Maximize Your Small Kitchen With These Budget-Friendly Ideas (2024)

Maximize Your Small Kitchen With These Budget-Friendly Ideas (1)

From cooking and cleaning to enjoying meals with loved ones, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen — it's the heart of the home, after all. While having a big, spacious kitchen is a dream for many homeowners, small kitchens can be just as functional when properly designed and organized. To help you make the most of your limited square footage, we rounded up small kitchen ideas that pack a lot of style.

Even if you're sticking to a tight budget, it's possible for small kitchens — even very small kitchens — to feel functional and stylish. Tackle kitchen clutter by putting up shelves, hanging pots from the ceiling or bringing in a rolling cart. If you're dreaming up a major refresh, consider painting your cabinets a fresh shade (light colors make a small room pop) or install a tiny kitchen island that doubles as extra counter space.

Whether your kitchen design is modern, traditional or country, you'll find ways to infuse personality into small spaces. Try experimenting with checkerboard floors, layering in vintage accents or taking a kitchen backsplash all the way to the ceiling. Swap upper cabinets for open shelving (a great hack for galley kitchens) or go big with artwork (it can easily become the focal point). Whether you live in an apartment, condo or your house is lacking kitchen space, this photo gallery is full of design inspiration to steal.

1

Infuse Color With Tiles

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Bring a bold backsplash all the way to the ceiling to emphasize the height of a room. A skylight window also helps draw the eye upward.

2

Embrace Checkerboard Flooring

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Weave in retro design elements, like a classic checkerboard floor and vintage-inspired gold hardware. This bright kitchen, designed by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson Design, also makes use of vertical space with sky-high open shelving.

RELATED: Retro Kitchen Ideas for the Ultimate Vintage and Throwback Look

3

Steal From Vintage Kitchens

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From the butcher block countertop and moody green cabinets to the cafe curtains and glass pendant light, this small kitchen — designed by Sarah Stacey — is packed with vintage charm and character.

RELATED: Best Kitchen Curtain Ideas to Dress Up Windows

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4

Hide the Fridge

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Try a panel-ready fridge, which means the appliance comes with a custom cabinet panel so it blends seamlessly with the rest of your space. Here, a mini fridge hides behind the light gray (Gossamer Veil by Sherwin Williams) cabinets.

See more at Boxwood Avenue »

5

Let Counters Play Double Duty

Blending seamlessly with the kitchen counter, this built-in peninsula offers additional surface space for meal prep. Later, pull out the backless stool and there's a convenient spot to work, entertain or enjoy meals.

6

Bring in a Dining Table

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Due to the placement of a back door, this kitchen is split in two parts, leaving a lot of open floor space. It's the perfect opportunity to bring in a small dining set.

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7

Install a Small Kitchen Island

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Your kitchen island doesn't have to conform to expectations, especially if there isn't enough space for a standard setup. Here, Philip Consalvo of PJCArchitecture installs a practical island to fit this room's unique footprint and the surrounding space.

8

Use Two-Tone Cabinets

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In this Upper East Side galley kitchen, Bakes & Kropp allows dark lower cabinets to define the space and keeps it minimal up top. Open shelving on one side help make this narrow space feel less narrow.

RELATED: Gorgeous Galley Kitchen Ideas to Maximize Small Layouts

9

Create a Small Seating Area

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Extend the kitchen counter to include just enough space for two bar stools, which actually face away from the kitchen. To save on counter space, Union of Art Interiors also creates a cubby for the microwave to live.

RELATED: Best Bar Stools to Make the Most of Your Kitchen Island

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Maximize Every Part of the Kitchen

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Display dishes, mugs, cutting boards and spices within reach — even if you're tight on space. Stacked shelves over the counter and a slim shelf over the fridge — painted the same color as the walls — put every small spot to use.

See more at Almost Makes Perfect »

11

Try a Farmhouse-Style Kitchen Island

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Not only does a dark wood accent (like this farmhouse-style island) provide additional counter space, it adds warmth and contrast when paired with white kitchen cabinets. Here, blogger Brigette Muller of @hummusbirrd also adds stools for a small dining spot.

12

Go Big With Art

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Just because you're working with a small space, doesn't mean you can't display your art collection. Use a mix of small and large prints to create a gallery wall that adds dimension to your kitchen.

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13

Make the Most of Kitchen Corners

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Learn to work with the space you have by capitalizing on every corner and nook. If your actual kitchen is small, there may be a small crevice or awkward nook that can be reworked into additional kitchen space.

14

Add Corner Shelves

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If you don't have the space for wall-to-wall open shelving, go for small corner shelves. Designer Kate Lester created instant storage by hanging three reclaimed barn wood shelves.

RELATED: Open Kitchen Shelving Ideas to Revamp Your Cooking Space

15

Take a Maximalist Approach

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Go with over-the-top patterns, colors, rugs and decorative accents. Piling it on with purpose will help your space feel cozy, not overwhelmed.

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16

Create the Illusion of More Space

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Mirrors reflect light and trick the eye into perceiving a space is larger than it actually is — plus, they look great while doing it.

See more at Style by Emily Henderson »

17

Go Bold on Top, Neutral on Bottom

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Here's a playful way to make your smaller space feel more vertical: go for bright upper cabinets. What's more? This modern kitchen has double-stacked cabinets for a ton of storage space. Keep it neutral on the bottom to create contrast.

18

Add Sleek Open Shelving

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Suspend open shelving from the ceiling or hang a rack high on the wall to add height and create the illusion of more space. At the same time, the added storage will minimize clutter on the counter.

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19

Use a Bar Cabinet

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Don't waste cabinet space on booze. Here, interior designer Reena Sotropa uses a geometric bar cabinet to create separation in a small space.

20

Get Smart With Floating Shelves

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Don't let windows get in your way. Stretch floating shelves across the entire wall, making sure to leave enough room between them to allow the natural light to come through.

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Amanda Garrity

Amanda Garrity is a lifestyle writer and editor with over seven years of experience, including five years on staff at Good Housekeeping, where she covered all things home and holiday, including the latest interior design trends, inspiring DIY ideas and gift guides for any (and every) occasion. She also has a soft spot for feel-good TV, so you can catch her writing about popular shows like Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias, Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart and more.

Maximize Your Small Kitchen With These Budget-Friendly Ideas (24)

Alyssa Gautieri

Associate Lifestyle Editor

Alyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish, BobVila.com, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries.

Maximize Your Small Kitchen With These Budget-Friendly Ideas (2024)
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