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How to Make a Little Kitchen Work Well and Look Great

Got a little kitchen on your hands and feel like the room is closing in on you? Today’s post is coming to the rescue to give you some food for thought on how to better use the space.

Not only does this post aim to get you thinking about the function in the room, but hopefully it’ll also give you some design and decor inspo too.

The little kitchen you see in this post was transformed by the team at IKEA as part of their square space challenge. It’s a series on how to make the most of a teeny space, and I reckon they’ve done wonders in this eat-in kitchen.

So let’s get started on how to better use your little kitchen.


1. Choose versatile, fold-down furniture

A little kitchen – especially in a small apartment – is likely to be an eat-in one. With that in mind, you need to opt for furniture that can fold down, like the table above.

It’s also wise to select chairs you can fold up and either hang on the wall, or slide them in beside a fridge if space permits.

If you’re renting and you don’t want to fix something to the wall, opt for a small round table with stools that can slide under it.

Avoid bulky chairs if you can and veer toward furniture pieces your eyes can glide across. A white table will help bounce light across the room and looks less intrusive.

2. Use every inch of the room

A little kitchen is probably going to be tight on floor and bench space, so you need to look to other pockets of the room and figure out ways you can best utilise them.

The photo above is a great example of using a windowsill that might otherwise be forgotten about. It’s a great little herb garden spot, don’t you think?

Also think about putting hooks on walls (removable, 3M hooks are your friend) to hang tea towels and other essentials on, as opposed to squashing them into drawers.

Sidenote: I’m in love with these tea towels – just in case you want a look.


3. Go up… right up!

A small kitchen is likely to be short on storage. And even the most basic cooks among us (guilty!), still have a decent amount of food, tableware, cookware and appliances to store.

To avoid having everything on display, install cupboards as high to the ceiling as you can. A cute step ladder you can fold away is a great idea to reach the appliances and other bibs n’ bobs when you need them.

If you’re renting a home that has a little kitchen and you can’t install a thing, consider some sleek, designer storage boxes and store your kitchen essentials in them on the tops of cupboards. Nobody wants to see your sandwich press on top of your fridge with cheese leaking out on all sides (this may or may not be a story taken from my own home). So conceal away!


4. Organise your cupboards

You don’t need to be Oprah’s personal organisation expert to get your cupboards in order. But you do need to really make the most of the space in there. So it’s time to give all of your cupboards a good declutter. If you need declutter help, this post has you covered.

So many cupboards are made high but with no shelving in them, so space is wasted that could be better utilised. To correct this, consider buying some of your own portable shelves (like the ones above from IKEA), that will maximise the small space you have to work with.

I have these portable shelves in my own cupboards at home and they are so useful. You’ll fit so much more into the cupboards of your small kitchen by using these – and that means less unattractive items on display.

If you want bonus tips on small kitchen storage, this post will help.


5. Display (some of) the everyday

Some everyday items you don’t want on display (nobody wants to see what flavour Metamucil you’re on), but there are other items like crockery, glassware and entertainer pieces that you can showcase wonderfully for the world to see.

A little kitchen is the best place to install shelves, especially if you can mount ones in a similar colourway to the walls behind them (so they blend right in).

IKEA not only has shelves but some very trending tableware sets, so hide all of your pantry goods and old pots in the cupboards and proudly put out your stunning new mugs and jugs.

Do you have a little kitchen? What are some of the ways you made the most of the space you have? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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