Small Kitchen Remodeling Ideas and Design Tricks

Small Kitchen Remodeling Ideas and Design Tricks

The kitchen—even a small kitchen—is the heart of your home. Small kitchens must work at least as hard as their more generously-sized cousins, so efficiency and functionality are key. Remodeling a small kitchen presents interesting challenges, and a qualified design professional will bring creative ideas for maximizing every inch of space.

All good kitchen design starts with the basic work triangle—sink, stove, refrigerator. Small kitchens are often configured in a galley or U shape, and the proportions need to be exactly right to fit everything in without feeling overwhelming or claustrophobic.

One solution is to take the cabinetry all the way to the ceiling. This option provides lots of storage, and glass fronted upper cabinets can keep the room from feeling top heavy.

Alternatively, a small kitchen design that features strong base cabinets and open shelving in place of upper cabinets can also be a great solution. Floating shelves give a small kitchen an airy feel, while still providing needed storage.


Borrowing Space
One of the best ways to change the look and feel of a small kitchen is to create an open floor plan by taking down a wall between the kitchen and a dining or family room. Adding a multifunctional island as a room divider will help delineate the spaces and can provide room for:

  • A sink or cooktop
  • Storage
  • Seating and eating

A large pass-through can also open up an area between rooms to create the illusion of space. A designer may even be able to recess storage or appliances within a wall.

Banquettes provide another small kitchen eat-in option. Shallow cabinets can be hung above, and the benches themselves can provide extra storage.


The good news is that small kitchens allow you to put your budget toward custom solutions and stylish details.

Custom cabinets can be configured so no space is wasted. Drawers can be outfitted with inserts to hold virtually anything from pots and pans to fine china. Look for other smart solutions like:

  • Wine and spice racks
  • Corner cabinets with lazy susans or cantilevered carousels, and full-extension drawers
  • Fold-down work areas
  • Plinth drawers (built into the toe-kick areas under main cabinets)
  • Pullout pantry cabinets

Eliminating clutter is key, and opting for clean lines can help. Hanging the microwave and putting away other small appliances can save counter space.


Let There Be Light
Small kitchens can turn into caves, so good lighting design is essential. Shiny surfaces (like glass, stainless steel, or high gloss finishes) reflect light around the room.

Keep windows and exterior doors clear, and avoid heavy window treatments. You might also think about adding a skylight or greenhouse window to bring in more natural light.

Ambient lighting to provides overall illumination, while task lighting provides the light you need at all the important workstations. Other good options include:

  • Under-cabinet lighting
  • Interior cabinet/drawer lighting
  • Accent lighting to showcase a special feature

A well-planned small kitchen design can turn your remodeling efforts into solutions that work for your family and add value to your home.

If you would like to learn more about finishing your attic space and how it could work in your home, contact Airoom to schedule a complimentary designer consultation. Or browse the remodeling galleries at

  Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers
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