75 Small (But Mighty) Kitchens to Steal Inspiration from Right This Instant
Even the most petite space can become the main course.
Living with a small kitchen is invariably frustrating, whether you’re a diehard gourmand or the type of person who uses the oven as wardrobe overflow. Spatial gymnastics, like chopping vegetables on a counter the size of a postage stamp or sucking in your stomach to navigate the passage between your refrigerator and kitchen island, can get old—fast.
But being short on square footage should never inhibit the design potential of your kitchen. In fact, you might be surprised by the myriad methods out there to make even the most pint-sized of cooking areas look and feel grand. Storage, of course, is always top of mind (here’s looking at you, city dwellers!), but there are plenty of tips and tricks for making your kitchen feel spacious and stylish yet still functional. So we’ve rounded up 75 small kitchens from our archive to show you precisely how. Read on to see gorgeous homes that make the most of their small layouts with bold cabinetry, double-duty accent pieces, sleek lighting solutions, and more. Bon appétit!
This Brooklyn apartment is blessed with super-tall ceilings and tons of natural light. Designer Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design amped up the airiness in the combined kitchen and dining area with vibrant jolts of jewel-toned colors, including with this emerald green backsplash (which replaced the original, developer-installed white subway tile) and retro-chic Knoll dining chairs reupholstered in scarlet, “nightclub ready” Ultraleather.
Like most busy New Yorkers, the resident of this Manhattan apartment doesn’t have time to cook often, but that doesn’t mean the kitchen plays second fiddle to the rest of the home. Instead Sarah Mendel and Risa Emen of Cochineal Design converted the space into a functional showpiece of its own, with bold marble and cabinets lacquered in Farrow & Ball’s sultry Preference Red. Bonus: It’s the perfect nook for displaying the client’s collection of ceramics.
Sometimes it’s best to embrace the chaos. And we can’t think of a better example than this jubilant kitchen nook belonging to William Cullum, the senior designer at Jayne Design Studio, and his partner Jeffery Rhodes. A hot-pink Victorian-era pie safe-houses antique serveware, while a goat sculpture (formerly a display fixture at Saks Fifth Avenue) cheekily guards the fridge (camouflaged in whimsical artwork) against midnight snack marauders. In this space anything truly goes, as long as you do you.
Just because you have a miniature cooking space doesn’t mean you need to forgo areas to prep and dine. The trick is to think small, as with this diminutive kitchen island in an apartment designed by Nicholas Obeid. With vintage stools tucked beneath and a pair of Allied Maker pendants hung above, this vignette has all the impact of its sprawling suburban cousins.
We love how this kitchen, in a family-friendly Brooklyn apartment for the cofounders of Civilian, packs in plenty of storage with whimsical details. The custom island, topped with an eye-catching piece of marble, doubles as a repository to stash cookbooks and dinnerware, while the cherry-red hood (also custom) adds a fun postmodern pop.
We’ve been seeing lacquered cabinets everywhere lately and this chic example, located in a Paris pad designed by Hugo Toro, proves that the finish can add extra oomph to even the smallest of spaces. In addition to the glossy coat, in a custom shade of burnt sienna from Redfield & Dattner, Toro incorporated handsome brass finishes (just check out that ceiling!) and bold marble on the walls, countertops, and ceilings.
Relying on a light palette is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to creating the illusion of space, and with good reason. Here, in the Washington, D.C., home of Dan Sallick and Elizabeth Miller, feathery marble, crisp white cabinets, and warm timber details work in concert to foster the airiest of cooking nooks. The inky David Weeks chandelier adds a graphic touch.
Sure, green and black kitchens have been trending in recent years, but we love this happy pale lavender version in the Milan apartment of Lisa Corti. The hue works to delineate the space, which the textile designer further personalized with open shelves, knickknacks (we love the framed photo of the cat), and a sky-blue table.
Who says thinking inside the box is a bad thing? It certainly isn’t in this sculptural kitchen in a Los Angeles bungalow designed by LAUN. A green lacquered volume not only is a chic way to camouflage the refrigerator, it also serves as a handy device to break up the home’s mostly open floor plan. High-shine brass cladding around the sink and cabinets, meanwhile, amplifies the room, not to mention gives the scheme a glam Midas touch.
Not all of us can say we live in a refurbished 1970s geodesic dome, like hatmaker Nick Fouquet, but there are still spatial lessons to be gleaned from the kitchen: Instead of fighting the quirky architecture, Fouquet embraced it, creating a faceted cooking area and echoing the building’s geometries in the island. He even installed shelving in the triangular-shaped structural elements.
Even though designer and paint entrepreneur Nicole Gibbons has a small New York apartment, she made her kitchen feel light and airy by painting the walls an ever-so-subtle duck egg. A petite breakfast nook—complete with its own tiny gallery wall—makes the most of her square footage and her budget, with a small table from Amazon and Marcel Breuer–style chairs.
