13 Space-Making Hacks for Small Kitchens

A small kitchen with white cabinets and open shelving

The Spruce / Alyssa Vela

There is nothing worse than a kitchen that feels cluttered. It's supposed to a be a place where we unwind after a long day and cook ourselves a hearty meal (or rewarm takeout from the fridge), rather than a place that feels disorganized and messy—and this is especially true for smaller kitchens.

Does your pint-sized kitchen leave you starved for storage and counter space? These room-expanding ideas will show you how to use every square inch of your kitchen more efficiently.

  • 01 of 13

    Look to IKEA for Space-Saving Solutions

    A kitchen towel and utensils are hanging on the wall scandinavian design
    Victor Tkachev / Getty Images

    When it comes to whipping up much-needed vertical storage, there's nothing like IKEA's kitchen organization products. The store has many budget-friendly systems on offer, and some are designed to hang on walls so you can make the most of your kitchen's untapped vertical space.

    This hanging unit shown above allows some of your frequently used items to hang out above your counter space. This also makes navigating the kitchen easier by ​keeping cookware, dishes, and utensils within easy reach.

    Continue to 2 of 13 below.
  • 02 of 13

    Add Counter Space Over Your Sink

    over the sink Chopping Board with containers of food on top


    A super-smart solution that won't break the bank? Add a bit of extra prep space with a cover for your sink. There are plenty of affordable, over-the-sink solutions that will give you a bit of extra room when your sink is not in use—this one from IKEA is quite handy, in our opinion.

    Continue to 3 of 13 below.
  • 03 of 13

    Make Use of the Space Around Your Fridge

    Red Refrigerator with hidden storage above and to the side
    Alan Chu

    If you have a sliver of space between the fridge and the wall in your small kitchen, consider making a hidden DIY rolling pantry like this one from Alan Chu. It's perfect for storing canned goods and other nonperishable kitchen essentials.

    Continue to 4 of 13 below.
  • 04 of 13

    Create a Double-Duty Backsplash

    Red Pegboard Kitchen Backsplash
    Bunker Workshop

    A stainless steel pegboard backsplash is a great double duty feature that protects kitchen walls from spills and splatters while keeping tools that you often use handy.

    The dashing red backsplash shown here from Bunker Workshop is a one-of-a-kind design. However, you can make one yourself. You can find stainless steel pegboards at most home improvement stores.

    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    Try Folding Kitchen Tables

    Folding Wall Mounted Kitchen Table
    Toy Box Tiny Home

    A folding table can provide a spot where you can prepare and eat food without taking up valuable floor space. It can also be a perfect idea for a desk that you can tuck away when you're finished working. Just take a look at this marvelous idea in action from Tiny Box House.

    Continue to 6 of 13 below.
  • 06 of 13

    Work With Untapped Space

    Rustic Kitchen Island With Drawers

    We love how this tiny cottage kitchen keeps the countertop clutter-free using several clever storage solutions. Below are our favorite ideas.

    • The three toe kick drawers under the kitchen's base cabinets put the space that traditionally goes to waste behind baseboards to good use. You can retrofit most standard base cabinets for toe kick drawers.
    • A curtain rod creates a smidgen of vertical storage for utensils in front of the window.
    • And of course, we need to point out the small pot rack that's conveniently placed next to the oven.
    Continue to 7 of 13 below.
  • 07 of 13

    Try an Over-the-Sink Cutting Board

    Over the Sink Cutting Board with vegetables on top

    Sure, a kitchen island can create additional counter space in a small kitchen. But if you can’t spare the floor space, an over-the-sink cutting board is an ingenious quick fix. This one allows you to rinse before chopping.

    Continue to 8 of 13 below.
  • 08 of 13

    Create Kitchen Storage in a Nearby Room

    Hidden Kitchen Pantry Behind Curtain
    ClosetMaid, MasterSuite

    If there's not enough space in your tiny kitchen to create the storage you crave, consider using a nook or closet in a nearby room. A recessed niche can be used to stash kitchen tools you occasionally use or nonperishable pantry items. A curtain, as shown on the left, can keep what you store out of sight.

    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    Make the Most of Kitchen Corners

    Corner Shelving in Tiny Kitchen
    The Tiny Project

    Corner space is usually underutilized in many homes. But when you're trying to make every square inch in your small kitchen count, corner shelving can give these awkward spots a purpose. Just take a look at this nifty kitchen from The Tiny Project!

    Continue to 10 of 13 below.
  • 10 of 13

    Create a Pantry Using Mason Jars

    small kitchen with mason jar storage

    Don't have a pantry? No problem. You can use mason jars to create the storage you need on a blank wall.

    You know how products like flour, pasta, and even dog treats come in different sized packages? The Minim Micro House brings order to storing dry foods like these by pouring each one into a separate quart-sized mason jar.

    Each jar is then placed in one of the two kitchen racks shown above. Each rack can accommodate 25 quart-sized mason jars.

    Continue to 11 of 13 below.
  • 11 of 13

    Turn Your Kitchen Junk Drawer into a Spice Rack

    spices in glass jars
    komargallery / Getty Images

    Drawers can be powerful organizational tools. Designating one as a holding pen for random odds and ends is a tremendous waste of precious kitchen real estate. It also enables you to accumulate clutter.

    Like to cook? Transforming your junk drawer into a spice drawer may be a better way to go. Not only can this idea free up cabinet space, but keeping your spices in a well-organized and easy to reach spot can make cooking easier.

    Continue to 12 of 13 below.
  • 12 of 13

    A DIY Plate Rack

    plate rack on wall as storage for plates and cutting boards
    Oliver and Rust

    This DIY wall plate rack by Meg and Trevor at Oliver and Rust is an attractive storage solution for over-sized items like platters and cutting boards.

    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Open Shelving Kitchen

    wooden shelf and containers on the wall
    Praiwan Wasanruk / Getty Images

    Open shelving is a smart storage solution for small kitchens that do not have room for standard hanging cabinets. As a bonus, shelves like these make it easier to grab dishes, glasses and mugs. The home design team, Charles and Hudson, installed the open shelves shown above.