10 ways to make a tiny kitchen work for you (2024)

Look inside my small (and I meanreally small) kitchen and you might not instantly guess that I love to cook. But I've never let a lack of space stop me from making any recipe, be it ahomemade lasagnaor an elaboratebirthday cake. With careful planning, the right organization tools and a few tips, a galley kitchen like mine can actually be the best kind of kitchen because everything you need is right at hand.

Here's how to make the most of your cooking space — no matter how tiny — and set yourself up for stress-free meal prep.

1. Clear The Countertops

In a small space, you must be vigilant about what resides on the countertops; only things that are truly used daily should be there. I know it's not convenient to pull out thefood processor,stand mixerorblenderevery time you want to use it, but if space is limited, it's worth the mild inconvenience to leave countertops clear. You can make room for those excess countertop items in drawers and cabinets by moving the rarely used items out of the kitchen altogether (I'm looking at you, extra-largeLe Creuset Dutch Oven). In my own kitchen, I decided to ditch myutensil crockand moved all myspatulas,wooden spoonsandtongsto a drawer to regain precious counter space.

2. Base Cabinet Drawers > Shelves

Since you'll be stashing as much as you can away from the counters, you want to make sure you can easily access these items. I find drawers make it much easier to reach the back of a cabinet than a plain old shelf. If you've got a mix of drawers and shelves, the things you reach for most should be in the drawers, while those less frequently used tools, likespecial cake pans, can go on the back reaches of shelves. If you don't have many lower drawers, consider installingpull-out cabinet shelves, which are as close as you can get to retrofitting drawers into your existing cabinets. In my own kitchen, I placed an order for more interior drawers for the IKEA cabinets I installed eight years ago — it's never too late for improvement!

3. Consider Decanting

This is controversial, I know, but I am in favor of decanting pantry items into glass jars. Yes, it is fussy, but in a small space I find that they fit much more neatly into cabinets than a mishmash of boxes and bags, which amounts to less chaos overall. I up-cycle tomato sauce jars and the like, but for things that need to be stored airtight, you can't beat old-schoolclip-top jars.

4. Use Your Vertical Spaces Strategically

The walls of your kitchen have great potential for additional storage, but you'll need to be careful not to overwhelm your space with too many things hanging from the wall. A wall-mounted magnetic knife rack is smart because it takes up so much less room than in-drawer knife storage or a knife block — plus it keeps your knives within reach. A hanging rail is also always wise (IKEA's Kungsfors railis a classic budget option, but for something luxe, I am gaga fordeVOL's brass rails).

There are dozens of other ways to go vertical: Screw cup hooks into the underside of upper cabinets and hang yourmugsnext to thecoffee maker; install a hook and hang a wire fruit basket to reclaim the fruit bowl's real estate; buy strong magnetic hooks and stick them to your range hood (we have a mesh strainer hanging from ours). But don't employallof these tricks or your kitchen will feel cramped.

5. Utilize Any Awkward Gaps

If you have the type of kitchen cabinets with a gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling, you can probably put that awkward space to good use. Display your prettiest serving bowls up there or place baskets in the under-utilized space to store things like paper towels, non-perishables from a wholesale club and party supplies. I've even seen someoneinstall a shelf supported by simple wooden wine racks. Psst! You can also place some nice baskets on top of your fridge if you've got unused space there.

6. Put Your Appliances To Work

Today there's almost no end to the magnetic organizers you can add to your fridge. And for good reason — in a small kitchen, it's smart to use this vertical surface to store things. In my own apartment, we have a magnetic paper towel holder, scissors that came with their own magnetic holster and a few magnetic hooks for potholders. Author Marie Vijoen has her spicesstylishly stuck to the front of her fridge.Yamazakimakes beautiful magnetic accessories, includingthis sleek refrigerator rack(if there were enough room on the side of my fridge to use this, I would totally get it).

If you're really short on counter space, you might also use your stove for storage. Consider anover-the-stovetop cutting board, which covers two of your burners to create additional workspace (while you're not cooking, of course!). You can also stick a magnetic hook to the front of your range to hold pot holders. I've never used one myself, but I took note whenMelanie of the blog A Small Lifeshared a link to amagnetic stove shelfthat lets you use the top of your range like a mini shelf — genius!