This kitchen in a secluded alpine getaway may be small, but its smart spatial solutions (we love the hanging shelves above the sink) and strong material palette of locally sourced stone and timber allow this cozy cooking space to punch above its weight.
A pint-size space is a good excuse to go bold (take the humble powder room, for example), and a kitchen is no exception. In this truly one-of-a-kind kitchen in a St. Petersburg apartment, designer Tim Veresnovsky covered the walls, cabinets, and chair in a black-and-white striped eucalyptus veneer.
The high-shine, high-contrast brass finish on the cabinets in this Milanese kitchen creates the illusion of more space and gives the whole open-concept space some Midas-tinged glam.
In a Roman penthouse, a covelike kitchen may seem tight, but the crisp counters (with plenty of storage space concealed beneath) keep things feeling architectural—not cramped. The neutral, peach and white color palette also creates the feel of a bigger room.
If you’re sick of the all-white kitchen but still want the lightness and space-creating magic the look affords, take a page from designer Mark Grattan’s book: In his Mexico City apartment he specified all-white cabinets and tiles but refreshed the look with pops of gold and terra-cotta in the travertine countertops, golden rug, and earthy plant stand. And, if your space and light levels allow, why not include a tree?
A bubble-gum-pink table gives this statement-making black and white kitchen in a Midtown East apartment a fun, yet edgy, pop.
Even a small kitchen can seem larger with an open concept, like in this East Village condo belonging to and designed by Augusta Hoffman. To contrast the modern cabinetry and island, she made sure to incorporate organic elements, as with the woven barstools.
Opt for open shelves instead of cabinets, like designer Charlie Ferrer did here in his Manhattan studio apartment. He added Donald Judd–style green shelves and papered the ceiling in a vintage Italian wallcovering he’d bought in Provence, which he says reminds him of “carpaccio.”
In interior designer Amaro Sánchez de Moya’s Seville, Spain, pied-à-terre, he brings the outdoors into his kitchen with a vintage Spanish garden table and chairs. They blend seamlessly into the overall motif of this fun, country-style kitchen.
In the Milan apartment of Emiliano Salci, the creative director of Dimorestudio, the kitchen is painted in two colors—black and yellow. The walls bring a distinct flair to the space, and even somehow coordinate with the unexpected green counter.
If you like minimalism taken to the extreme, look no further than this modernist Stockholm apartment belonging to a family of four. The kitchen features stainless-steel countertops and lower cabinets, which allow for ample storage down below—rather than at eye level—for a sleek and clean look.
Take note: A bar cart from the Thom Filicia Home Collection for Vanguard is set in the center of the kitchen in designer Thom Filicia’s Manhattan apartment. Instead of investing in a large island in a compact kitchen, try a smaller, decorative table or cart like this for extra storage and work space.
Small yet striking, this Jean-Louis Deniot–designed Miami kitchen features custom stainless-steel cabinetry that has been laser-printed with an abstract pattern, reflecting the natural light while creating a sense of movement.
This snug bachelor pad kitchen features big design moments, with a sleek Carrara marble countertop, brass barstools by CB2, and pendants by Tom Dixon, all of which make a statement while taking up minimal visual real estate.
While a full backsplash may overwhelm a petite kitchen space, actress Amanda Seyfried’s weekend retreat proves that a little goes a long way. The tiles by Heath Ceramics draw the eye in, while leaving plenty of white space to keep the area bright.
Making the most of your countertops is key to a functional kitchen, and the cook space in model Joan Smalls’s Miami penthouse offers a place to cook, wash, and dine all in one.
The mirrored tiles of John McClain’s kitchen backsplash reflect light while adding depth, making up for the small square footage and minimal natural light.
In this futuristic Greenwich Village apartment, a sleek gray kitchen features several large door panels, which are fully integrated into the walls and millwork to conceal the small space when needed.
In an open-concept loft designed by Bella Mancini, the petite kitchen space flows while feeling distinct, with white cabinetry and countertops, backdropped with dark paint.
Event designer Bronson van Wyck's Manhattan kitchen features an Urban Archaeology pot rack hanging over a salvaged pine island, putting the typically underutilized space to good use.
Just because your kitchen space is small, doesn't mean you can't have all of the amenities. This compact design by Jennifer Jones features storage, cooking surfaces, and a statement backsplash.
In a minimalist—and monochrome—West Village apartment, the petite kitchen feels light and bright with its skylights and streamlined design.
Pastel blue cabinetry, white marble countertops, and bright recessed lighting keeps the small kitchen in Bill Wackermann's apartment feeling spacious and clean.
