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-size of cooking areas look and feel grand.
“Always extend your cabinets to the ceiling no matter the size of your kitchen,” advises Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, a partner at Nate Berkus Associates. “It will make your ceilings feel higher and your kitchen bigger.” She recently incorporated this spatial trick into a Manhattan apartment with a tiny kitchen. If sky-high cupboards aren’t possible (we hear you renters), Buxbaum Gordon recommends thinking small: “Invest in details that will add up visually and feel impactful. Whether beveling or adding a brass band to the face of the countertop or bringing in vintage hardware…use these little details to make your personal imprint.”
Swapping a dreary paint shade for a light-and-bright one on your cupboards can go a long way too, in addition to a bevy of other tips and tricks. So we’ve rounded up 81 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!