7. Streamline The Sink

Pare back what's stored around the sink to reduce clutter and make it easier to clean. For example, we have only one soap dispenser and just wash our hands with dish soap. If you don't use your scrub brush daily, tuck it under the sink. Don't do many dishes by hand and have a relatively large sink? Anover-the-sink dish rackwill free up the counter space next to the sink; you can stash a microfiber orwool dish drying matbeneath the sink for those times when you have a larger number to hand dry.

8. Become A Minimalist Cleaner

The under-the-sink area is often a dark hole crammed full of clutter. If you reduce the number of products you use, it will go a long way towards making the most of this space. Instead of three different spray cleaners, maybe you can use a single all-purpose option. If you have multiples of certain categories of cleanser, use them up before restocking. Another favorite trick: Take the roll of garbage bags out of its bulky box.

9. Edit Your Batterie De Cuisine

While we're talking about paring back, I should mention that decluttering your cooking and food storage tools is the fastest and easiest way to make your kitchen feel more spacious. If you have the time and inclination, do a thorough assessment of every object in the kitchen. Could you store it somewhere else? Might you get rid of it altogether? In an attempt to tame my food storage containers, I've temporarily boxed up many of my containers to see how many Ireallyneed.

10. Be Realistic About What Your Kitchen Can Do

This last one has nothing to do with how you set up your kitchen, but everything to do with your chances of success cooking in it. When planning a menu, ask yourself if you can realistically make everything in your small kitchen. When we entertain, I almost always opt for one-dish meals like a lasagna or tray of enchiladas to ensure that my kitchen is not in chaos when guests arrive. If I'm planning a big celebratory meal, you better believe I will ask a guest to bring dessert or buy one at a bakery. Not asking too much of your kitchen is key to mastering the art of cooking in a small space.

10 ways to make a tiny kitchen work for you (2024)


10 ways to make a tiny kitchen work for you? ›

The most efficient layout for a kitchen, including small kitchens, is the U-shaped layout. Although this layout produces two, deep corner cabinets, clever cabinet additions such as sliding storage units makes light of these previously difficult storage areas.

How do you survive in a small kitchen? ›

Tips for Making the Most of Small Kitchen Spaces
  1. Stay on top of your inventory. ...
  2. Cook one-pot, sheet pan, or skillet meals. ...
  3. Make a game plan for cooking. ...
  4. Limit your tools, equipment, and appliances. ...
  5. Mise en place (prep first). ...
  6. Clean as you go. ...
  7. Invest in nesting bowls, pots and pans, and containers.

How do you make a small kitchen fabulous? ›

How to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger and Better
  1. Use layered Light – accent, task and ambient.
  2. Add a light-reflecting tile backsplash to your small kitchen.
  3. Remove clutter from the countertops and those blocking light in front of the window.
  4. Paint the walls in a bright and light-reflective colour.

How do you minimalist a small kitchen? ›

7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Minimalist Kitchen
  1. Get Rid of the Clutter. Your first step in route to a simple kitchen is to get rid of the clutter. ...
  2. Rethink Your Colour Scheme. ...
  3. Switch Out Your Faucets. ...
  4. Get Rid of the Knobs. ...
  5. Keep All Items in the Right Spot. ...
  6. Hide Away Daily Appliances. ...
  7. Ditch the Extras.
Feb 23, 2018

What is the most efficient arrangement for a small kitchen? ›

The most efficient layout for a kitchen, including small kitchens, is the U-shaped layout. Although this layout produces two, deep corner cabinets, clever cabinet additions such as sliding storage units makes light of these previously difficult storage areas.

Where should a refrigerator be placed in a small kitchen? ›

WHERE SHOULD YOU PUT A FRIDGE IN A SMALL KITCHEN? If you're able to tuck a refrigerator into a corner or against a wall, that could be an efficient use of space. An undercounter fridge is another option for small kitchens if you have no need for a freezer or can put one in a garage or basem*nt.

What is the disadvantage of small kitchen? ›

Con: Less Storage Space

Less storage also means that you'll have less space for your pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, and other kitchenware. You may also not have the space to expand, should you ever decide to build on your collection.

What is the kitchen triangle rule? ›

The kitchen triangle rule has substantial application in the design and layout of a kitchen. The sum of the three sides of the triangle should not exceed 26 feet. Each leg should measure between 4 and 9 feet. No side of the triangle should cut through a kitchen island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.

Should the refrigerator be near sink or stove? ›

The sink, main refrigerator, and stove should be in close proximity to each other. You require a minimum of 4 feet between each point to easily maneuver, and equally not more than 9 feet. This allows easy access to get food from the refrigerator to a preparation point, and then into the oven.

