53 Small Kitchen Ideas That Prove That Less Is More

Small kitchen with white countertops and gray-blue cabinets near stainless steel refrigerator

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

When it comes to kitchens, bigger isn't always better. The most experienced chefs know that you don't need a ton of space or non-essential equipment to produce a stunning meal. A small kitchen where everything required to prep and cook is within arms' reach can make everyday cooking more efficient and stress free. Easier to clean and maintain, a smaller kitchen encourages you to focus on the essential and eliminate clutter, and can feel especially cozy and inviting with thoughtful design and decor.

Check out these stylish, compact, space-saving kitchens in a range of styles that have everything you need to cook for yourself or a crowd.

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    Slide Away Bar Seating

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    This 237-square-foot Parisian mini loft from French interior design firm Space Factory has a open kitchen that is built on a slight platform that delineates it from the rest of the apartment, decorated with bright white cabinetry, subway tiles, and OSB accents that add warmth and texture. A slim custom built-in bar helps to visually divide the space, provide extra counter space for meal prep, and has a slide-out component that doubles its width for dining, with white bar stools that disappear into the background when not in use.

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    Floating Shelves

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    A Beautiful Mess

    One way to keep a small kitchen space feeling light and airy is to use open shelving instead of upper cabinetry, which can make a small space feel cramped and claustrophobic. The key to making this work is keeping those open shelves neatly styled. Blogger Elsie Larson from A Beautiful Mess kept this small U-shaped kitchen feeling light, bright, and airy with an all-white palette that includes floating open corner shelving to store dishware, spices, and pantry staples. A cool-toned silver stove and stainless steel oven vent create a focal point, and the symmetry of the space and neatly arranged contents of the shelves make the small space feel lived in and organized at the same time.

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    Charming

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This St. John's Square, London kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox for deVOL Kitchens has charming bones and a period fireplace that's outfitted with custom cabinetry neatly built in against a single wall, cool blue paint, and warm countertops and metal accents. Quirky art, a smattering of plants, and a sparkling crystal chandelier prove that a small kitchen can handle as much style as any other.

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    Streamlined

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    Fantastic Frank

    This petite L-shaped kitchen from Fantastic Frank is built seamlessly into a corner of a larger dining space equipped with a large table and chairs, allowing it to fade into the background at mealtime. The all-white kitchen has glossy lacquered cabinetry in a sleek flat-front design that blends into the all-white backsplash. A large picture window floods the tiny kitchen with natural light, making it feel open and airy.

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    Skyline

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Georgia Zikas Design / Photo by Jane Beiles

    In this galley-style city apartment kitchen from Georgia Zikas Design, a corner banquette is squeezed in at the far end beneath a window with a skyline view. A round tulip-style table without any sharp edges allows for easy maneuvering in the compact space. Glass-front cabinetry helps keep the narrow galley kitchen from feeling too closed in, and a gleaming tile backsplash on opposite walls helps to bounce light around.

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    Peninsula

    small kitchen

    Design by Rashida Banks for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Keyanna Bowen

    If you dream of having a kitchen island but don't have the square footage for one, try installing a peninsula instead. This compact kitchen designed by Rashida Banks for Emily Henderson Design has a sleek quartz waterfall edge peninsula that has seating for three, anchored by a pair of black and gold vintage-style pendant lights that define the space and add some retro charm.

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    Groovy Graphics

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    Design by Emilie Fournet Interiors / Photo by Rachael Smith

    This small London kitchen from Emilie Fournet Interiors has a groovy geometric patterned tile backsplash that extends to the hood vent, defining the open kitchen area and adding movement and interest to the space that makes it feel dynamic and expansive rather than small and cramped. The U-shaped design makes everything you need to prep, cook, and serve meals within arm's reach.

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    Rustic

    small kitchen

    Lobster and Swan

    This small rustic kitchen from Lobster and Swan is anchored by a large center oven and outfitted with stained wood countertops, olive green cabinetry, and open shelving stacked with dishware, glassware, and cookware in natural materials. In lieu of a kitchen island, a round bistro table and chairs provides a place for dining and an extra surface for meal prep.

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    All the Angles

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    Fantastic Frank

    This small kitchen from Fantastic Frank is tailored to seamlessly fit into the room's angled walls to maximize storage and functionality. The airy minimalist Scandi kitchen has pale gray cabinetry, light blond hardwood flooring, mixed metals, a whisper of pink on the walls, and hanging bulb lights hung on a rosy pink knotted cord that adds a note of studied nonchalance.

