Decorating a small kitchen can seem like a daunting task. With limited space, it may feel like there are few options for creating a functional and stylish space. However, with some strategic planning and clever solutions, even the tiniest kitchen can be transformed into a gorgeous and efficient room. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for decorating a small kitchen.
Choose Multifunctional and Space-Saving Furniture
One of the best ways to maximize space in a small kitchen is to opt for multifunctional furniture and appliances. Items like counter stools that can tuck under the counter when not in use, a rolling cart that can double as extra counter space or storage, or appliances that serve multiple purposes like a toaster oven/air fryer combo can help streamline your kitchen.
Built-in storage like pull-out pantry cabinets, slide-out spice racks, and corner lazy susans also allow you to efficiently utilize every inch of space. Try to find furniture and organizational solutions that serve more than one purpose.
Take Advantage of Natural Light and Mirrors
Natural light and mirrors are two affordable and effective ways to make a small kitchen appear brighter and more spacious. Place mirrors strategically around the kitchen to create the illusion of a larger room.
Hang a large mirror near a window to amplify the natural light. Position a mirror across from the sink or stove to make the room feel more open. Use lighter, reflective surfaces like white cabinets, light-colored countertops, backsplashes, and appliances to bounce light around the room.
Opt for Glass Front Cabinets
While closed cabinets provide necessary storage in a kitchen, all of that solid surface can make a small room feel boxy and cramped. Swap out some of the solid cabinet fronts for glass-front cabinets to open up the sightlines.
Glass cabinet doors maintain storage while creating a lighter, airier aesthetic. For upper cabinets especially, glass fronts prevent the kitchen from feeling too heavy or closed in overhead. Choose frosted or patterned glass if you still want some concealment.
Paint the Walls Light Colors
Sticking with light paint colors like white, off-white, light gray, or very pale pastels keeps a small kitchen looking bright and spacious. Darker paint colors have the effect of closing in walls and making a room feel smaller. To give the space a bit more visual interest, pair your light wall color with colorful accessories, artwork, plants, appliances, backsplash tiles, and more.
Maximize Vertical Storage Space
In a compact kitchen, you need to take advantage of every inch of storage real estate. Look up—utilizing vertical space is a smart solution in a small kitchen. Mounted pot racks, floating shelves, and wall-mounted cabinets and rails provide additional storage without taking up valuable counter and floor space.
Consider staggering your wall cabinets with some reaching closer to the ceiling to maximize vertical storage. Also look for vertical storage containers like paper towel holders and narrow spice racks.
Choose Small-Scale Furnishings and Decor
When working with a petite kitchen, it’s important to keep everything in scale visually. Oversized furniture and decor throw off the proportions and make the room feel even smaller. Look for small-scale bar stools, a bistro table and chairs, or furniture with slim, narrow profiles.
When it comes to artwork and decor, lean toward smaller accent pieces rather than huge statement pieces that will overwhelm. Add decorative interest with things like succulents, cans of tea and coffee, colorful dish towels.
Let There Be (Ambient) Light!
One of the biggest complaints about small kitchens is that overhead lighting tends to cast shadows, making dark corners feel even more cramped. Combat this issue with ample ambient lighting. Under-cabinet lighting illuminates countertops while recessed ceiling lights provide overall illumination.
Consider pendant lighting over islands and dining nooks to cast a warm, welcoming glow. Install dimmer switches so you can control the mood and brightness. Add accent lighting like track lighting to highlight decorative displays.
Zone Your Kitchen Into Activity Areas
To keep a small kitchen organized and efficient, zone it into activity areas. Keep cooking essentials like the range, refrigerator, and primary prep area together. Having an organized, uncluttered cooking zone allows you to prep, cook, and clean up easily.
Place secondary prep and storage zones on perimeter counters away from the main cooking area. Designate zones for cleaning, dining, and food storage as well to keep everything in its place.
Limit Upper Cabinet Clutter
The upper cabinets in a small kitchen often end up an overstuffed mess that makes the space feel chaotic. Get organized by regularly clearing out expired products, donate non-perishables you don’t use, and find alternate storage solutions for overflow items like large platters.
If your upper cabinets still look cluttered even when pared down, add cabinet doors, pull-down shades, or frosted glass fronts to conceal contents but still allow some light to filter through.
Frequently Asked Questions About Small Kitchen Decorating Ideas
What are some good small kitchen color schemes?
Some popular color palettes for small kitchens include all white, off-white with pops of color, light gray and wood tones, navy blue with brass accents, sage green with natural wood, and sunny yellow with white trim.
How can I make a narrow galley kitchen look bigger?
Paint the walls white to reflect light, use glass-front cabinetry, hang mirrors on the walls, and place lighting strategically to brighten up dark corners.
What type of flooring makes a small kitchen look bigger?
Lighter-colored wood flooring, stone or tile, and high-gloss laminate flooring help reflect light and make a small kitchen appear more spacious. Avoid dark floors that can close things in.
Should I get an island for my small kitchen?
You can make it work with a narrow “island on legs” or wheeled cart that can provide extra prep space without crowding the room. Just be sure to allow for at least 32-36 inches of clearance on each side.
What small appliances are space-saving for small kitchens?
Some great options include the Instant Pot (7-in-1 functions), air fryer toaster ovens, single-serve coffee makers, and compact microwaves or toaster ovens that can live on a countertop or be mounted under a cabinet.
How do I add storage to a small kitchen without cabinets?
Free-standing shelving, mounted wall rails, under-sink roll-out trays, over the door racks, and multi-tiered carts are all great options for extra storage without bulky cabinets.
Decorating a small kitchen comes with challenges, but also an opportunity to get creative. Focus on maximizing every inch, selecting small-scale furnishings, and taking advantage of light and mirrors. With some smart solutions like multifunctional furniture and vertical storage, even the tiniest kitchen can be stylish, efficient, and functional. Use these tips and tricks to transform your petite kitchen into a gorgeous, organized space you’ll love spending time in.