Kitchens are often considered the heart of a home. No matter how small the space, with some clever design and functionality, you can create a kitchen that is efficient, organized, and bright. This week’s featured kitchen proves just that in a mere 94 square feet. Through smart layout and storage solutions paired with bright, reflective surfaces, this tiny kitchen punches above its weight in both form and function.

In the following article, we will take an in-depth look at how to make the most out of a small kitchen footprint. We will explore key design elements like lighting, color, storage, and layout that can maximize the utility and aesthetic appeal of even the tiniest of kitchens. Discover how this 94 square foot kitchen achieces a space that is not only highly functional but bright and inviting as well. With some strategic changes, you can implement similar design tactics in your own petite kitchen for a refreshed and optimized cooking space.

Overview of the 94 Square Foot Kitchen

This week’s featured kitchen is located in a 390 square foot micro-apartment in Manhattan. With the entire unit spanning just 13 feet wide, space was at a premium. The kitchen itself sits adjacent to the living area and measures a petite 8 feet by 12 feet, totaling just 94 square feet.

Within its modest footprint, the kitchen houses all the essentials – refrigerator, cooktop, oven, sink, and storage. Thoughtful space planning allows these critical components to sit side-by-side in a galley-style layout. This single wall kitchen maximizes every inch while still feeling open and breezy.

To combat dark and closed-in feelings that can plague small kitchens, bright whites and reflective finishes are used throughout. The liberal use of white makes the space feel light and airy. Mirrored backsplashes paired with stainless steel appliances add depth while bouncing light around the room.

While 94 square feet doesn’t allow for an extensive amount of storage, creative solutions make the most of the limited space. Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry provides concealed storage while continuing the clean, white aesthetic. Open shelving offers additional space for displaying items in an organized, decorative way.

Altogether, this kitchen proves stunning form and ample function can harmoniously reside even in the most petite of kitchen footprints. Let’s explore further how this space was designed to feel bright, organized, and highly functional given its limited dimensions.

Choosing a Light Color Palette

One of the most impactful design choices made in this 94 square foot kitchen was the selection of a light, bright color palette. With small spaces, it’s critical to make them feel open, airy, and spacious. Dark colors have a tendency to feel confining and heavy, while light colors help reflect more light and give the illusion of more room.

To combat a closed-in feeling, soft whites were chosen as the predominant shade in this kitchen. The white cabinetry, walls, ceiling, and open shelving keep the space feeling bright and cheerful.

White reflects up to 90% of light compared to the 50% reflection rate of mid-tones and as little as 10% for dark tones. This heightened light reflection amplifies the brightness considerably. The liberal use of white makes the kitchen feel more expansive than its 94 square foot reality.

While white was used as the main color, it was balanced with natural wood tones and black accents. The island, flooring, and bar stools incorporate organic woods. Black was brought in through the window trim, hardware, and appliances. These moody accents keep the space from feeling sterile or washed out.

The takeaway when working with a small kitchen footprint is to stick to a light, neutral color palette. Stay away from bold, dark colors that will make the space feel smaller. Use white judiciously throughout to open it up and reflect as much light as possible. You can prevent it from feeling bland by incorporating natural woods and a black accent or two.

Incorporating Mirrored Surfaces

In addition to a light color scheme, the strategic use of mirrored surfaces helps amplify this kitchen’s brightness and sense of space. The backsplash running behind both the cooktop and the sink incorporates large panels of mirror.

Mirror is a highly effective material for small spaces as it visually doubles the area. Light bounces off the reflective surface, making the room feel more expansive. This kinetic lighting effect enhances brightness considerably.

In a kitchen, mirror backsplashes have the added benefit of protecting the walls while reflecting functional task lighting. Positioning the mirror behind key workstations like the cooktop and sink maximizes this lighting reflection when it’s needed most.

The mirror’s clean, streamlined look also suits the modern aesthetic of this kitchen. Contrasting the flat mirrors with the field of white subway tile adds appealing visual texture.

When working with mirror in a small kitchen, restraint is key. Stick to targeted applications in backsplashes or as an accent material. Covering every surface in mirror can feel dizzying and disorienting.thoughtful use of mirror backsplashes and accents can lend depth, light, and brightness.

Galley Kitchen Layout

Given its constrained 94 square foot footprint, a galley layout was this kitchen’s best bet for an efficient floorplan. Galley kitchens feature a single wall design with the cabinets, appliances, and workstations all lined up in a row.

This streamlined positioning eliminates awkward or wasted spaces. The galley format maximizes every inch of the floor area while still allowing ample room for circulation. You aren’t boxed in on multiple sides which enhances the open feeling.

For work triangle efficiency, the refrigerator is sited at one end while the cooktop and oven are at the other. The sink is centrally positioned between the two zones. This assembly line-style workflow minimizes steps between tasks.

While galley kitchens are great for small spaces, they can become cramped if the aisle way is too narrow. For comfortable movement, 42 inches between counters is ideal. This kitchen allotted a 48 inch walkway which prevents a crowded feel.

Some additional benefits of the galley layout for petite kitchens include:

  • Streamlined workflow
  • Ability to have multiple cooks working
  • Lean appearance enhances sense of spaciousness
  • Can be open on one side to connect with living areas

If you are working with a tiny kitchen, switching to a galley layout is one of the most effective spatial changes you can make. The single wall design optimizes every inch while maximizing functionality. Keep the passageway spacious and open one end for an airier feel.

Maximize Storage with Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinets

It goes without saying that a 94 square foot kitchen will face storage challenges. Big families and extensive cookware collections won’t fit, but smart solutions can still net ample space. This kitchen uses full height floor-to-ceiling cabinets to maximize every bit of available storage.

