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Smart ideas for small kitchens

01 January 2016

With a little planning and creativity, you can transform a small kitchen from a challenging space into a one you’ll enjoy spending more time in. From storage to seating, find your small kitchen inspiration with our roundup of real-home examples.

Open storage above the kitchen sink and work surface is useful
A storage bench layered with cushions means guests can socialise while you cook

‘We’ve created a cosy bench that doubles as extra storage space. It’s helped turn the kitchen into a sociable area’

Mili and Tomáš, IKEA co-workers, Czech Republic

Pot lids and utensils can be kept on display to make finding them easy
Displaying dry ingredients in matching jars is practical and pretty
Pretty up the job of recycling by creating an attractive area for the task
Movable storage can work in rented spaces – try a trolley or stool as an alternative to shelves and drawers
Mismatched collections stored in a wooden crate create a vintage feel
Don’t forget those out-of-sight places – under a bench provides storage space


Don’t think you can fit more into your small kitchen? Look high and low, into awkward corners, and don’t forget your doors. You might discover a few extra places you can add rails or small storage. If you want to keep the floorspace free, try hanging storage from ledges or radiators. If you live in an awkward or rented space, simple open shelves or build-your-own solutions securely fixed to the wall provide cost-effective storage you can add to over time or take with you when you leave. 

A long kitchen island maximises on space in this skinny kitchen

‘All our guests love to congregate around our island table. It’s a creative design that makes the most of a small space’ 

Juli and Patrik, designers, Hungary

A chalkboard turns utensil storage into a colourful display

Have fun with your storage

Get playful with chalkboard paint, chalk and nails to create a storage solution for your utensils that also shows off your personality. The outlines mean everyone will know what lives where. 

Clear countertops are the fastest way to an organised kitchen

Clear your counters

Make the most of your available workspace by keeping it free of clutter. Chopping boards, utensils and even food can all be wall hung, leaving you with more prepping space.  

Keep the things you use most within easy reach

Keep favourites close at hand

Make daily routines more streamlined by storing what you use most often within reach and things you use less frequently higher up. If you love coffee, why not create

Trolleys are storage on wheels – trundle them to wherever they’re needed

‘The trolleys are extra worksurfaces. We can use them in the kitchen or in the living room to chop in front of the TV’ 

Prime, architect, Germany