An open-concept kitchen in this Canadian lake house features moody blue cabinetry that extends up to the ceiling, giving the illusion of a larger space while drawing the eye to the statement shades.
In a PR maven's glamorous New York City apartment, Sam Still artwork hangs on a wall covered in a Madeline Weinrib wallpaper. The antique birthing chair is from New Orleans and the custom kitchen island has a Carrara marble top.
Designer Sarah Wittenbraker opted for glossy blue cabinetry, toile wallpaper, and cement tile for a pool house kitchen.
This New York apartment's kitchen boasts a range by Wolf, the sink and fittings are by Lefroy Brooks, the cabinetry is by Smallbone of Devizes, and the Bertoia barstool is by Knoll.
The kitchen countertops are poured concrete, and the doors, window frames and custom cabinetry are all painted in a custom color that helps the single row of countertops make a bit impact in this Greek home.
In the galley kitchen of a bohemian family home, the kitchen's range and microwave are by Wolf, the refrigerator is by Sub-Zero, the custom hood is by Vent-a-Hood and the countertop is Calacatta Gold marble. Hans Wegner chairs, purchased at auction, accompany a table by Eero Saarinen from Design Within Reach.
In a Monaco apartment abundant with 70s whimsy, the small kitchen table and chairs are by Jeanneret. The oven, cooktop and hood are by Aster Cucine. Meanwhile, sunlight floods into the space, making it appear larger than it really is.
The kitchen in this neutral NYC apartment features cabinets lacquered in a custom shade by Donald Kaufman Color, proving dark shades don't always accentuate a room's small size.
Fashion stylist-turned-decorator Estee Stanley transformed the kitchen in her Mediterranean-style Los Angeles home into a bright and airy space. The design includes a fresh white palette with stainless steel touches. To complete the look, Stanley opted for a Viking hood, a Waterworks faucet, and Ikea barstools.
A modern kitchen by architect Achille Salvagni crafted for a storied Roman palazzo, combines a brass light fixture and a Venetian portrait from the 1780s.
The Chelsea kitchen of Etsy's COO features dark charcoal cabinetry, which adds contrast to the white walls and marble countertop.
For a kitchen in a Connecticut family home, design duo Vivian Lee and James Macgillivray collaborated with a local millworker Wayne Tobin. The appliances in the kitchen are from Miele, GE, LG, and Fisher & Paykel. Most of the light fixtures in the space are from Schoolhouse Electric, with the exception of the Minka ceiling fans.
In a charming Paris apartment, an open-concept kitchen and dining area is outfitted with 17th-century French chairs, a Napoleon III chandelier, along with a backsplash featuring 18th-century Portuguese tile. The custom French oak boiseries and cabinets are in the style of the 18th century. The kitchen's flooring is antique oak and the fireplace is original to the apartment.
A 1930s Connecticut weekend house gets a modern makeover; In the kitchen, the island has a top of honed Carrara marble, the wall tiles are by Waterworks, the stove is Viking, and the stools are by York Street Studio; the 19th-century Windsor chair is a family heirloom, and the 1920s English pendants are from BK Antiques.
In this Manhattan home, high above the city, the kitchen's lacquer cabinetry is custom made for a clean, modern aesthetic. It is echoed in style by the backsplash and countertop, made of Calacatta marble. The range is by Viking, the refrigerator is by Sub-Zero and the print is by Ellsworth Kelly.
Regency chairs with silk cushions surround a Saarinen table tucked away in a cheery corner of the kitchen in this colorful apartment. The walls are lined with vintage silk paper, the artworks are by, from left, Rachel Lee Hovnanian, James Nares, Steven Klein (top), and Mark Shaw, and the television is by Samsung.
Pops of orange infuses energy into a small kitchen design scheme. In an effort to add more light to the space, the ceiling is covered in a textured orange wallpaper. The combination of a light backsplash, paired with dark wood cabinetry and countertops, open up the area.
In a glamorous Paris apartment, the kitchen embraces a fresh vision of luxury with mod pendant lights by Tom Dixon and a custom-made, walnut-veneer kitchen island and cabinetry. The stools are by Mater Design, the ovens and refrigerator are by Gaggenau and the sink fittings are by Franke.
In a Manhattan home, this small blue kitchen features wood-and-marble cabinets commissioned by an artisan in India. The unique light fixture is by Harry Allen, and the appliances are by GE. The walls and carpet anchor the room in a dreamy blue palette.
A cozy kitchen in a Greenwich Village penthouse showcases a farmhouse sink, skirted in a Ralph Lauren Home linen, an antique chest found at a Paris flea market, and a French sconce.
Fabric impresario John Robshaw's Connecticut country house is quaint and colorful. Just because the kitchen is petite doesn't mean it is any less full of life. The kitchen’s settee is by Richard Wrightman, the sink fittings are by Newport Brass, the ceiling lights are by Restoration Hardware, the countertops are marble, and the custom dhurrie is by Robshaw.