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    Bachelorette

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Desiree Burns Interiors

    This bachelorette pad kitchen from Desiree Burns Interiors is open to the living room, and is dressed for company with simple white cabinetry, a classic Smeg refrigerator, gold-toned hardware, mixed metals, and a pair of accent pendant lights over the built-in island countertop that doubles as a small space dining area.

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    Fold Down Dining Table

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    In this small Parisian kitchen designed by Space Factory, a custom-built fold-down burnt-wood table creates a place for dining that can be neatly stowed away when not in use to open up the space. The black wood cabinetry and textural concrete wall finish give the uncluttered space a minimalist, masculine feel.

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    Inside the Looking Glass

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This small London kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox for deVOL Kitchens has mixed wood finish cabinetry that provides texture and a minimalist style and layout that keeps the space feeling modern. In addition to a large window to the outside, the designers added an atelier-style interior window over the sink that looks out into the main entryway, a clever way to maximize natural light and create additional sightlines in a small space that helps to preserve a sense of openness.

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    One-Sided

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    Fantastic Frank

    This long and narrow eat-in kitchen from Fantastic Frank has a wall of cabinetry, countertops, and appliances on one side, leaving space for a small bistro table and chairs on the opposite side. A minimalist clear glass pendant light hangs over the dining space that disappears during the day and provides dedicated light after dark.

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    U-Shaped

    small kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Margaret Austin Photo

    This bright and airy San Jose, CA kitchen designed by Cathie Hong Interiors for an avid cook and homeschooling mother has a practical U-shaped layout, mixed finishes, classic subway tiles, and ceramic light fixtures.

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    Pure Scandi

    small kitchen

    Fantastic Frank

    This small but airy and light-flooded Stockholm kitchen from Fantastic Frank is authentic Scandi style at its best, with its simple white and silver finishes, a streamlined wall of cabinetry and appliances, painted white bentwood chairs, and a small table covered in a lacy tablecloth to add a note of vintage charm.

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    Serene

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This small kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has a spare traditional feel with plenty of built-in storage to keep it from feeling cluttered, and a limited palette of soft white, gray, and pale wood.

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    Contemporary Cottage

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    Design by Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona

    Blogger Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona installed a small L-shaped kitchen in the corner of this open cottage kitchen and dining room remodel. The light palette of the kitchen matches the rest of the room and fades into the background when not in use.

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    Back Door

    small kitchen

    Design by Jessica Nelson Design / Photo by Carina Skrobecki Photography

    This small kitchen from Jessica Nelson Design is arranged in a double L-shaped configuration that maximizes functionality while accommodating the presence of the back door. Packed with storage, the kitchen's palette of soft whites, grays, pale wood, and mixed metals keeps it feeling streamlined and serene.

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    Black

    small kitchen

    Design by DasMod and Handsome Salt / Photo by Jenny Siegwart

    In this small open kitchen designed by Eric Gilmer and Sven Simon of DasMod in conjunction with interior designer Sara Simon of Handsome Salt, matte black wall paint provides contrast to white cabinetry and creates continuity with the seating area on the other side of the room. A small dining table floats in the middle of the space between tall windows, and a large colorful painting creates a focal point that distracts the eye, making the kitchen fade into the background of the open space.

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    Reclaimed

    small kitchen

    Lobster and Swan

    Rustic reclaimed wood and textured walls make this DIY English kitchen from Lobster and Swan feel homey and inviting.

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    NYC

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    Interior designer Alvin Wayne made the most of this compact NYC kitchen by using cabinetry and countertops in a mix of matte black and bright white lacquer finishes. A mix of silver and copper accents bring the neutral color scheme to life, and the spare design allows the city skyline view to shine.

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    Neutrals

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    Design by Violets & Vinegar Design / Photo by Jenny Siegwart

    This compact U-shaped kitchen from Violets & Vinegar Design keeps it simple with a sober palette of white, gray, and black. A subtle pattern on the backsplash tile adds interest, while countertops are kept clear to keep the small space looking sharp and clutter-free.

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    Shades of Green

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This charming country style kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has an L-shaped design that hugs the small space with its slanted roof and cottage charm. Finishes in multiple shades of green on the walls, backsplash tile, lower cabinetry, and open shelving is mixed with warm antique brass plumbing fixtures, rich stained wood glass-front upper cabinetry, and terracotta floor tiles with an aged patina.

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    Galley Style

    small kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Amber Thrane

    This light and bright galley California kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors has tons of natural light that makes the sober white, black, and gray palette feel fresh, while mixed metal accents add shine.