Which direction should fridge face? ›

The refrigerator should be placed in the southwest corner. Avoid putting the refrigerator in the direction of the north or east. Always ensure the fridge isn't close to a corner or hooked to a wall when positioning it. The appliance can be positioned in the west, north, or northwest directions.

What 3 things should every kitchen have? ›

  • Knives. Without a proper chef's knife, food prep can be miserable. ...
  • Knife Sharpener. Once you have the right knife, you'll need to keep it sharp. ...
  • Cutting Boards. ...
  • Bowls. ...
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups. ...
  • Cookware. ...
  • Instant-Read Thermometer. ...
  • Utensils.
Feb 3, 2021

What are the 10 kitchen rules? ›

  • Kitchen hygiene 101: wash hands. Making sure your hands are clean is at the top of the kitchen hygiene rules list. ...
  • Thoroughly cook foods. ...
  • Correct food storage. ...
  • Wipe down counter tops. ...
  • Food hygiene rules: don't cross-contaminate. ...
  • Clean your chopping board after use. ...
  • Bin basics. ...
  • Stop grease in its tracks.

What is smallest kitchen called? ›

A kitchenette is a small cooking area, which usually has a refrigerator and a microwave, but may have other appliances. In some motel and hotel rooms, small apartments, college dormitories, or office buildings, a kitchenette consists of a small refrigerator, a microwave oven, and sometimes a sink.

What size is considered a small kitchen? ›

Kitchens can be categorized into small, mid-sized and large kitchens. As highlighted above, small kitchens measure 70 square feet or less whereas midsized kitchen measure 100 square feet. Large kitchens measure around 200 square feet and above and all these are just estimated averages.

Is microwave over stove outdated? ›

Is a microwave above the stove outdated? No, over-the-range microwaves are a great way to free up counter space and consolidate your appliances. They come in a variety of different sizes and designs, so you can find the perfect style for your kitchen.

Why do people put microwave above stove? ›

The main reason why many homeowners choose OTR microwaves is because they save counterspace. If you have a small kitchen with limited prep space, a mounted microwave can open vital square footage. Even if you have a decent amount of counterspace, a bulky microwave may not fit the look you want in your kitchen.

Is it OK to put a microwave in a cabinet? ›

And while many bloggers will advise you to install a microwave in your kitchen cabinets, we strongly advise against it. A microwave oven, designed exclusively for a kitchen countertop, has vents that are built into the back of the microwave.

What color cabinets go best in a small kitchen? ›

White is your best friend in a small kitchen. It reflects light, enhancing the sense of space and making the walls recede. When you include white on cabinetry, countertops, walls, and the ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries.

What to do when you have no counter space? ›

15 Tips to Maximize Countertop Space in Your Small Kitchen
  1. Use Windowsills. ...
  2. Hang Extra Cabinets or Shelves. ...
  3. Look Above the Cabinets. ...
  4. Discover Extendable Countertops. ...
  5. Invest in a Large Cutting Board. ...
  6. Consider Collapsible Counters. ...
  7. Try Tiered Countertops. ...
  8. Hang the Appliances.

What can I do with a gap between my counter and wall? ›

One of the best ways to do that is to use silicone caulk. Another way is to use a backsplash or backer rod to ensure the vanity is flush against the wall.
Closing the Gap – Other Steps to Take
  1. Backer Rod and Caulk. ...
  2. Bathroom Sealant Tape. ...
  3. Backsplash. ...
  4. Caulk.

How to arrange appliances in small kitchen? ›

Three rules of thumb are to put frequently used appliances on the countertop or the lowest shelf of an upper cabinet for easy reach; rarely used appliances should go to the top of the cabinets; and never-used items should be sold or donated.

Where should dishes go in kitchen? ›

Plates, glasses and other dinnerware are most often stored near the dishwasher. Spices should be stored near a prep area, but not too close to the stove or oven as heat can destroy their flavor. Put bowls, appliances and other cooking tools where they are easy to access.

What is the most efficient kitchen layout? ›

The most efficient kitchen layouts are U-shaped and island kitchens. These layouts provide ample countertop space for cooking and prep work, and they allow for fluid movement throughout the room. Galley kitchens often have the issue of feeling “bottlenecked” because there is only one path in and out of the kitchen.

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