In small kitchens, it’s easy to lose floor area to large appliances like refrigerators. Filling the vertical space above helps compensate for limited ground. The cabinetry stretches all the way from the counter ledge to just below the 9 foot ceiling.

Full extension drawers and roll out shelves fully utilize every inch of this added height. Strategic drawer organizers, cookie sheet holders, spice racks, and pull down shelves accommodate an array of kitchen tools and dry goods.

Upper cabinets outfitted with adjustable shelving fit bulky small appliances as well as tall glassware. Wasted void spaces often found above standard 42 inch tall wall cabinets is recaptured.

A few benefits of floor-to-ceiling cabinets include:

  • 30-40% more storage capacity
  • Reduced need for wall mounted shelving
  • Streamlined aesthetic appearance
  • Ability to accommodate tall or bulky items
  • Full use of all available vertical space

Make the most of what little area you have by outfitting your petite kitchen with customized floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. Use drawer organizers and specialty racks to configure the space for your unique storage needs. The expanded height compensates for the constrained footprint.

Open Shelving Provides Additional Storage

Even with the expanded storage from the floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, this kitchen required a bit of additional display and organizational space. While base cabinets maximize concealed storage, open shelving introduced in the “garage” offers supplemental display areas.

This narrow strip of wall adjacent to the entryway was underutilized. By adding two open shelves, the space is transformed into a handy drop zone. Baskets corral items like fruit and cooking tools. Bottles, cans, and spices line the shelves keeping cooking essentials visible and accessible.

What open shelving provides that standard upper cabinets don’t is visibility. You can instantly see what you have on hand versus items getting buried behind closed doors. The furnishings and decor add warmth and personality to the sleek, white backdrop.

If you are struggling to fit everything into your small kitchen’s existing cabinetry, open shelving is an excellent add. A strategically placed run can supplement storage without hogging valuable floor space. Keep the look cohesive by coordinating the finish and brackets to your existing cabinetry.

Thoughtful Lighting Enhances Brightness

No kitchen design would be complete without a thoughtful lighting scheme tailored to the space. For this petite kitchen, a multilayered plan provides ample illumination exactly where it’s needed. Lighting was designed specifically to enhance the kitchen’s brightness and sense of spaciousness.

The foundational layer is provided by 6 recessed can lights evenly spaced across the ceiling. Recessed cans cast diffuse, ambient light ideal for general kitchen illumination. Spacing the flush mounted fixtures evenly eliminates dark pockets that can plague small kitchens.

Under cabinet lighting is installed beneath both the full-height upper cabinets and the short open shelving unit. This directional lighting targets key work areas like the countertops and sink. The under-cabinet fixtures supplement the overall light to make tasks easier.

Finally, decorative pendant lights liven up the eat-in dining space. The trio of black, bell-shaped pendants adds a playful contrast to the sleek white cabinetry. Their presence helps differentiate the prep zone from the casual dining area.

Some lighting design tips for opening up a small kitchen include:

  • Use ample recessed cans for diffuse ambient light
  • Install under cabinet lighting to illuminate tasks
  • Add accent pendants or track lighting to highlight dining areas
  • Incorporate mirrors and metallics to amplify and bounce light

Proper planning can help any size kitchen feel bright and spacious. Focus lighting in key cooking and dining zones while keeping the overall illumination consistent and diffused.

Final Thoughts

At just 94 square feet, this kitchen could have easily felt dark, closed-in, and lacking in function. However, its thoughtful design exceeded limitations posed by the petite footprint. A strategic layout, mirrored surfaces, streamlined storage solutions, and bright, reflective finishes made the most of every inch.

Key takeaways when designing an efficient, small kitchen include:

  • Use a galley layout to optimize workflow and space
  • Select a light color palette of whites and wood tones
  • Incorporate mirrored backsplashes to reflect light and add dimension
  • Install floor-to-ceiling cabinetry to maximize storage capacity
  • Supplement with open shelving for additional display areas
  • Plan lighting to eliminate shadows and brighten key zones

You don’t need expansive square footage to whip up a high-functioning, gorgeous kitchen. With ingenious design and strategic use of space, comfort and utility can live even in the most Lilliputian of kitchens. Use the tips and ideas showcased here to refresh your own petite cooking space.

FAQ About Designing Tiny Kitchens

Still have questions about designing and installing an efficient, small kitchen? Below are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How small is too small for a functional kitchen?

While it depends on your needs, once you drop below 70 square feet, you may need to get creative with layout and storage to allow for a workable kitchen. Under 50 square feet poses more challenges but ingenious solutions can still net a usable space.

What are some space-saving furniture ideas?

For small kitchens, consider slender pull-out pantries, drawer-style dishwashers and refrigerators, fold down tables/seats, and custom built-in or compact appliances.

Should I close off a small kitchen from other rooms?

If possible, it’s best to keep a petite kitchen open to living areas. Eliminating walls helps it feel more expansive. Using a galley layout rather than an L-shape also keeps it visually connected.

What small appliances can I install?

Compact versions of standard appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and cooktops fit nicely. You can also install specialty small appliances like microwaves, toasters, and convection ovens.

How do I add seating in a tiny kitchen?

Try stools that tuck under counters or islands, fold-down shelves with built-in seats, or a small bistro table. Banquettes along one wall also allow seating without hogging space.


While small, this clever 94 square foot kitchen offers many ingenious ideas for maximizing functionality. Its strategic layout, storage solutions, and bright finishes prove you don’t need sprawling square footage to cook and dine in style. Use the tips and takeaways outlined here the next time you revamp a petite kitchen. With some creativity, even the tiniest of cooking spaces can feel spacious, inviting, and highly usable.