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    Shared Entry

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    This small kitchen designed by Parisian interior design firm Space Factory shares space with the entry. The designers used an atelier-style metal and glass window partition to visually divide the space, and used a striking tile mosaic floor that unites it. The entry side of the cabinetry that divides the space is painted in chalkboard paint to delight the kids, while leather pulls add a sophisticated touch to black kitchen cabinetry contrasted with pale wood countertops.

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    Condo

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Mary Patton Design / Photo by Molly Culver

    This small condo kitchen from Mary Patton Design creates the illusion of a larger space by sticking to a light and bright all-white palette dressed up with luminous gold-toned accents, and adding minimal items to the countertop.

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    Go Dark

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    Dark green paint on lower cabinetry and walls makes this Notting Hill London kitchen from deVOL Kitchens feel cozy and warm, while a dramatic cool marble backsplash and countertops and antique brass accents add polish and style. Open shelving with a thin brass ledge provides easy access storage for tea supplies and glassware and pots of flowers.

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    Victorian Restored

    small kitchen

    Design by Tyler Karu / Photo by Erin Little

    This historic Victorian in Cambridge, MA kitchen was remodeled by interior designer Tyler Karu, who worked with the owners to restore the original character and detail to the home that had been erased during previous renovations. The modest sized kitchen has quality materials with a timeless but updated feel. Wall hooks on the empty wall house a decorative and practical display of wooden cutting boards.

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    U-Shaped

    small kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Christy Q. Photography

    This U-shaped kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors maximizes every last nook and cranny with wrap-around cabinetry from floor to ceiling, a kitchen island with built-in storage, and a white and gray palette with mixed metal accents that makes it feel light and airy.

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    Multi-Functional Island

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    This top floor Paris apartment designed by Space Factory has tall ceilings and is flooded with light from skylights on the roof, making the small kitchen seem larger. Deep teal lower cabinetry has a grounding effect, while a tall marble backsplash and pale open shelving preserves a light and airy feel. A small kitchen island houses the stovetop and includes a breakfast bar for two.

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    Tiny Loft

    small kitchen ideas

    Fantastic Frank

    This tiny Stockholm studio from Fantastic Frank has a compact kitchenette to match, seamlessly tucked in beneath the loft bed stairs that double for extra storage.

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    Sage Green

    small kitchen

    Design by Bees Knees Interior Design Studio / Photo by Tamara Flanagan Photography

    In this small kitchen from Bees Knees Interior Design Studio, soothing sage green paint on the lower cabinets is carried onto the mudroom cabinetry visible through the arched doorway, creating a sense of continuity.

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    Free-Standing Fridge

    small kitchen

    Design by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

    In this small kitchen designed by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design, a retro style refrigerator is lined up beside the built-in L-shaped cabinetry, sink, and oven, helping to define the space.

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    High Rise

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    This small NYC kitchen from interior designer Alvin Wayne has pale neutral finishes that allow it to blend in with the open adjacent living room, while a large neon sign at the end of the hallway creates a focal point to distract the eye.

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    Back to Back

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    In this small open plan kitchen in Paris designed by Space Factory, a custom designed dining table is placed in front of the wall that houses the kitchen in lieu of an island. It is accompanied by a custom designed leather bench that is placed back to back with the adjacent living area sofa, neatly dividing the space and creating separate zones within a 581-square-foot apartment.

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    Black Box

    small kitchen ideas

    Fantastic Frank

    This compact Berlin kitchen from Fantastic Frank has minimalist vibes, with its matte black lower cabinetry, sink, and plumbing fixtures, and a black industrial wall sconce with a long arm that looms over the countertop. A blonde butcher block countertop adds warmth and light, and a framed black-and-white print on the pristine white walls adds some minimalist decor.

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    Classic

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This lovely L-shaped London kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has dark lower cabinetry topped with marble slab countertops, leaving space on the walls for framed art and a vintage wall sconce that creates an open, uncluttered feel. Brass, gold, and copper accents warm up the space.

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    Modern Rustic

    small kitchen

    Design by Erin Williamson Design

    This remodeled 1950s Texas lake house kitchen from Erin Williamson Design has a modern rustic vibe, with warm tiles, rustic beams, clean, white cabinetry accented with wood pulls, glass pendant lights, a retro style refrigerator, and wood and woven bar stools around the peninsula.

