5 of the Most Gorgeous Tiny Kitchens with Open Shelving

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

A snug kitchen can mean a few things: namely minimal places for storage, small-scale appliances, and a desire to keep it streamlined and clean at all times. That said, you may think that design features like open shelving are a big no-no; after all, there’s nothing like having all your stuff on display to make your small space seem even more claustrophobic, right?

Well, you may be pleasantly surprised to hear you’re (kind of) wrong! Cabinets can actually make a small kitchen feel smaller than it is. When done correctly, even tiny kitchens can play host to enviable open shelving displays. Just take a look at these gorgeous kitchens.

(Image credit: Abe Martinez)

1. A Slightly Minimalist Galley Kitchen

Galley kitchens can be tough. They’re basically just narrow hallways with appliances in them, so to-the-ceiling cabinets are especially hard to swallow. That’s why we love the kitchen in this Berlin apartment. With just one long shelf (that’s not overloaded), the space still feels light and airy.

See the rest of the space: A “French meets West Coast” Creative Berlin Apartment at Apartment Therapy

(Image credit: Vicugo Foto for Dwell)

2. A Cozy Multipurpose Space

Before you say Hey, that kitchen looks huge!, know this: The whole apartment is only 431 square feet! The kitchen, dining room, and living room are all in one space, which helps save other square footage for sleeping and, um, bathing. The shelves in this space are all about function and form.

(Image credit: Magnolia Market)

3. A Well-Lit Houseboat

If anyone is short on space, it’s people who live on houseboats. This houseboat renovated by Chip and Joanna Gaines has streamlined shelving in front of the windows, which maximizes storage and light — two things we can’t get enough of.

See the before and after: The Swartzs at Magnolia Market

(Image credit: Cup of Jo)

4. A Smart Use of Space

Small kitchens don’t usually have much space to waste. But if you have an empty wall, like in this kitchen featured on Cup of Jo, you can almost always find a shelf or three to put on it. This galley kitchen got a space for bowls, mugs, cutting boards, and more.

See more: Kitchen Makeover at Cup of Jo

(Image credit: Thyme & Tamarind)

5. A Small Shelf with a Big Impact

This kitchen makeover cost the homeowners $12,000. And while that’s a lot of money to spend, it looks like it was totally worth it! By leaving most of the upper cabinet space empty, the tile backsplash could go all the way up the wall and really make an impact. One small pipe-and-wood shelving unit adds necessary storage for spices and other frequently used items.

Would you hang open shelving in a small kitchen?