11 Smart Space-Saving Hacks For Small Kitchens
Every kitchen is a blank canvas for a great design, no matter how big or small. Just because your space might be limited, it doesn’t follow that your ambitions have to be. Thinking big and getting creative means you can make a functional and beautiful kitchen in any home.
There are lots of ways you can make the most of the space in your small kitchen. Here, I’ve listed 11 smart space-saving hacks for small kitchens.
They can all be used in any kitchen big or small if you want some additional storage or clever ideas to upgrade your kitchen life.
1. Create More Countertop Space
We all know that countertop space for food prep can come at a premium, especially in small kitchens. You need to fit your cooktop, sink, and countertop appliances, while at the same time leaving room to chop, wash up, and generally use your kitchen. It can sometimes feel like playing real-life Tetris, but it doesn’t have to be that challenging.
There are a few things you could consider when designing a kitchen to maximize the clear countertop space available to you.
- Put your microwave or combi-oven in a cabinet. This removes the appliances from your countertop, which can take up valuable prep space, by moving them up and out of the way.
- Get a boiling water tap. Having a boiling water tap will eliminate the need for a kettle – yet another thing clogging up your workspace.
- Consider an induction hob. Induction hobs not only look great but they are just as fast and controllable these days as gas. The big benefit here is that they are slim and flat to your countertop, meaning they can double up as an additional workspace.
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2. Top Boxes
Top boxes are extra wall cabinets (usually slightly squatter) that you place on top of your existing cabinets to give you more storage. If you’ve got some extra ceiling height in your kitchen, top boxes are a brilliant way to maximize that extra height.
Top boxes can be installed in a new kitchen redesign or added to an existing kitchen to add extra storage space.
Top boxes are great for a bit of extra storage. They might not be ideal for everyday items, as it will be that little bit more difficult to access, but they are great for waffle makers, Christmas decorations, and other things you rarely use.
You might want to consider investing in this little step stool from Amazon so you can reach the items you’ve stored high up out of the way.
If you’re starting afresh, you can also consider getting extra tall wall cabinets, either through selecting this option or opting for a bespoke model. Just ask your kitchen designer or supplier about your options.
3. Internal Drawers
Drawers in drawers!
Kitchens are often built with deep drawers that offer space for your biggest pans. These can leave a lot of empty space between the pan and the drawer above, however – and space, as we know, is at a premium. This space can be utilized by installing internal drawers.
The internal drawer sits in that dead zone between and can be accessed once the main drawer is open. It’s tucked away hidden inside and is perfect for placing lids of slimmer items, trays and other skinnier bits of kitchen paraphernalia.
4. Storage Solutions
Kitchen storage solutions or pull out wirework can be fantastic ways to make the most out of awkward cupboards. They transform a standard cabinet into a far more practical and accessible cupboard.
There’s a whole host of different storage solutions out there. Here are some of my favourite storage solutions that would fit perfectly into a small kitchen.
Corner Storage Solutions
If you’ve ever had one of those corner cabinets that are basically dead space and you don’t know what’s back there, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
These corner storage systems fix that by utilising every last inch through a clever pull out system. A must-have for small kitchens with tight corners!
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Pull Out Larders
I say it all the time, drawers are more useful than doors!
Having a cupboard that pulls out towards you so you can see and access everything inside is far more useful than getting down on your knees and rummaging through the back of a cabinet to try and see what you have at the back that you’ve forgotten about for the last five years.
Including a pull-out larder into your kitchen is a great way to optimize a small space.
Available in a variety of widths and heights you can always find one that will fit the space you have available. They are especially useful with narrower cabinets.
Pull Down Storage Rack
This pull-down storage rack is a great addition for those cupboards that are a little bit too high to reach. They are also very helpful for the shorter chefs among us.
They make the best use of your taller wall cabinets by providing additional, reachable storage.
5. Door Racks
Fixing racks to the inside of certain cabinet doors can be a great way to double up on space. You can also attach racks to the back of your main kitchen door to maximize the storage in a small kitchen.
This is those over-the-door shoe racks from infomercials, but for kitchen supplies. Check out a great cost-effective door rack here on Amazon.
6. Slim Dishwasher
Having a dishwasher in your kitchen these days is becoming an absolute must. No one likes doing the dishes, especially if you entertain. While you may want to maximise your dishwashing potential, consider if you really need this.
If you would prefer to have more cabinet space, you can get a slim dishwasher. This means you don’t have to take up as much space in your small kitchen with the appliance but you can still put that sponge and soap down.
Having a slim dishwasher could be a great compromise if you are struggling to fit everything in.
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7. Plinth Drawers
The majority of standard kitchens come with a plinth between the floor and the bottom of the cabinet. This is sometimes called a skirting or kickboard. These can vary in height between 8 and 15cm.
There’s nothing in that space underneath except the legs that the cabinets stand on.
Plinth drawers can optimize this wasted space and create a slim drawer that sits in this area between the legs.
8. Wine Glass Hanging Racks
Wine glass hanging racks can double up on space and utilize that dead zone in your wall cabinets. You place your normal, shorter glasses on the shelf and hang your wine glasses upside down above them. This means you are completely filling the space you have.
Alternatively, you can hang them under the wall cabinets themselves and make the most of that space between the countertop and underside of the wall cabinets. Either way, this is a great space-saving hack for small kitchens.
9. Pull Out Countertop
If you feel like you don’t have enough work surfaces in your kitchen for food prep, then a pull out worktop/countertop could be the answer. These only take up the space of a top drawer but pull out to give you that extra bit of countertop when you need it.
It also means that this countertop is slightly lower than your standard height, making it perfect and a little more comfortable to work at if you’re on the shorter side. This is especially true if you have a bread baker in your family – these worktops are often ‘kneaded’ (sorry!).
10. Washer/Dryer Stacking Kit
It’s always best if you can have your washer and dryer in a separate laundry room, but not everyone has the luxury of such a space. This is especially true in city apartments and smaller homes.
Ideally, you would save space through a combined washer/dryer. If you have two separate appliances, however, then using a stacking kit is a great way to save on space.
Simply put your dryer on top of your washing machine using a stacking kit. Some even come with a pull out shelf or hanging rail, perfect for folding laundry and making the most of small kitchens.
Top tip: Make sure you check that the stacking kit you purchase will fit the machines that you have. Some are brand specific.
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Integrated vs Freestanding Washing Machines – Pros and Cons
11. Built-In Ironing Board
If you love to have things hidden away but don’t have space for a tall broom cupboard, consider this built-in ironing board. It fits neatly into a top drawer of a cabinet and folds out when you need it.
Again, this is perfect if you are a little short on storage space. It is also just a clever gadget to have fitted into your kitchen.
Having a small kitchen doesn’t mean having to lower your expectations. By getting creative, thinking outside of the box, and investing a little time and energy, you can really maximise the space you have.
Lots of these space-saving hacks for small kitchens even have added benefits, like lowering the countertop to make it more accessible. Celebrate the space you have and enjoy these space-saving solutions!
If you are about to undergo a new kitchen renovation then check out my post on a temporary kitchen set up. This will (hopefully) make the process a lot smoother!
If you’re just starting out on your new kitchen journey and are in the early planning stages, then why not read my top tips from a kitchen designer?
- What Is A Full Surface Induction Hob? (And Should You Get One?)
- Can You Put An Induction Hob In A Stainless Steel Countertop?
- Warm Minimalist Kitchen Design – How To Get The Look
Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.