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    Pass Through

    small kitchen

    Design by Bees Knees Interior Design Studio / Photo by Kyle J Caldwell Photography

    This compact L-shaped kitchen from Bees Knees Interior Design Studio hugs the corner of a larger pass-through space, leaving plenty of room around the kitchen island to preserve flow. A pale palette of shades of white and built-in cabinetry that hugs the ceiling maximizes every inch of space and allows the kitchen to fade into the background when not in use while remaining at the center of the home.

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    Self-Contained

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This small self-contained kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has a U-shaped layout that maximizes space along the three main walls. One wall is devoted to storage, including closed lower cabinetry, and a built-in wall of glass front cabinetry,. The opposite wall has a window over the sink that floods the room with natural light, while the back wall is devoted to an oversize hood vent that creates a focal point along with the vintage-style pale yellow oven.

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    White and Blue

    small kitchen

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Margaret Austin Photo

    Pale blue cabinetry with black accents and white countertops and tiles make this small kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors feel fresh and functional.

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    Free Floating

    small kitchen

    Design by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Tramp

    This small kitchen designed by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson Design has open and closed cabinetry, a large countertop, and sink along one wall, with a free-standing oven positioned on its own against the back wall as a matter of necessity. To distract the eye and make the space feel bigger, a convex witch's eye mirror with an ornate gold frame is hung on the wall.

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    Eclectic

    small kitchen

    Design by K Shan Design

    This small kitchen from K Shan Design has a big personality and an eclectic, upbeat vibe thanks to colorful wallpaper, black-and-white check tile flooring, geometric backsplash tile, and blingy gold bar stools around the peninsula.

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    Contrast

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Emilie Fournet Interiors / Photo by Kasia Fiszer

    This London kitchen from Emilie Fournet Interiors combines emerald green backsplash tiles with pale white and gray lower cabinetry, countertops, and flooring. A double layer of dark wood wraparound wood shelving ties in the reclaimed wood ceiling and provides contrast.

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    Window Seat

    small kitchen

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    In this small galley kitchen in a Georgian style apartment in Bath, England from deVOL Kitchens, a two-seater cafe-style breakfast bar is built in right next to the window to provide a cozy place for a cup of coffee or a meal.

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    Retro

    small kitchen

    Rockport Building Partners / Photo by Sarah Szwajkos

    This country kitchen from Rockport Building Partners has plenty of built-in cabinetry painted in a retro pastel mint green, vintage pendant lighting, and a modern kitchen island with a pair of French bistro stools.

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    Downstairs

    small kitchen

    Design by Mindy Gayer Design Co. / Photo by Vanessa Lentine

    This compact kitchen from Mindy Gayer Design Co. is located at the bottom of the stairs, laid out in an L-shape with a small island that seats two. Tall cabinetry maximizes vertical space, and a neutral palette with warm touches of wood and natural woven accents adds warmth to the open space.

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    California Modern

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Christy Q. Photography

    This California modern Eichler house in San Jose was updated by Cathie Hong Interiors, who turned the dark, outdated room into a space fit for 21st-century living. The designer added an island to optimize circulation, replaced outdated cabinets, and added new appliances, tile work, light fixtures, and open shelving.

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    Brick

    small kitchen

    True Home

    A small dated kitchen from True Home was renovated with durable sealed brick floors, black cabinetry, salvaged marble countertops, and plenty of recessed can lighting to compensate for the lack of natural light.

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    L-Shaped Peninsula

    small kitchen

    Design by Mid City Interiors

    This small bungalow kitchen from Mid City Interiors has an L-shaped peninsula with built-in storage that provides seating for four while helping to define the kitchen area. Built-in cabinetry on the L-shaped corner portion of the kitchen runs all the way up to the ceiling to maximize storage.

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    Mini Loft

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    The small minimalist kitchen in this top floor duplex designed by French interior design firm Space Factory is built along a wall next to a staircase inspired by a Kapla game. A single shelf above the sink is painted in Yves Klein blue that matches color accents found throughout the open space, and a single panel of plywood on the cabinet front next to the oven echos the raw material of the staircase.

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    Accent Tile

    small kitchen

    Design by Erin Williamson Design

    This small kitchen from Erin Williamson Design is located in a multi unit 1950s A-frame lake house on the shores of Lake Austin, TX. The designer replaced the cramped, dated kitchen, removing upper cabinets, adding a striking black-and-white tile backsplash to modernize it while taking advantage of the vaulted ceilings that make the compact space feel much larger than it is.

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    Curtain Call

    small kitchen ideas

    Design by Studio Peake

    This fresh L-shaped alcove kitchen from Studio Peake can be banished from sight thanks to a green-and-white patterned curtain hung from the ceiling on the outside of the cased opening.