Whether you rent or own a house, everybody wants to make the most of their kitchen space. Don’t let tight quarters bring you down. Adopt small-space solutions – from simply piling on plants to choosing two-tone cabinetry – to make your kitchen the star of your home.
Published May 12, 2018, Updated May 25, 2019
Don’t be afraid to fully embrace the space that you have – even if it means opting for smaller versions of your favourite practical pieces. In this instance, a tiny wooden dinner table (complete with storage space!) is perfectly accessorized with bright green chairs that immediately brighten the kitchen.
Create More Counter Space
Small kitchens don’t have to mean limited counter space. Install a petite island with ample storage room and wraparound countertops that leave you with plenty of space to maneuver when you’re whipping up those delicious meals.
Make it Magnetic
Magnetic knife strips on the wall not only helps clear off the surface of your countertops (goodbye chunky knife blocks!) and utensil drawers, it will also look chic in your small kitchen space.
If you’ve got space above your cabinetry or window area, put it to work as open shelving. Opting for bright containers or glass jars that show off its contents will brighten your space while giving your countertops more room to breathe.
When it comes to decorating a narrow kitchen space, don’t be afraid to go all out in the creative department. From dual-purpose furniture and countertop shelving to secret pantries and small dining tables, there are plenty of workarounds to make your kitchen work for you.
When in Doubt, Accessorize
Nest Design Studio’s Natalie Chong turned a bland Toronto condo into a swanky space with a budget of only $10,000 – naturally, she shopped for everything at everyone’s favourite, life-saving Swedish retailer. The builder-basic kitchen got its comeuppance with accessories galore, including cutting boards, artwork and plants. You won’t believe how good this condo looks.
Create a Breakfast Zone
Craving a breakfast nook, but space is limited? Copy this idea, where shelves adorned with matching bits and bobs and a slim dining table are roomy enough for four to dine. Or go for a fold-up version to really save space. The letter board here, as well as the vintage art throughout this Toronto rental, show the power of going unconventional.
Install a Window Shelf (or Two)
In this rustic meets modern home, wood shelves skirt right across the kitchen windows, where patchwork tiles meet classic subways to beautiful effect. The point? Shelving is not restricted to the wall.
Flea market fiends will love this 1930s cozy cottage in the country, especially the small-space solution to install open shelves with blingy hardware in the kitchen. So much room to display eclectic treasures! The L-brackets look like brass, but are actually painted gold; and the shelves are made of old walnut.
Opt for Glass
Break up a bank of cabinets with glass fronts. That way you can show off that dishware collection. In this cool Toronto loft, the glass also echoes a nearby armoire the homeowners use to stash odds and ends, as well as the paned windows in the adjacent living area. We also love the choice to go grey instead of white.
Mixed Cabinetry Adds Dimension
A streamlined galley kitchen may seem limiting, but not if you layer it. In this spectacular sliver of space, small subway tile with grey grout lines invite interest. Ditto to brass-cup cabinet pulls and two-tone cabinetry – it adds dimension, rather than looking at a solid bank of cupboards. An elegant runner catches the eye.
Storage Seating is Smart
Large-format marble lookalike porcelain tiles, lacquered cabinetry and a shiny apron sink make for a glamorous spot to scramble eggs in the morning. Floating shelves feel modern and youthful – and are space-spacers – as is the banquette; there’s storage underneath, too. For a similar look, think reflective surfaces, glitzy accessories and built-ins!
Spice it Up
Counter space is a precious commodity that few small kitchens can boast, so make life easier on yourself by condensing the amount of objects and appliances you have on it by finding other solutions. Instead of a clunky countertop spice rack, for example, opt for magnetic spice boxes you can tack onto the side of your fridge.
This cottage kitchen is nothing more than a narrow bank of cabinets and yet it is bursting with personality. From the shiplap and A-line roof, it had an excellent backdrop to start with. But the details bring it together: the cozy rug and drapes, rustic shelves with plants, pendants and happy artwork.
Get Yourself a Hang-Up
Create a Warm Welcome
If you want an interesting small space, think beyond monochromatic. Here, a wood counter, a black sink and coordinating dark lowers are an inspiring foil to the white uppers. A profusion of plants, an exotic rug and bamboo blinds feel soulful and welcoming.
Let the Dining Table Star
Sometimes the co-stars are the real stars. Take this funky brick-walled loft, where an elegant industrial table takes pride of place in the home – a good idea if you haven’t got a separate dining room. Topped with pendant lights and mid-mod chairs, the table can be used as a prep surface in a pinch.
Don’t Forget the Statement Lighting
Big, blingy chandeliers are a surefire way to bring glamour to a small kitchen. And while you’re at it, don’t forget the faucet. Here, a stainless-steel gooseneck beauty hits a sculptural note that plays off the silver in the rest of the space.
An Island Does Double Duty
A textural earthy backsplash brings warmth to this elegant basement kitchen by Scott McGillivray. The large island doubles as a prep area and a dining table. A smart solution in cramped quarters.
Layer in Missing Elements
The renter’s conundrum: how to groove-ify that small kitchen. Think piecemeal! Add a functional and fabulous island like the one in this basement designed by Bryan Baeumler. Install a simple shelf and pile it with pretty dishes. Bonus if you can convince the landlord to swap the countertop for an overhang for extra seating.