The 25 Best Storage & Design Ideas for Small Kitchens

updated Dec 2, 2021
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No one ever has enough kitchen storage or counter space. Literally, no one. So if your kitchen is relegated to, say, just a few cabinets in the corner of a room, you likely really feel the stress of figuring out how to make everything work. Luckily, this is something we specialize in, here at Kitchn. So we’ve rounded up the 25 very best ideas of all time to help you make the most of the space you do have.

These ideas — including smart cabinet solutions and sneaky little tricks — just might help you feel like you’ve doubled your kitchen’s square footage.

1. Add hooks all over the place!

We’re hooked on hooks! They can turn your apron collection or all your cutting boards into a focal point! And free up other space.

2. Store stuff out in the open.

No pantry? No problem! Put your most-used ingredients on a pretty dessert stand or lazy Susan and show them off! This will free up cabinet space and also make it easier for you to grab what you need while you’re working. While you’re at it, consider leaving your Dutch oven or prettiest cookware out on the stovetop.

3. Put little corners to good use.

Keep a vintage wooden crate in the corner of the kitchen to store jars and display plants. The point? Even teeny tiny spaces can be turned into storage.

Credit: Cambria Bold

4. Use windowsills as storage.

If you’re lucky enough to have a window in your kitchen, think about how you can use the sill as storage. Maybe you can put some plants on it? Or your favorite cookbooks?

Credit: Devon Jarvis

5. Hang a pegboard.

Your walls can hold more than you think they can. (Think: pots, pans, and even canisters that can hold utensils.) Instead of hanging a couple of more limiting shelves, try a pegboard, which adds very flexible storage space that can be adjusted over time as your needs change.

Read more: 8 Ways to Use a Pegboard to Make Your Kitchen Better

Credit: Sarita Relis Photography

6. Use the tops of your cabinets.

The tops of your cabinets offer prime real estate for storage. Way up there, you can stash special-occasion serving platters and even extra pantry supplies that you don’t need just yet. If you’re worried about how it will all look, consider using some pretty baskets to hide your stash.

7. Consider a fold-down table.

Don’t think you have room for a table? Think again! A fold-down table (on a wall, in front of a window, or hanging off a bookshelf) almost always works. This way, you can use it when you need and get it up and out of the way when you don’t.

Credit: Minette Hand

8. Get cute folding chairs and hang them up.

Whether you end up going with that fold-down table or not, you can free up some floor space by hanging your dining chairs when you’re not using them. (In case you haven’t noticed yet, we’re huge fans of hanging as many things as possible!)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Turn your backsplash into storage.

Your backsplash can be more than just a pretty focal point! Hang up a pot rail or, if you’re worried about drilling holes, add a few Command hooks for your favorite kitchen utensils.

RelatedHow To Install an IKEA GRUNDTAL Rail on a Tile Backsplash

10. Turn cabinet and pantry shelves into drawers.

We love a shelf when it’s on the wall but when it’s in a cabinet or a pantry, it can be really hard to see what’s buried deep in the back. That’s why, especially in small kitchens (where there’s not a lot of room to get in there), we prefer drawers. If you can’t renovate, simply add baskets to these shelves so that you can pull them out to access what’s in the back.

11. And use (little!) shelves wherever you can!

Again, we’re not anti-shelves. We just prefer narrow ones over deep ones so that nothing gets lost. How narrow? Really narrow! Like, just deep enough for one row of bottles or jars. Stick to narrow shelves and you can also put them nearly anywhere.

RelatedWhy Shallow Pantry Shelves Are the Best Shelves

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

12. Use your windows as storage.

You might never dream of blocking any of that precious natural light, but this Chicago apartment may get you thinking differently. The designer who lives there made the bold decision to hang her collection of pots and pans in front of her kitchen window. Thanks to a uniform collection and pop-y orange handles, it ends up turning into a fun focal point that is smart storage, too.

Tour this space: Lauren’s Bold Chicago Apartment Bursting With DIY Projects at Apartment Therapy

13. Put your dishes on display.

If you lack enough cabinet space to store all your dishes, steal a page from this food stylist in California and put them on display somewhere else. Get a freestanding shelf or bookcase (ideally one that’s tall so that you don’t need to give up a lot of floor space for it) and load it up. No room in your kitchen area? Steal space from the living area instead.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

14. Steal space from neighboring rooms.

And that bring us to our next point. So your kitchen is only five square feet? Try stealing a few extra inches from an adjacent room.

Tour the rest of the space: Danielle’s Bright & Multi-Functional Top Floor Apartment at Apartment Therapy

15. Turn the top of your fridge into a pantry.

We’ve seen the top of the fridge used to store all sorts of stuff. Sadly, it often looks messy or wasteful, but a curated selection of your most-used pantry ingredients will look nice. And it’ll make things easy to grab in a pinch.

16. Hang a magnetic knife rack.

When countertop space is at a premium, every square inch counts. Squeeze out a bit more room by taking your cutlery to the walls with a magnetic knife strip. You can even use it to hang things that aren’t knives.

17. Seriously, hang everything you possibly can.

Pots, spoons, mugs … anything that can be hung should be hung. Hanging things up frees up cabinet and counter space. And it turns your stuff into decorations!

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

18. Use the sides of your cabinets.

If you have cabinets that don’t butt up against a wall, you’ve got a few square feet of bonus storage space. It’s true! You can hang a pot rail, add shelves, and more.

Read more: The Hiding-in-Plain-Sight Storage Space You’re Not Using

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

19. And the bottoms.

Just when you think your cabinets are totally full and they can’t possibly hold another thing, consider the undersides of them! You can add hooks to the bottoms to hold mugs and small tools. Or use magnetic strips to make a floating spice rack.

See the rest of this kitchen: A Baker’s “Hip Grandma” Small Studio Apartment in Chicago at Apartment Therapy

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

20. And the inside of all your doors.

Okay, one last tip for eking out more cabinet space: Use the back of your cabinet doors! Hang up pot lids or even pot holders.

Related: The $8 Trick to Miraculously Making Space for Your Pot Lids Where You Thought There Wasn’t Any

21. Add a mirror.

A mirror (even a small one) does a lot to make a space feel bigger (thanks to all that reflected light!). Plus, you can check it out see what sorts of funny faces you make while you stir or chop.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

22. Add shelf risers wherever you can.

Put shelf risers in your cabinets and add attractive shelf risers to your counter to double up on storage space where you can.

Tour this space: Melissa and Sonny’s Countryside Sanctuary Among the Rolling Hills at Apartment Therapy

Credit: Devon Jarvis

23. Put a small utility cart to work.

We like either IKEA’s Raskog cart or this round one from Target, which is actually the perfect for Instant Pot home base. They have a small footprint, but still have plenty of room for storage. And because they’re on wheels, they can be pushed into a closet or the corner of a room and pulled out to meet you at your workspace when you need it.

(Image credit: Corelyn Coates & Jennie Palluzzi)

24. Turn your stovetop into extra counter space.

During dinner prep, your stovetop is just wasted space. That’s why we love this idea to build burner covers out of cutting boards. Instant bonus counters!

See the steps: How To Build Burner Covers and Double the Counter Space in Your Tiny Kitchen

Credit: Ryan Tuttle

25. Ditto for your sink.

These tiny house owners put a gorgeous cutting board over half of their sink to add more counter space. By only covering half, you can still access the sink if you need to rinse anything.

Do you have any other tips and tricks? Share them in the comments below.