaking the layout, space was borrowed from the dining room to expand the footprint.

Positioning the appliances, work zones, and storage was carefully orchestrated. Some key elements of the smart layout:

  • Sink located close to the entry point for efficient workflow
  • Peninsula houses storage while separating the kitchen from dining
  • Ample counters with a dedicated prep zone
  • Slimline appliances maximize floorspace

By thoughtfully mapping out the footprint, the designer ensured every inch fulfilled an essential function. Despite its petite size, the kitchen now boasts an open, ergonomic workflow.

Specialty Storage Innovations

In compact kitchens, storage space always falls at a premium. To make the most of every bit of real estate, this design incorporated specialty innovations tailored to small homes:

  • Pull-out pantries – two larder cabinets provide access to deep pull-out shelves for storing dry goods. The shallow cabinets only extend 7-8” from the wall but contain ample storage.
  • Spice drawers – shallow drawers keep spices organized and out of precious cabinet space.
  • Slide-out trays – multiple cabinets feature shelves that smoothly glide out to access items in the back.
  • Adjustable shelves – shelves in wall and base cabinets can be shifted to accommodate different heights.
  • Lazy susans – the corner base cabinet maximizes awkward space with a spinning lazy susan.
  • Pot racks – wall-mounted racks above the prep zone provide open storage for cookware while keeping counters clear.

These specialized fittings make the most of the available storage footprint. Despite its size, the kitchen was designed with abundant space to stay organized.

Multi-Functional Island Adds Seating and Storage

One side of the kitchen peninsula provides even more concealed storage with a bank of drawers and cabinets. But the other side serves a dual purpose:

  • Casual dining – the island features two counter seats for quick breakfasts or snacks. The open design allows interaction with the living areas.
  • Extra work zone – the counter surface can be used as additional prep space when cooking elaborate meals.

By essentially squeezing two elements into one compact footprint, the island efficiently adds seating and expands the functional space.

Space-Saving Appliances Maximize Room for Cooking

When planning a petite kitchen, appliance selection is critical. Full-size appliances would overwhelm the compact footprint. The solution was choosing variants scaled down in depth but not functionality:

  • Counter-depth refrigerator – at just 24” deep, the Liebherr unit aligns flush with lower cabinets. This shaved several inches off the floorspace.
  • Slide-in range – slim 24” width and shallow cabinet footprint maximizes room for the cooktop.
  • Panel-ready dishwasher – designed to blend in seamlessly with cabinetry fronts for a hidden look.

While full-sized, these appliances consume minimal square footage. Their smaller footprints left ample room for the expansive L-shaped countertop – the true workhorse of any kitchen.

Hidden Appliances Keep Counters Uncluttered

To truly optimize the available counter space, appliances were concealed within cabinetry:

  • The microwave tucks discretely into a base cabinet, leaving counters open.
  • The trash/recycling pull-outs hide inside lower cabinets just left of the sink.

By hiding appliances, the perimeter counters can be kept clutter-free for food prep and serving.

Materials Make the Most of Natural Light

With no room to expand the footprint, lighting was critical to avoid a cramped feel. The design took advantage of every opportunity to maximize natural light:

  • Glass cabinet doors – uppers feature glass fronts to promote open sightlines and reflect/spread light.
  • Skylight – positioned above the sink, it funnels in natural light from overhead.
  • Window over sink – framed by the backsplash, it ushers in light while opening up sightlines.
  • Reflective surfaces – the glass tile backsplash and mirrored range hood bounce/amplify light.

In addition, LED recessed can lights in the ceiling supplement with ambient illumination. With copious natural light and strategic task lighting, the petite kitchen feels bright and expansive.

Stylish Mix of Materials Adds Interest

Despite its compact footprint, this kitchen dazzles with upscale materials that interplay beautifully in both form and function:

  • White Caesarstone countertops – provide a sleek, modern feel and prevent space from feeling too dark.
  • Glass mosaic tile backsplash – injected with artisanal flair and reflects light effectively.
  • Navy lower cabinets – against the light uppers, create a colorblocked look that feels visually spacious.
  • Stained oak island – warms up the space and complements the cool stone counters.
  • Polished nickel fixtures – provide an upscale sheen that brightens up the room.

The refined yet unfussy finishes ensure the bijou kitchen retains its gorgeous charm.

Takeaways for Maximizing a Petite Kitchen

This stunning case study of a 110 square foot kitchen offers several key lessons for optimizing minuscule cooking spaces:

  • Meticulously map out floorplan to make smart use of every inch
  • Select space-saving appliances and fixtures suited to small spaces
  • Incorporate specialized storage like pull-outs, rollouts, and sliding shelves
  • Use glass cabinetry, mirrors, and other reflective materials to maximize light
  • Choose light, seamless countertops and splashy backsplashes to expand space
  • Squeeze in an island for dining and prep if space allows
  • Hide appliances like microwaves and trash bins in cabinetry to clear counters

While diminutive in square footage, this part-time kitchen proves that style and function need not be compromised. With ingenious use of space, it serves as inspiration for designing sensational petite cookspaces.

Frequently Asked Questions About Compact Kitchen Design

Designing a kitchen for a small footprint comes with unique challenges. Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have about tiny kitchen spaces:

What’s the minimum size for a functional kitchen?

With good layout and storage, kitchens as small as 70 square feet can accommodate cooking, cleaning, and storage needs. Anything below 50 square feet will be extremely limiting.

How much space do kitchen appliances need?