10 Ways to Maximize a Small Kitchen

Design and decorating hacks and ideas to make a small kitchen live large

Kathryn O'Shea-Evans
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Turn Your Oven into Storage

We’re not talking hiding your sweaters in it, a la Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw—but there’s no shame in keeping lesser-used pots and pans in the stove, and hauling them out only when you need to. Bonus: It’s storage space you already have (read: free!), rather than furniture you need to buy.

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Install Shelves in Unused Spaces

Put shelving above the door, above the fridge, above the window...If you stand in your kitchen and look hard enough for unused storage space, we bet you’ll spy plenty of it. Keep only your most-used tools, bowls, and dishware on these open shelves to avoid dust.

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Use an Over-Sink Cutting Board

No room to slice and dice? No problem, if you have a cutting board meant for over-sink use, like these options from Wayfair. This set-up maximizes your counter space, and allows you to toss errant scraps right into the sink.

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Go Crazy at The Container Store

The company that tailor-makes storage solutions for a living surely has plenty for you, be it rolling shelves, glass food containers, or magnetic spice racks that stick to your fridge. Measure your kitchen before you go to get exactly what you need.

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Hang Your Most-Used Kitchen Implements

A hanging pot rack is a great way to reclaim space, while a simple bar attached to a cabinet can be a prime hangout spot for your whisks, tongs, strainers—you name it. Heavily-used items are within arm’s reach at all times, and the rack makes you look as efficient as Alice Waters to boot.

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Invest in a Magnetic Knife Strip

Keeping your knives within easy reach is de rigueur for any home chef, but placing them on an easy-on, easy-off magnetic knife strip doesn’t take up an inch of counter space. Arranging them from largest to smallest keeps a tidy look.

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Go Bright

Turn even the tiniest kitchen into a jewel box space by painting the cabinets a saturated hue—purple, blue, green—then adding timeless brass cabinet pulls and handles. It’s a significant change that won’t take more than a weekend.

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Remove Upper Cabinet Doors

If you feel squished, sometimes the simplest solution is opening up your cabinets and providing the illusion of more space. Hate open cabinetry? Consider replacing a few of the doors with glass, to get dust-protection combined with an open feel.

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Add Lots of Lighting

Under-cabinet lights are both ambient and provide necessary task lighting when your dinner party menu was supposed to be on the table...an hour ago. We love the way they make even an inexpensive kitchen feel a little luxe.

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Display Foodstuffs Prettily

No hideous, branded boxes should be seen anywhere in your kitchen, not when glamorous storage solutions exist that will make everything look minimalist-marvelous. Pop for some dishwasher-safe glass containers or translucent baskets that won’t go out of style, and you’ll never regret it.