In the kitchen of this 100-year-old Craftsman cottage, a super slim island adds dimension—and extra cutting space—to the small kitchen. The alder cabinetry is custom made, the countertops are black granite, and the vent hood and range are by KitchenAid.
In a Brooklyn townhouse owned by wallpaper maven Kate Reynolds, the kitchen counters are Calacatta Gold marble, the backsplash tile is by Waterworks, the range is by Capital, the stools are from ABC Carpet & Home and the light fixture is by Apparatus.
The country home of the Kasliwal family—owners of the legendary Indian jewelry house Munnu the Gem Palace—is in a converted cowshed on the outskirts of Jaipur. In the kitchen, the custom cabinetry was made by a local artisan; brass urns hold wheat, rice, and other grains.
Like most Manhattan apartments, designer Kimille Taylor's Upper West Side abode has a pint-sized kitchen—but that doesn't mean she had to sacrifice style. The chic space contains a Bertazzoni oven, a Fisher & Paykel refrigerator, and marble counters. The subway tile is from Home Depot and the unique flooring is oak painted with a custom design.
In Emmy Rossum's classic New York City apartment, the elongated kitchen space has a range and hood by Bertazzoni, the cabinets are by Scavolini, the antique runner is from Stark and the photograph is by Roger Mayne.
"The kitchen is another example of applying real design ingenuity to small dimensions," Refinery29 founder Christine Barberich says of her Brooklyn Heights space. "My husband found the best appliances he could that were all smaller in scale, so nothing felt out of proportion. I love the XO relief tiles that create the white backsplash. They’re just fun because you might not notice the pattern until you’re up close. We had the concrete countertop made in Bay Ridge by this three-generation family of concrete designers. We loved the idea of having this major industrial moment right in the middle of the apartment and it really does serve as an entertaining area, workspace for cooking, or flower arranging. It’s unexpected in its brutalist vibe against the white backdrop and softer, colored details."
Designer Stephan Jones and San Francisco art dealer Francis Mill turned a former warehouse space into an art-filled apartment. The kitchen is no exception: the statement wall sculpture is by Manuel Neri.
In a minimalist New York City apartment with pops of color, a narrow kitchen features cabinetry by Bulthaup, a countertop and sink by Corian, fittings by Vola, and an oven and cooktop by Gaggenau. The light fixture is by Bega, and the floor is terrazzo.
A pair of 19th-century English chairs and a Kartell table fit perfectly into the corner of this tiny Brazilian kitchen in a São Paulo building.
In Marisa Tomei's home, the small kitchen is marked by a Saarinen table paired with 1940s French garden chairs. The range is by Viking, the dishwasher is by Asko and the flooring is cork.
An inviting, all-white kitchen in Michael Bruno's Tuxedo Park home is complete with a custom-made sink and counters and a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher.
In a Woodstock, New York retreat, a pony peeks into the kitchen, which showcases custom-made beadboard cabinetry, a Rohl sink and a vintage Moroccan rug.
In a Moscow apartment designed by Olga Kulikovskaia-Ashby, pendant lights by Tom Dixon hang above a black table in a quaint kitchen. The chairs are by Vitra and the plates on the counter are by Seletti.
In this Cape Cod cottage, the small kitchen's custom-made cabinetry is painted in Tanner's Brown, and the walls are in Cream, both by Farrow & Ball. The countertops are butcher block, the sink fittings are by Waterworks and the Wedgewood stove is antique.
Magdalena Björnsdotter and Erik Björklund covered their century-old farmhouse in rural Sweden in bright white paint. The black-and-white kitchen includes a flea-market table, industrial-style chairs and a metal-and-driftwood pendant light by Olsson & Jensen.
In a New York apartment, Bertoia side chairs surround a Saarinen table in the kitchen; the Akari light sculpture is by Isamu Noguchi, the candlesticks are by Ted Muehling, the cabinetry is custom-made and the Tara sink fittings are by Dornbracht.
Inside the home of Mark Badgley and James Mischka, bookshelves are placed up to the ceiling to make room for their many cookbooks.
Jeweler Alexis Bittar's kitchen in his Brooklyn Heights home gives off retro vibes, thanks to its checkerboard tile work. The various patterns used add depth to the space.
Model Anne Bannert made the mahogany top for this kitchen's 1950 wood-fired barbecue grill. The copper hood is from the same decade, and the steel chair was found at the local dump.
This kitchen in a Manhattan apartment doesn't hold back in the color department, and it pays off. The cabinets, walls and table are painted in Benjamin Moore's Courtyard Green; the stove is by BlueStar, and the floor is laser-cut linoleum.