small kitchen renovation with white cabinets, open shelving, and large windows

Small Kitchen Renovation: 25 Ways to Transform Your Home & Love Your Kitchen

A small kitchen can be challenging to cook in and enjoy, but you can transform your kitchen from cluttered and cramped to convenient and classy. These 25 small kitchen renovation ideas will help you find the best design, lighting, and storage solutions to make your small kitchen a space you love.

25 Small Kitchen Renovation Ideas

With the right strategy, a small kitchen renovation can transform your home and make your kitchen roomier, brighter, and more functional. Here are our best ideas and tips for your small kitchen reno.

Small Kitchen Design Ideas

Take a “less is more” approach to your small kitchen design. Make the best use of your small space by considering workflow and maximizing functionality. 

1. Incorporate the work triangle

The work triangle—a standard concept in kitchen design—is like an imaginary line between the sink, cooktop, fridge, and back to the sink. Its purpose is to minimize movement and maximize convenience. Learn more in How to Use the Work Triangle & Zones for the Perfect Kitchen Layout.

diagram of kitchen work triangle between sink, stove, and fridge

2. Select colours & materials strategically

For a small kitchen reno, brighter is better. Select white shades for materials throughout your kitchen to reflect light and create the illusion of a larger space. Or stick with lighter hues like light yellows or pale grays to create an airy feel. 

Streamline silhouettes in your kitchen by using smooth, clean lines, and choosing similar colours on your cabinets, backsplash, countertop, and walls to produce a seamless, open look. Skip bulky drawer pulls and faucets by choosing sleek styles.

If your kitchen and dining areas are part of an open concept with your living room, make the kitchen blend into the living room. If it looks completely separate, the smallness stands out. 

3. Use horizontal lines & patterns

Horizontal lines and patterns make a kitchen look wider. Employ this technique with your backsplash tile or flooring.

Not all patterns will serve your aim to make your small kitchen look and feel bigger, but oversized diamonds or chevrons are a couple of examples that work well in small spaces. This technique works best with low-contrast colours.

small grey kitchen with chevron backsplash
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4. Create a cohesive look

Avoid a busy, cluttered, or cramped look by creating symmetry and seamlessness wherever possible. One popular way of doing this is with a waterfall island countertop. Or extend your countertops up the wall as your backsplash.

Integrate panel doors to hide your small space. Slide them closed to make your small kitchen disappear, or use them to minimize the visual disruption of appliances.

5. Switch to glass cabinet door fronts

Replace solid cabinet door fronts with glass to create depth and draw the eye past the cabinet frames. This works best if you keep your cabinet contents orderly and colour-coordinated with your kitchen.

Another option is to remove the cabinet doors altogether and stick with open or floating shelves.

small white kitchen with glass doors on cupboard filled with glassware and decorative baskets
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6. Direct eyes up

Vertical lines add height. Draw the eyes up by installing cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. This provides the added benefit of extra storage space. 

7. Choose bar stools carefully

If your bar stools are too tall, they take up too much visual real estate. Keep them level with or below the countertop, and choose a colour that blends in with the cabinetry. 

8. Add statement lighting

Add statement light fixtures to draw the eye up and add visual interest without taking up space. 

small kitchen renovation with navy cabinets and brass statement light fixture
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The Best Lighting for a Small Kitchen

Light makes all the difference in any room, but especially in a small kitchen. Proper light is crucial for creating a space that’s inviting and that feels spacious.

9. Reflective or high-gloss surfaces

Reflective or high-gloss surfaces create a sense of natural light and make the space feel large. Use this mirror effect on various surfaces, including your backsplash, cabinets, and countertop.

10. Windows 

Windows open up any room, so install as many as possible in your kitchen. A skylight can give you the open feel of a window without taking up valuable wall space. 

11. Recessed lighting

Recessed lighting (hidden underneath upper cabinets) is another way to brighten up your small kitchen without taking up any space at all. 

white kitchen with recessed lighting
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Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen

These practical small kitchen design ideas maximize every square inch of your limited space.

12. Consider shallow cabinets

Install custom cabinets with a shallower depth than the standard to create more floor space. Cutting a few inches from the depth of your cabinets can make a huge difference in a tight kitchen.

13. Don’t use a double sink

A single sink or a one-and-a-half sink (with a slim second bowl) takes up less space, allowing you to expand your countertop.

14. Opt for compact or paneled appliances

Consider apartment- or condo-sized appliances, which are typically six inches narrower than the standard sizes. Or opt for paneled appliances so they blend in with your cabinets to create that desirable seamless look.

dark blue kitchen with matching panel fridge doors
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15. Use wall space

Conserve valuable floor space by installing recessed shelves into the wall space between studs. Incorporate hooks or floating shelves into your small kitchen design. And take advantage of the whole wall by installing ceiling-high cabinets for additional storage space.

16. Make use of the awkward corner

The corner space where two banks of kitchen cabinets meet is called a “blind corner”. It’s deep, dark, and inaccessible. Try one of these 10 Practical Design Ideas for the Awkward Kitchen Corner to help you increase the functionality of this space. 

Countertop Ideas for a Small Kitchen

A common complaint about small kitchens is inadequate countertop space. Solve that problem with one of these solutions.

17. Add an island

Design a small island or a wrap-around countertop for multi-purpose use, such as eating,  working, and preparing meals. Lower your raised eating bar to a height that’s even with the rest of your countertops to increase work space.

18. Use a peninsula

An angled peninsula can add more space than a typical right-angled design.

small kitchen with quartz countertop island and three bar stools
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19. Try portable countertop options

Use a bar cart and/or a rolling cart with a butcher block top for food prep. Tuck it out of the way when it’s not in use.

Expand Your Small Kitchen

Though more involved, these small kitchen renovations can actually increase the space you’re able to use for kitchen duties and meal times.

20. Add patio doors

Add French doors leading to a small porch to hold a barbecue and/or a small bistro set to expand your kitchen.

21. Take out a wall

Taking out a wall might seem like an extreme measure, but even a half-wall can open up your kitchen and create a spot for an eating bar or a convenient peninsula.

Small Kitchen Storage & Organization Solutions

A key to maximizing space in a small kitchen is to eliminate clutter, which shrinks any room. The trick is to get creative with storage solutions so you actually have a place to put everything. In addition to the ideas here, see check out these additional 15 Easy Ways to Conquer Kitchen Clutter

22. Creative shelving

Install a shelf across a window to store glass dishes, decorative items, or plants. Add an extra shelf above your stove to store seasonings. Consider open shelves for a trendy, airy feel.

23. Multi-purpose seating

A bench seat can double as extra storage for things like linens or bulk food. 

24. Pull-out shelving

Pull-out shelving is especially efficient because it allows you to take full advantage of the space without the inconvenience of having to reach into the dark depths of the cupboard. 

25. Appliance garage

Install an appliance garage to clear countertop clutter and tuck away your toaster, blender, or stand mixer with ease. Make this feature even better by using a spring-loaded shelf so you can easily access your small appliances.

Need More Ideas for Your Small Kitchen Renovations in Calgary?

Are you planning a small kitchen renovation in Calgary? The experts at Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations have more ideas to help you transform your small kitchen into a functional and enjoyable space. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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