Tips for Making the Most of a Small Kitchen 

Updated on April 24th, 2020
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What’s more frustrating than a cramped and cluttered kitchen? If even your love for cooking isn’t enough to make up for the lack of counter space and storage, leaving you rummaging through disorganized drawers and cabinets, we have a solution for you. We gathered tips from experts from Miami to Sacramento and everywhere in between to help you maximize storage in your small space. Read these tips to bring the joy back into your kitchen. 

Increase cabinet space and make every inch count

Try going vertical with storage in a small kitchen. Use shelf risers or organizers that allow you to consolidate like items, doubling your storage space within cupboards. Undershelf baskets or hooks create more storage opportunities for mugs and other kitchen supplies. –Rachel Corwin, Spruce with Rachel

You can stick those pots and pans way back into a corner cabinet, but do you really think you’ll see them again? You won’t unless you accessorize the corner with a Lazy Susan or install a blind cabinet. These solutions will ensure that your corner won’t become a big, inefficient waste of space. –Gallery Kitchen & Bath

For more efficient and multi-functional cabinets, make use of areas that are often neglected. For example, a movable toe kick drawer, a movable post, or a filler rack. –Cabinet Sourcing

Find creative ways to maximize storage 

Utilize roll-out trays in lower cabinets and pantry cabinets. Make sure they are on pilasters so they can be adjusted up and down to customize the height of items you store in them. It will increase the amount of storage in cabinets by over 33% and will give you access to groceries in the back that will otherwise be forgotten. –Tom Taube, Kitchen Tune-Up 

Add hooks or adhesive storage bins to the inside of cabinet doors to store spices, sponges, cooking utensils, and potholders. –Leigh Achenbach, Suddenly Simple Organizing 

Keep it clean and tidy

If you aren’t planning on renovating your space, a clean, clutter-free countertop will always make a small kitchen seem larger and more efficient. As a rule of thumb, items that you use every day should be the only things left on your counter, like a coffee maker, and everything else is put away and taken out as needed. –Vitaliy Meyko, Gr8 Kitchens 

Expand your counter space 

Look up, and utilize wall space. Wall racks for cookware not only frees up limited cabinetry for other kitchen items, but it also adds to the design of the space. Utilizing magnetic strips for cutlery is also a great way to clear off counter space. –Kitchen Cabinet Kings

Small kitchen design is all about creativity using the space you have. There’s no need to keep appliances and other items out on the countertops.  If you haven’t used it for an entire season, four months, it may be time to part with it. Less is truly more when it comes to kitchen gadgets! –Organization and Relocation 

To get the most out of a small kitchen, it’s all about maximizing counter space. Instead of a traditional range, install an induction cooktop that lies completely flush with the counter to provide extra space when not cooking. Also, undercounter refrigerators offer premium refrigeration and storage capacity while freeing up precious square footage which can be converted into more counter space.Shaun Lin, THOR Kitchen 

Pare down kitchenware 

Try making use of all of your vertical space. Can you add some floating shelves and display things like large bowls? It might be an investment to get a few nice bowls, but they will duplicate as art and serving wear. Do you really need that gadget or that many pots and pans? Do you really need 3 different size plates and bowls? Being very deliberate on what you bring in will help save space for the things you love. –Organizing Maniacs

Organize strategically and get creative

The first step to making the most out of any small space is to declutter. Donate or toss what you have two of and don’t need anymore. Next, create more storage space and organization with dividers by compartmentalizing so each kitchen cabinet and drawer function as a dual space. –Kitchen & Bath Shop

Take advantage of pantry essentials. Especially now, freezer and fridge space becomes tight as we stock up for uncertain times. Since pantry goods are shelf-stable, you may be able to store them in other parts of your home like closets or buffet cabinets. Finally, collecting specialty flavors like Italian truffle sauce and Moroccan harissa might make your kitchen seem larger by helping you imagine that you are traveling to far off places – from the comfort and safety of home. –Takeout Kit

Keep regularly used oils and seasonings within reach. I like to store my olive and avocado oils, kosher salt, pepper grinder, a few vinegars, and chili flakes on a small lazy Susan right next to my stovetop. I use at least 2 or 3 of these ingredients every day, and it’s important to keep them accessible and organized. –Erica Weisman, Seattle Cucina Cooking School

Thoughtful design is extremely important when working with a small kitchen. Determine what items you use weekly and ensure there is a cabinet designated for them. Look for additional spaces to add storage off of the kitchen for the less frequently used items. Find more storage space by going up using taller cabinets or even stacked cabinets. You may be able to increase countertop by going with a smaller single bowl sink as opposed to the traditional double sink. Nancy Christopher, Singer Kitchens

Rethink your kitchen layout

Consider rearranging your kitchen. Ask yourself: “what is most practical for my space?” If you are ready to put on a new look for your small kitchen, a redesign will not only give your kitchen a fresh, new look but will also maximize your space. Always start with replacing your sink, if possible, to a modern and deeper style in order to maximize its use. You can also replace and upgrade appliances to a more sleek, spacious, and practical style. – Teoria 

Choose quality over quantity 

Think like a chef and look for quality over quantity when buying kitchenware. You’re going to be using the same items repeatedly – from kitchen knives and sheet pans to different sized pots and pans and cutting boards – so you’ll want them to hold up. With limited kitchen space, you’ll also want multipurpose kitchenware that can be used for preparation, serving, and storing food. –Organized Occasions Concierge

When meeting the challenge of limited space, we recommend an induction cooktop for both function and safety. This streamlined appliance is unobtrusive when you’re not cooking, making the best use of counter space, and as efficient as a traditional cooktop when preparing meals. –Kitchen Views  

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Lexi is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home would be a contemporary home with an open floor plan, lots of windows, and a waterfront view.

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