Tips for Maximizing Space in Small Kitchens



Diving into the world of small kitchen design, especially in a city like Pittsburgh, brings its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. Pittsburgh, with its rich history, diverse neighborhoods, and distinctive architecture, offers a variety of small kitchen spaces, each with its own character. Whether you’re nestled in a cozy row house in Lawrenceville or residing in a trendy loft downtown, the goal is the same: to make your small kitchen not just functional but a reflection of your style and needs.

Transforming a small kitchen in Pittsburgh or anywhere else isn’t about compromising—it’s about optimizing. It’s about turning those snug corners into clever storage solutions, brightening up the space with the right lighting, and making smart choices that enhance both the look and usability of your kitchen. This guide is designed to help you navigate the process of maximizing your kitchen space, providing practical tips and ideas that cater to the compact urban living prevalent in Pittsburgh. 

So, let’s embark on this journey to unlock the potential of your small kitchen, making it a space where functionality meets style and every square inch works for you.

1. Optimize Your Cabinet Layout

When it comes to small kitchens, every inch counts, especially with your cabinets. In places like Pittsburgh, where unique homes with varied kitchen sizes are common, finding the right cabinetry solution can make a world of difference. 

In Pittsburgh kitchen cabinets from Legacy Remodeling are not just about storage; they’re a key element in defining the character and functionality of your home. Their cabinets are designed to optimize space, enhance your kitchen’s aesthetics, and reflect the city’s unique blend of old-world charm and modern innovation. 

2. Utilize Vertical Space

Don’t just focus on the floor space; your walls and vertical areas offer valuable real estate for storage and decoration. Install open shelving or hanging racks to store dishes, spices, or cooking utensils. This not only saves counter space but also keeps essentials within easy reach. Consider using wall-mounted magnetic strips for knives or hanging pots and pans to free up cabinet space. By thinking upwards, you can declutter the counters and create a more spacious feel in your kitchen.

3. Choose Space-Saving Appliances

In a small kitchen, opting for compact appliances can make a significant impact. Look for slim refrigerators, smaller dishwashers, or even a two-burner stove. These appliances are designed to offer the same functionality without taking up too much room. Additionally, consider multi-functional appliances, like a microwave that doubles as a convection oven. By selecting appliances that fit your space and meet your needs, you’ll streamline your kitchen’s layout and enhance its functionality.

4. Implement Pull-Out Counters or Tables

A pull-out counter or table can be a game-changer in a small kitchen. Use it as extra prep space when cooking or as a dining table when needed, then simply slide it away. This flexibility allows you to adapt your kitchen to various situations, whether you’re preparing a large meal or need a spot for morning coffee. These versatile solutions provide the additional counter space you need without permanently occupying valuable kitchen real estate.

5. Opt for Reflective Surfaces and Light Colors

Light colors and reflective surfaces can make a small kitchen feel larger and more open. Consider white or light-colored cabinets, backsplashes, and countertops to enhance the sense of space. Glossy finishes or materials like glass can reflect light, contributing to a brighter, more airy environment. Even small changes, like replacing solid cabinet doors with glass-fronted ones or using a mirrored backsplash, can visually expand your kitchen’s dimensions.

6. Get Smart with Storage Solutions

Innovative storage solutions are your best friend in a small kitchen. Think beyond traditional cabinets and drawers. Invest in under-shelf baskets, spice racks that hang on the inside of cabinet doors, or stackable shelves to double your storage space in cabinets. Utilize every inch by incorporating a toe-kick drawer at the bottom of your cabinets. These smart storage solutions help you organize your kitchen items more efficiently, making it easier to find what you need and keeping clutter out of sight.

7. Embrace Minimalism

A minimalist approach can do wonders for a small kitchen. Keep your countertops as clear as possible. This not only creates a sense of more space but also makes your kitchen more functional. Adopt a “less is more” philosophy. Be selective about what you keep on display and store away everything else. A minimalist kitchen isn’t just about having fewer things; it’s about having the right things that serve your needs effectively, contributing to a more spacious and serene environment.

8. Integrate Multipurpose Elements

When space is at a premium, every element in your kitchen should serve multiple purposes, if possible. Consider a sink cover that doubles as a chopping board or a dining table that can also be used as a prep area. Look for furniture and fixtures that can work double duty. A kitchen island, for example, can provide additional counter space, serve as a dining area, and offer extra storage underneath. By choosing multipurpose elements, you maximize the utility of every square inch in your kitchen.

9. Enhance with Proper Lighting

Good lighting can transform the feel of a small kitchen, making it appear larger and more welcoming. Combine different types of lighting to create a well-lit and inviting space. Under-cabinet lights illuminate countertops for cooking, pendant lights can add style and focus to the room, and recessed lighting can brighten up the entire space. Strategic lighting not only makes your kitchen more functional but also highlights the design and decor, enhancing the overall ambiance.

10. Keep Decor Simple and Functional

When it comes to decorating a small kitchen, simplicity, and functionality should guide your choices. Use decorative elements that are also practical, like a stylish fruit bowl or a set of attractive and functional canisters for storing dry goods. Choose a color scheme that complements your cabinetry and countertops, creating a cohesive look. Simple, clean lines and a unified decor theme can make the space feel more organized and open.


Maximizing space in a small kitchen is all about being smart with your choices and creative with your solutions. By optimizing cabinet layouts with options like Pittsburgh kitchen cabinets, making strategic use of vertical space, selecting the right appliances, and incorporating clever storage solutions, you can create a kitchen that’s as functional as it is stylish. Embracing minimalism, integrating multipurpose elements, and enhancing the space with proper lighting and simple decor can all contribute to a more spacious feeling kitchen.

Remember, a small kitchen doesn’t have to mean a cramped or cluttered space. With the right approach and thoughtful design choices, you can transform your compact kitchen into a comfortable, efficient, and enjoyable space. Whether you’re cooking a simple meal for one or hosting a cozy gathering, your small kitchen can meet your needs with style and ease.

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