10 Creative Small Kitchen Ideas for a Chic Makeover

optimized kitchen with blue cabinets and wood backsplash

If you live in a small condo or house, you know the struggle of making the most of limited space. And, when it comes to the kitchen, you definitely don’t want to compromise on prep areas, storage, or style just because you’re a little short on square footage. Fortunately, with a little creativity and smart planning, you can make your cramped kitchen feel larger and more spacious. Here are 10 small kitchen design ideas to inspire your next makeover.

1. Get a smaller sink

If you have a small kitchen, one of the best ways to maximize space is to get a smaller sink. A large or double sink not only takes up valuable counter space but can also be difficult to clean and maintain. By opting for a smaller sink, you can create more prep space and make your kitchen more functional.

When it comes to materials, there are lots of choices to choose from. Stainless steel is easy to clean and affordable, while fireclay and copper offer an industrial look and feel. If you’re looking for something modern, consider an acrylic or composite sink, which can be made in a variety of colours and designs.

Deep kitchen sink in small kitchen with white countertops

2. Make the most of your kitchen corners

One area that often gets overlooked in small kitchen designs is the corners. They often end up being dead space, or worse, a black hole for all your kitchen items. But don’t worry – you can turn these forgotten corners into functional and stylish spaces. Place a lazy susan on your countertop so that you can reach everything with ease. Ask your kitchen designer about specialized cabinets made for corners. You can even use corner shelves to stash some decorative plants, cookbooks, or your mug collection. The possibilities are endless!

White pull-out shelves in lower cabinets filled with pots and pans

3. Let your cabinets reach the ceiling

Whether your kitchen has an open concept, one-wall, or galley layout, tall cabinets are a great way to take advantage of vertical space. They not only provide ample storage and free up your countertops but also make the kitchen seem larger than it is. Plus, there’s no dust buildup on top of floor-to-ceiling or ceiling-high upper cabinets! New or refinished cabinets also give you the opportunity to experiment with bold colours or materials like metal and glass. To see just what’s possible, check out our completed kitchen renovation projects.

high kitchen cabinets

4. Make your own mobile kitchen island

If you’re looking for small kitchen ideas that don’t involve pricy remodels, then consider a mobile kitchen island. You can go for a custom store-bought option or install locking casters on Ikea cabinets or a thrifted console. Just store it against a wall when not in use and roll it in when you need an additional food prep space, an impromptu dining area, or even a workspace. Bonus: It can provide extra storage space for your kitchen!

contemporary kitchen with mobile island

5. Add a folding table

If you’re struggling to find space for a dining table, then we’ve got a smart small kitchen idea: a folding or drop-leaf table! This innovative piece of furniture is usually mounted to a cabinet or a wall and can easily be folded up and out of the way when not in use. Many designs also come with integrated storage space, such as shelves or drawers. They help keep your kitchen organized and tidy while taking up little to no floor space. Lots of table styles exist, from framed artwork to mobile bar carts, so you’re bound to find something that fits your aesthetic.

6. Put in a pull-out pantry

Say goodbye to messy countertops and cramped cupboards with the pull-out pantry! This game-changing addition effortlessly disappears into the wall, creating hidden storage in even the tiniest of kitchens. Add drawers, adjustable shelves, or even storage boxes to keep everything organized and tidy.

7. Embrace built-in appliances

Stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee machines… You name it, it can become a permanent fixture in your kitchen! Built-in appliances are flush with the kitchen cabinets or walls and create a seamless look. If you don’t like stainless steel, you can also opt for integrated appliances. They’re installed with cabinet panels and hardware that match your cabinetry.

Neutral contemporary kitchen featuring built-in stoves

8. Play with illusions using a mirror backsplash

One of the best ways to create the illusion of more space in a small kitchen is to use a glass or mirror backsplash. Not only is it trendy but it also reflects light and makes the kitchen look larger. You might not have more space, but it won’t feel as cramped as it did before!

kitchen with mirror backsplash and white cabinets

9. Add lots of lighting

Lighting plays a vital role in small kitchen design. It not only creates the illusion of more space but also makes it easier to perform tasks such as cooking and cleaning. You can also use light to highlight specific areas for ambiance. For example, dark and moody kitchens will have dimmed ambient lighting and interesting accent lighting, while Japandi kitchens will supplement natural light with subtle task lighting and a single eye-catching light fixture.

If you want to draw attention to unique features in your kitchen, such as a brick feature wall or arches from another era, an architectural lighting expert can help. They can find light fixtures that’ll give your space some extra cachet.

Ambient and task lighting in a bright white kitchen

10. Keep it neutral

When it comes to small kitchen ideas, keeping it neutral can turn a compact kitchen into a spacious delight. White cabinets and walls are popular in small kitchen designs, but any light neutrals like creams and off-whites will do the trick. They reflect light, creating a fresh and clean look while making the room seem bigger.

Paint the walls, ceiling, and trim the same colour to create continuity. Then, add colour and texture with natural materials like wood, stone, and marble. They’ll complete the look without overwhelming the space.

Neutral kitchen with wood cabinets and oat walls

More small kitchen ideas on the horizon

Looking for more tips to transform your claustrophobic kitchen into a space to cook, bake, or entertain? You’re in luck. We’ve got a lot more content to help you create your dream kitchen. Explore cost-saving tips, the latest kitchen trends, and even some luxury kitchens to inspire your next renovation project! There’s even a kitchen renovation guide that lays out the process, step by step.

Ready to take the plunge? Reach out to one of our Renovation Advisors. They’ll refer you to up to three kitchen contractors, at no cost or obligation.