The look of your small kitchen annoys you? Give it an upgrade! | homify

The look of your small kitchen annoys you? Give it an upgrade!

Lily Cichanowicz Lily Cichanowicz
Designstudio speziell® KitchenStorage
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When it comes to decorating the kitchen, it can feel like the options are limited. This is largely because most of the major furniture items like cabinets and appliances are set in a fixed place. Plus it is expensive to make alterations to the floors and kitchen fronts. This debacle is magnified when the kitchen is small. It can feel like there is hardly any wiggle room to make alterations to this central space in the home.

With the cost of space on the rise, this issue probably isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Luckily, there are actually countless ways to maximise space and decorate the small kitchen in ways that make you feel proud of it. Right here on homify alone there are plenty of guides packed with tips for upgrading a small kitchen. Today, we’ve got even more inventive and inspiring ideas to show you. Enjoy!

Make the most of every corner

When you’re limited on space, it’s of the utmost importance to effectively work with what you do have. We bet you that even when you feel like throwing in the towel on upgrading your small kitchen, there is actually underutilised space. All you have to do is take a step back and think a little bit outside the box. 

A corner cupboard can do wonders for stowing those bulky items like pots and pans. Meanwhile, the cluttered end of the counter where your mail pile has been accumulating can be repurposed for valuable counter space. Another idea is to add a small dining table and chairs to the empty corner. You can add a round, high table and two bar stools for especially tight spaces or you could go with a cute little table and colour coordinated chairs to match the space, like we can see here.

Create a mix: modern and rustic

Choosing a decorative scheme for the kitchen can be a bit complicated in itself. Two ideas that we’ve found do nicely in the kitchen is the rustic look and modern style. Rusticity connotes feelings of warmth and earthiness that go naturally with the process of preparing food to nourish yourself and your loved ones. Meanwhile, modern styles work nicely in small spaces because they create a sleek and sophisticated look from a more minimalist approach. 

Combining these two looks will help to make you kitchen feel welcoming and elegant simultaneously. For example, this kitchen has been designed with raw wooden kitchen fronts, exposed beams, and a farmhouse sink. All of which are trademark elements of rustic décor. This, combined with handle-less kitchen fronts, grey pendulum lights and black slate kitchen island add both counter space and simplicity.

Maximise vertical space

One of the most commonly overlooked areas that have plenty of storage potential is the vertical space in your kitchen. Whether it’s a cabinet that isn’t organised to fully favour functionality or an empty wall where shelves can be mounted, we are willing to wager your kitchen actually has some vertical space to spare no matter how small it is. 

For instance, you could add shelving inserts or additional shelves within a cupboard like we can see in this example to better store smaller items like sauces and spices. Mounting floating shelves on the wall will effectively utilise vertical space without adding any excessive bulk. Alternatively, you could add a tall and thin cupboard or locker in the awkward space next to your refrigerator that doesn’t allow enough room for something else.

Avoid monochrome

We also recommend that you keep the small kitchen looking a bit dynamic by mixing colours and textures in the space. Of course, there’s not need to overexert yourself here, but adding a splash of colour to the backsplash, colourful stools, or a uniquely coloured appliance like this fridge will give your kitchen a more aesthetically interesting feel that serves to distract from the size constraints. 

One budget friendly way to add a bit of colour or pattern to your kitchen backsplash is with the help of adhesive tile stickers. For a simple DIY project you could always cover the cushions on your stools in different fabrics. Thoughtfully chosen artwork can also help add some pizzazz to the look to keep it from feeling monotonous. Just try to keep the decor to a minimum, so as not to clutter up precious space.

Go minimal: hide your storage

Deseo - Alta and Deda Deseo Modern kitchen

Deseo – Alta and Deda


Along with all the merits of modern sleekness and sophistication, the trend towards minimalist design deserves its own separate section. As mentioned earlier, opting for kitchen fronts without handles will help the cupboards to appear less busy. For instance, in this kitchen by Deseo, the kitchen fronts are reduced to flat facades that don’t draw too much attention to themselves. 

You can enhance this effect by hiding the storage. While exposed storage solutions can often be lovely, in a small kitchen it can easily make things feel a bit cramped, crowded, and chaotic. Keeping things simple and behind closed doors will reduce this effect whilst also helping to create larger blocks of cabinet that blend together as one.

Use different units

Another way to make the kitchen feel more aesthetically interesting and dynamic is by going with cabinets comprised of different individual units. The varying shapes and sizes of the cabinets will help to break up the monotony in the kitchen in much the same way that layering colours will help to divide and distinguish the space in flattering ways. 

If you’re wondering just how many different types of units there can be for a single style of kitchen fronts, check out this example. There are several differently sized drawers and cabinets that come together to best maximise the space. Going modular isn’t a bad idea because it helps ensure that you’re utilising every inch of available space, but this strategy works best when the units are tailored in size to fit the unique dimensions of your kitchen.

Customise it

Customising the kitchen by varying the kitchen units is one way to best maximise space, but there are several other options to consider as well. When it comes to storage, especially in a space that is constrained in size, it’s important to come up with a storage strategy that will ensure the kitchen is as functional as possible. 

While you could do this by installing a corner cabinet, thereby utilising your vertical space to tailor the storage capacity to your needs, we would also wager that you could be getting more out of your kitchen drawers, too. Much like we saw in the above example with the small shelves added to the cabinet for storing spices, drawers could be divided to serve multiple different purposes. Here, we can see this in practice. With the help of some simple dividers and inserts, the drawer, which could otherwise be awkwardly wide, comfortably fits cutlery, spices, spoons, keys and even a phone charger.

For more tips on maximising space, check out this guide to making the most out of your small kitchen

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