9 Clever IKEA Hacks to Help You Make the Most of Your Tiny Kitchen

updated Oct 15, 2021
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Tiny kitchens can be adorable, but they can pose problems when it comes to *ahem* having adequate space to store cookware, prep and keep food, cook and eat, and house your plants (hey, that’s important, too!). You might be able to renovate, but that’s certainly costly — and perhaps not an option if you’re renting. But where some see a problem, IKEA hackers naturally see an opportunity. They don’t just stick to the kitchen section, either! The best IKEA hacks mine every part of the store, so you’re sure to get the most bang for your buck (and the most storage for your time).

While some of these exact products are no longer available, here are nine tiny kitchen-maximizing IKEA ideas to inspire you.

1. Turn a bookcase into a makeshift island

When you have a tiny corner kitchen like Monia, you have to get creative with counter space. Monia’s fix: the IKEA KALLAX bookcase as a makeshift island and tabletop. By placing a wooden shelf on top of the bookcase and a clip hanger on the side, she maximizes the storage potential of her small space while also creating a place for food prep.

2. Squeeze in a coffee bar

Think just because you have a small kitchen, you can’t also have a luxurious coffee bar? Think again! Izzy Leonard used the IKEA METOD kitchen units to carve out space in her kitchen for a tea and coffee bar on the side. She says some mugs are in the drawer, but her favorites are on display on simple shelves from Wayfair (combined with a few hooks). “The open shelves give us a decent amount of storage without taking up too much space, allowing the room to feel bigger than it is,” she adds.

3. Use a wardrobe as your pantry

When you have a super small kitchen, one concern is always where to put the food. Instead of using your limited cabinet space, try turning an IKEA wardrobe into a pantry like Sarah from The Sarah Challenge did. “This project was definitely worth the time and effort to convert,” she says. “The pantry is still in use and provides vital storage in my kitchen.”

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4. Or use a BILLY bookcase as food storage

Don’t have enough room for a full wardrobe? Try turning your slim BILLY bookcase into a pantry like Jasmine from Feeling Nifty. The glass door allows for the pretty baskets to be on display, while the bottom part of the door allows you a little hiding room for your snacks and dry goods that you might not want out in the open.

5. Be smart about corner cabinets

This storage solution Andree Curtis came up with almost feels like a game of Tetris. When the door shuts, it closes to form a slanted corner, but when it’s opened, the storage space is exponential when compared to a normal corner cabinet space.

Credit: Sofia Clara

6. Turn a pot rail into a utensil drawer.

“With limited drawer space in a small kitchen, this idea worked really well for all those bulky utensils that are tricky to squeeze into one small drawer,” says Sofia Clara. She used the IKEA FINTORP bars to create a functional, yet easy-on-the-eyes place for her utensils (and plants!). “It didn’t always look this tidy, and eventually lots of utensils were grouped together on one hook, but it did always mean I could find what I was looking for,” Sofia adds.

Credit: Sofia Clara

7. Create multi-purpose counter space

Sofia Clara also used two IKEA FINNVARD legs to create a multi-purpose kitchen unit for her space. “It’s easy to make and I’ve had it for five years now and it’s still in great condition,” she says. This piece serves as a countertop and a tabletop — plus has plenty of space underneath for food (or wine!) storage to boot.

8. Hack a tabletop

Don’t have room for a table with two hacked legs? What about a table with one hacked leg? Chantel Sieter says she uses the table in her dining room as a work space, so she thought it would be worth her while to create a separate table in the kitchen for actual dining. To make it, she used some IKEA LERBERG legs from an older table; then, she attached one side of the table to the wall and the other side of the table to the legs. The result saves tons of floor space without sacrificing any dining space.

Seiter says this hack was “super simple, super quickly done and definitely perfect for small spaces!” Also, shoutout to her dish-storing Billy bookcase and IKEA BEKVAM spice racks in the background!

9. Turn wood crates into cabinets

Marcia Mihotich and partner Durell wanted the whole interior of their beach house to be covered in the same type of wood — a strategy that helps small spaces look bigger. But, Mihotich says, “that’s not something you can get off-the-shelf. It requires a bit of DIY,” says Mihotich. “Also, we wanted decent pullout drawers and fittings and didn’t want to build those.”

To get their custom look, they installed IKEA cabinets and an IKEA stainless steel sink and countertop, and then covered the cabinets in plywood. After adding garlic boxes from their local farm shop to create shelves on the wall, the whole space pulses with charm—and the monochrome look gives the illusion of more space.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 9 Clever IKEA Hacks that’ll Help You Make the Most of Your Tiny Kitchen