Designing for Small Kitchens

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

When designing for apartments, condos, or older homes, there’s the possibility of running into smaller kitchens. Tight spaces may lead to fewer appliances, smaller furniture and simpler schemes, but they don’t have to cut back on ideas. Use these opportunities to get creative and think outside the box.

Designers, ECPR came up with some of our favorite small kitchen design tips to inspire ideas for your next small-space project.


1. Mirrored Illusions

  • Glossy appliances – Considering glossy appliances are a hot trend, clients probably won’t mind installing them. The added bonus is they’ll reflect lots of light and make the space feel bigger. 
  • Mirrored backsplash – When picking out a backsplash it may be useful to consider choosing one that doubles as a mirror so there is the ability to open the space up even more. 

2. Embrace the Light

  • Windows Are A Plus – By adding windows to the kitchen, natural light can flood the room and makes it feel airy and brighter, ultimately making it feel larger. 
  • Light Color Schemes- Sticking to crèmes and whites can always makes a room feel larger, which is the way to go in a small space. However don’t be afraid of adding a touch of color. Smaller kitchens still need some personality, so try adding a colorful backsplash or colored appliance. 

3. Go Vertical

  • Floor To Ceiling Cabinets – Utilize the space that’s there and provide additional storage space with floor to ceiling cabinets. 
  • Taller, narrower cabinetry makes rooms feel more spacious and less clunky. 

4. Islands That Serve A Purpose

  • Multi-utility Islands – Even if the kitchen calls for a smaller island, it doesn’t have to lack importance and purpose. Pick an island with plenty of storage options or a breakfast bar attached to the side. Another idea is to install the microwave below the island, allowing the extra wall space for cabinetry. 
  • Islands on Wheels – If the kitchen is really cramped opt for a smaller island on wheels. This allows for it to be there while clients are cooking, but can be rolled to another room while they’re entertaining. 

5. Storage Solutions

  • Shelves – Just because its storage doesn’t mean it has to be stored away from plain view. Adding shelves are great alternatives to cabinets and allow the space to feel more open. 
  • Pull Out Pantries – The last thing a small kitchen needs is clutter, our team suggests adding a pull out pantry, or two, to alleviate spare food items or kitchen products that tend to just hang out on top of the counter. 
Check out these sites for inspiring designs: 

Better Homes and Gardens Small Space Kitchen Island Ideas:

HGTV 10 Small Kitchens:

39 Small Kitchen Design Ideas:

House Beautiful Small Kitchen Designs – Ideas for a Small Kitchen:

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Don Eberly


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