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The Ultimate Guide


10 Unique Small Kitchen Design Ideas

Maria Rueger / Getty Images

Small kitchens were practically made for remodeling. You can pour all of your creative energy into designing a small space because your dollar goes further. That means you often can afford the materials that fit your aesthetic, even if they're a bit pricey. And with so many design options available, you will have no shortage of inspiration for your own remodel.

Here are 10 small kitchen design ideas.

  • 01 of 10


    nautical small kitchen design
    The Inspired Room

    For her Pacific Northwest house with sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, Melissa Michaels retained her kitchen's basic footprint but demolished the rest. Making this into an open-plan kitchen instantly expanded the small space.

    Any self-respecting Seattle home needs a nautical theme, and this one definitely has it. But Melissa's touches are gentle, not literal. For instance, she added a porthole-shaped window, interior shiplap siding, aged brass fixtures, and arched doorways.

    Small Kitchen Remodel from The Inspired Room

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  • 02 of 10

    Elegant Country

    elegant country-style small kitchen design
    Flea Market Trixie

    Wondering how to transform a classic one-wall small kitchen into an object of beauty? As a designer and lover of all things shabby chic, blogger Flea Market Trixie continued her home's faded-elegant country style into her kitchen when she remodeled.

    Dull white melamine cabinets are turned into white Shaker-style wood cabinets with faux raised legs. Closed cabinets are transformed into airy, welcoming open shelving—the better to display flea market china, glassware, and other treasures. And replacing the ordinary ceiling light with a graceful chandelier is the crowning touch on this small but elegant country kitchen.

    Kitchen Reveal from Flea Market Trixie

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  • 03 of 10

    Island Paradise

    kitchen with an island
    Chris Loves Julia

    Chris and Julia began with a time-worn, nondescript small kitchen in their Idaho home. Like any U-shaped kitchen owners, they faced the challenge of a space defined by three unmovable borders. To make things worse, a massive nonagon-sided (nine-sided) kitchen island dominated the area, sucking away precious floor space. Plus, the island's overhangs jutted into the room, monopolizing even more area. But they had a solution.

    First, they freed up space by recessing the refrigerator into the cabinets. Counter-depth fridges don't so much minimize appliance size, but rather they maximize cabinet size, all while creating a continuous line on the wall.

    But the game-changer was to ditch the hulking island and replace it with a gorgeous freestanding black island with a butcher-block top. Four-sided and moderately sized, this new island not only provides them with more space, but it's also a beautiful addition that matches the cabinets.

    Idaho House Tour from Chris Loves Julia

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  • 04 of 10

    Cottage Industry

    English cottage small kitchen design
    Emily Henderson

    Is this a conventional L-shaped kitchen or an English Tudor-style cottage kitchen? It is a little of both. Emily Henderson did begin with the classic L-shape that so many homes have. But she transformed it into a charming light-filled space with a cozy cottage feel.

    Brass is back but not the brass of the 1980s. Emily judiciously used brass instead of spreading it everywhere. Her brass also is unlacquered, so it develops a deep, antique patina over time. What makes this small kitchen soar is the white-dominant paint color scheme. White opens up everything and reflects the maximum amount of light. 

    Kitchen and Dining Room Reveal from Emily Henderson

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  • 05 of 10

    Replacement Therapy

    small corridor kitchen remodel
    Little Bits Of

    Imagine your delight as a cook in this lovingly remodeled corridor-style kitchen. Foodie and chef Kelsey of the blog Little Bits Of feels this joy every time she steps into her kitchen, with its high ceilings, generous counter space, and large farmhouse (apron) sink.

    Of course, it wasn't always like this. Designed by Kelsey and executed by a local contractor, this small kitchen remodel came together in fewer than five weeks but with much dust and effort. A major change is the breakfast bar, formerly an interior wall. By removing this wall—which served no structural purpose—and replacing it with the bar and stools, she introduced ​a whole new area to her kitchen.

    Her kitchen is now flooded with light on both ends and has a more open flow. Plus, the new bar is functional, adding seating room. Onlookers can sit on a stool and chat with the chef while she is cooking.

    Before and After Kitchen Remodel from Little Bits Of

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  • 06 of 10

    Thinking Inside the Box

    small kitchen stove in breakfast bar
    Pinch of Yum

    When you have a small kitchen, it pays to be creative when it comes to rearranging the footprint. Food blogger Lindsay at Pinch of Yum had a problem: The stove was shoved in the dark recesses of her box-like small kitchen.

    Her solution? Rearrange. She took the step of adding a breakfast bar and moving cooking activities there. This freed up tons of space for more cabinets. And now she has a place where she can socialize as she cooks some of her culinary delights.

    Kitchen Remodel Final Reveal from Pinch of Yum

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  • 07 of 10

    Gorgeous Galley

    open galley kitchen remodel
    Run to Radiance

    Galley-style kitchens are small. In fact, they are so small that lifestyle blogger Tania reports that she felt embarrassed to have such a tiny kitchen in a 2,800-square-foot house.

    The most effective solution for galley kitchens is usually to remove a wall. One wall is typically an exterior wall, which can't be removed. So it's the opposite wall that usually comes down if the house structure permits.

    What to do with that empty space? Many homeowners just leave it open. Tania added a peninsula, giving her a place to park the dishwasher and sink and providing more counter and storage space.

    Galley Kitchen Remodel from Run to Radiance

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  • 08 of 10

    Bold and Brassy

    green and white small kitchen design
    Emily A. Clark

    With its brass highlights and three-tone color scheme, Emily Clark's freshly remodeled small kitchen calls to mind a lovely French brasserie kitchen at some point in the past century. Aged copper and green painted cabinets make the end of the room pop with delightful color, working in perfect harmony with the black honed granite countertops and glowing gold touches.

    What's more, this small kitchen actually fits two dishwashers—something on Emily's wish list. And the open shelving keeps the space feeling airy.

    Green and White Kitchen Renovation from Emily A. Clark

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  • 09 of 10

    Beautifully Blue

    blue painted cabinets in a small kitchen
    Hey Let's Make Stuff

    With its dated oak cabinets, Cori's small kitchen was no place of joy. So she went for a common solution: She painted the cabinets.

    In an age when white color schemes rule the kitchen, blue cabinets might seem risky. But look where creativity and courage can take you. The teal cabinets work well with the rich, natural wood butcher block counters. And Cori's kitchen is a bright place of happiness and joy.

    DIY Kitchen Renovation​ on a Budget from Hey Let's Make Stuff

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  • 10 of 10

    Tile Delight

    small U-shaped kitchen with tiled wall
    Centsational Style

    Tile is the cure for many small kitchen design woes. When you are tasked with designing a remodel for a local shelter home, as Kate Riley of Centsational Style was, you are faced with limitations. First limitation: the tiny U-shaped footprint.

    But Kate knew that tile—colorful and shimmering—works wonders in small spaces. She purchased inexpensive clearance ceramic tile at her local Home Depot. In shades of blue, green, and cream, it's a tile that "changes colors throughout the day, more colorful in bright light and subdued in indirect light," Kate reports.

    Shelter Kitchen Remodel from Centsational Style