Big Ideas for Small Kitchens

“I need more space” is something Vestabul designers hear often from their clients. The thing is, it is not always possible to physically increase the size of a kitchen but there are great solutions to make small kitchens more functional.

Here are Vestabul’s Top 10 Big Ideas for Small Kitchens

1. Take your cabinets to the ceiling.

Most cabinet manufactures offer taller upper cabinets that can go up to the ceiling. We suggest you break up these tall cabinets in a small kitchen so that the upper cabinets do not overwhelm the space. In the first example solid doors were broken up by a set of cubbies under the center unit. In the second example full height doors were constructed with a glass panel at the top and in the third example glass door cabinets were stacked on top of solid door cabinets. Including puck lights inside the upper glass cabinets is a great way to add even more lightness to cabinets to the ceiling.

2. Add extra shelves in your upper cabinets.

Upper cabinets typically come with 2 adjustable shelves. To maximize your storage order an extra shelf for all of your upper cabinets. This Vestabul kitchen designer did just that. The homeowner then adjusted the shelves to fit the supplies. As you can see it works with double door cabinets, single door cabinets and corner cabinets.


3. Optimize your corner storage.

Making your corners as functional as possible is paramount in a small kitchen. Two of our favorite ways to maximize the storage in the corner is to install a “magic” corner accessory for blind corners or custom corner drawers. The “magic” corner accessory brings items from the back of the cabinet to the front of the cabinet. It also stores larger items than a standard lazy susan so it can be a great place for pots & pans or mixing bowls. The corner drawer system may be the only way for some homeowners to get pullout drawers in their small kitchen so they are well worth including. They come in a variety of configurations of deep and shallow drawers.


4. Include a pantry.

Even the smallest kitchen can accommodate some type of pantry storage. All you need to do is rethink the traditional 24″ deep double door unit. Often the simplest solution is to specify a 12″ deep pantry. This type of unit can be placed on a small piece of wall or at the end of a cabinet run. Another favorite solution of Vestabul designers is the narrow pullout pantry. They are available as 15″ 12″, 9″ and even 6″ wide systems.


5. Take advantage of the space under your cabinets.

The kick or plinth area of base cabinetry is an often overlooked storage opportunity. In a small kitchen this is the perfect place for occasionally used items or even the pet food bowls. By including them in your plans you may be able to double your drawer capacity.


6. Accessorize your drawers with double duty inserts.

Drawers are not always abundant in a small kitchen, so doubling their capacity with a two tier insert is a great small space solution. Double cutlery inserts are available in wood and plastic to coordinate with your drawer interiors.


7. Install storage niches between the studs in your backsplash.

Hiding behind your walls is a unique storage solution. It takes a bit of planning but the space between your studs can give you 3″ to 4″ of storage. This is the perfect depth for small condiment bottles and spices. Tile the area to coordinate or accent your tile backsplash design for easy clean-up.


8. Specify backsplash storage accessories.

Installing a metal rail in your backsplash will allow a variety of storage accessories to be hung on it. Manufactures produce everything from spice racks, knife blocks, storage baskets, utensil holders and hot plates as accessories. The 18″ of height typically in your backsplash will accommodate the rail and most accessories. Including one over your cooktop is another good location since there tends to be some additional height in this area.


9. Include a pullout counter for additional work space.

Counter space or lack there of is always an issue in a small kitchen. To combat that consider installing a pullout counter. In the first example the counter was placed at the 30″ height to facilitate rolling out dough and cooking tasks involving mixing. In the second example the pullout counter was fitted with a custom wire rack for cooling items coming out of the oven. It can also be removed for additional work space. There are many places that you can include a pullout counter in a small kitchen to maximize counter space.


10. Choose appliances proportionate to your kitchens size.

By taking advantage of European inspired design you can now specify appliances that are smaller and better suited to small kitchens. There are many options available in and two favorites of Vestabul designers are 18″ wide dishwashers and refrigerator drawers. Both of these appliances get the job done in a fraction of the space of their full sized cousins. Their space saving size can  help you include additional storage in your small kitchen plan.


Small kitchen design is becoming prevalent in more and more homes today. Be it a small downtown condo, a weekend home or a custom built tiny-house, you can maximize your storage capacity with a little planning. Vestabul is here to help you incorporate ideas like these or solutions customized for your needs. We would love to hear from you!







2 thoughts on “Big Ideas for Small Kitchens

  1. Darnella Armitage

    I found the small functional kitchen ideas most interesting. We will be down sizing in a couple of years, will keep these ideas in mind……especially the shelving in upper cabinets, the magic shelf and the 9 inch pantry. I have had a pull out counter before, a great extra work area even in a large kitchen. In my kitchen now I have the double duty inserts….every kitchen should have them. Thank you again Vestabul for keeping us up to date on what is available. A Vestabul designer did the kitchen in our present home. The kitchen was one of the important features in making our decision to buy.

    1. Designer @ VestabulDesigner @ Vestabul Post author

      Thanks for the comment!
      Small space design solutions are very important for downsizing and we will keep exploring them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *