In a small kitchen, every square inch of space can make a difference. Looking for small kitchen hacks? It’s easy to make updates and implement kitchen ideas on a budget because you don’t need a ton of materials. From small kitchen storage ideas to creating a more spacious feel, here are 10 ways to elevate your cooking space and maximize your square footage.
1. Consider Light and Airy Colors
Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a space, which makes it one of our favorite budget kitchen ideas. If you’re planning to paint the cabinets or walls, keep this in mind: Light colors can make a space feel less cramped. When you have lighter colors in a room, it allows both natural and artificial light the opportunity to bounce throughout the space. When you have darker colors, they absorb the light and can make a space feel smaller and more intimate.
While colors can play a huge part in defining the space of your kitchen, the amount of natural light is also important. If your space is north-facing or doesn’t have a lot of natural light, consider off-whites and warm grays — stark white paint in a low-light kitchen can end up looking dingy.
Here are a few of the most popular light and airy paint colors for kitchens:
- Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Behr Snow Fall
- Benjamin Moore White Dove
- Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
- Sherwin Williams Creamy
- Behr French Gray
- Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray
2. Maximize the Space Above Your Cabinets
Vertical space is key when it comes to small kitchen storage ideas. Add storage by utilizing the room above your kitchen cabinets. Buy a set of stylish bins, like these decorative baskets and bins from Target or these creatively designed utility baskets from World Market. Then, you can store all kinds of items you don’t use regularly — plus they double as beautiful decor above your cabinets. Try DIY-ing your own basket labels to keep track of everything.
3. Hang Pots and Pans from a Ceiling Rack
Another way to create vertical storage? Hanging a rack on the ceiling. You can hang pots and pans instead of them taking up valuable cabinet space. These options from Wayfair are affordable and designed to hang from the ceiling. If you don’t have the clearance for a ceiling rack, then consider a wall-mounted rack, like these from Home Depot. Whatever type of solution you choose, just make sure it’s rated to hold heavy pots and pans, if that’s what you need.
4. Bring in Color with a Small Rug
Upgrade your standard kitchen mat with a vibrant flat weave rug in a small size, like a 2' x 3' or small runner. It’s an easy way to introduce a bit of color and warmth to a small kitchen. You can find fun, unique designs for affordable prices. Look for a rug woven from durable materials that are easy to clean, like recycled polyester or washable cotton. Make sure to get a non-slip rug pad for underneath to ensure it stays in place, which is especially important for high-traffic areas like the kitchen.
5. Display Your Favorite Functional Items
When storage space is at a minimum, often the only spot for things is on your countertop or wall. Try streamlining your kitchen tools to the items you actually use, then use hooks to hang them from the wall or keep them on display (but still easy to grab when you need it!). Here’s a few quick budget kitchen ideas: stack up your cutting boards or hang them from hooks, use a magnetic strip on the wall to display your best knives, or hang pots and pans on the wall in front of the stove.
6. Add Storage to the Inside of Your Doors
For another way to maximize small kitchen space, consider adding storage to the inside of your cabinet doors. A great spot to start would be the cabinets below your sink. Instead of cluttering your sink area with dish soap and sponges, stow everything away in a basket attached to the inside of your cabinet. There are affordable over-the-door options, or you can try one of these DIY cabinet door storage ideas.
7. Switch Up Your Backsplash
There are more options for easy kitchen updates than ever before -- thanks to the popularity of home DIY projects. For an instant impact in your small kitchen, update your backsplash to something with a bold color or fun pattern. Home Depot has an entire section of peel-and-stick backsplash, which take little time to install. With many options under $15 per square foot, it won’t take much to update a small space.
8. Utilize the Space Under Your Upper Cabinets
Free up your counter space with another storage solution: racks installed to the underside of your upper cabinetry. It’s the perfect spot for a paper towel holder. You can also find special racks made for hanging wine glasses or wine bottles. If you don’t want to attach anything to the underside of your cabinet, you could install a small shelf or storage rack to the wall below. It’s an ideal spot for storing dishes, cooking utensils, or mugs.
9. Build Your Own Shelving
While storage is always crucial in a small kitchen, open shelving can make it feel bigger and less closed in -- plus it doesn’t cost much if you do it yourself. All you need is some wood, shelf brackets, and nails or wall anchors. Make sure there’s around 15 to 20 inches of space from your countertop to the bottom of your lowest shelf. See how the blogger behind Lemon Thistle created kitchen shelves for less than $20 each.
10. Add a Statement Light
Since many small kitchens only have one light, it’s the perfect opportunity to go for something bold. Make a statement with a unique flush-mount light or colorful pendant like these budget IKEA options. Consider an oversized light for a statement in a small space — one large light can expand the room, while multiple small lights can make it feel more cluttered. Always measure your space first, so you can ensure the size of your light fixture or shade doesn’t affect functionality. Unless it’s above an island, a light fixture should hang at least 7 feet from the floor to ensure there’s enough clearance for walking underneath.
Whether you’re constantly cooking or a pro with the microwave, working with a small kitchen can be hard. Cosmetic updates and ingenious storage solutions are easy wins. Planning a remodel to enlarge your kitchen? Consider using a PODS portable container to store items during your project.