13 Big Ideas to Upgrade Your Tiny Kitchen

Beth Stebner
13 Big Ideas to Upgrade Your Tiny Kitchen
13 Start slideshow

If you live in a rental, you’ve probably spent hours agonizing over how to make your apartment suck less. And though tiny bedrooms and laughably small bathrooms present their own unique problems, one of the most egregious offenders has (at least to me) always been the kitchen.

For instance: If you’re trying to cook dinner and don’t have a single square inch of cutting space, what in the name of kale are you supposed to do, short of turning your equally small coffee table into a chopping block? And what about small cabinets that don’t offer enough space for three of your plates, let alone your mugs and wine glasses?

MORE: How to Make the Most out of a Small Space

Not to worry. With a few clever uses of the space you already have (hint: think about vertical integration) you can add not only functionality, but personality. Click through the gallery to get inspired.

0 Thoughts?
1 of 13

Possibly the most important lesson for creating a roomier kitchen? Use vertical space to your advantage, like adding a dish rack above the sink instead of next to it.

Photo: Ben Pentreath


A tall, narrow bookshelf takes up a little floor space but gives you plenty of storage for your cookbooks. And even a tiny bistro table can add much-needed dining space to your home.

Photo: Hus o Hem

Focus on keeping things light, bright, and airy. White and bright kitchens feel bigger than one that's dark and depressing.

Photo: Tessa Neustadt for Homepolish


No windows? No problem! Add ambient lighting wherever you can to avoid the harsh overhead glare of the one light that actually came with your apartment.

Photo: Hus o Hem

Use the back of the stove as a chic storage spot for spices, oils, and anything else you might need while whipping up a masterpiece.

Photo: Homepolish

When your space is tiny, the risk is looking like a hoarder. Open shelving and a curated color palette are the perfect ways to combat that.

Photo: Home Adore

Lots of personality can make up for an absence of space. We love everything about this tiny kitchen.

Photo: Dane Tashima for Zio & Sons

Create room for a coffee station (necessity!) by artfully stacking cups.

Photo: Heather Bullard

A DIY wire rack lets you keep cooking utensils at the ready (and off the counter).

Photo: A Beautiful Mess

Never underestimate the power of the S hook and open shelving.

Photo: Keltainen Talo Rannalla

Even if you've got an awkward space, use every possible inch to your advantage.

Photo: Planete Deco

Need more storage? A floating island, stacked neatly with kitchen necessities, does the trick.

Photo: Hus o Hem


Use the space above your cabinets for extra storage or as a place to show off your tchotchkes.  And if you don't need a full-sized one, consider buying a smaller refrigerator.

Photo: Jenny Wolf Interiors

Next slideshow starts in 10s

Hot Young Women, Older Men: A Brief History

Hot Young Women, Older Men: A
Brief History