Hi, I'm Shirley

Welcome to my blog on apartment living.  You can also visit my food blog where I share Recipes, stuff on Food Talk and Cooks' Resource. 

Tiny Kitchen Ideas - Apartment Style

Tiny Kitchen Ideas - Apartment Style

My #1 pet peeve about any kitchen is clutter:  everything stored in the open, even notes on refrigerator doors.  Sorry if I've offended anyone.  It's just plain clutter.  That being said, I know it isn't always possible or efficient in a tiny kitchen to store everything out of site.  Still, it can be done attractively.  And I illustrate how here.  


What makes this tiny kitchen work:  

  • Colors and finishes are reiterated throughout the decor
  • Classic soft blue and white color scheme.  It's then grounded with a two-tone brown flooring. Most importantly, the square pattern is large and laid in a diamond shape, making the floor space "feel" larger than it really is.  
  • Same style pots and pans stored on an attractive storage rack.
  • Appliances stored on the counter tops are stainless steel and repeat the finish of the pots and pans on the wall.  
  • Other kitchen storage items, such as the glass containers and the white ceramic utensil holder, on the counter tops also reiterate colors and finishes found in the larger items: white cabinets, white and stainless steel stools, white heat register. 



One commenter gave this very helpful suggestion for her tiny apartment kitchen:

I have a tiny kitchen and (actually) a tiny apartment in general. One really helpful tip is to utilize all the space upward by building cabinets all the way to the cieling. Also, we have a “3 use” rule, everything in our kitchen must have at least three uses. That’s more of a pragmatic thing for preventing clutter, but it helps in keeping the space available for things that are useful, rather than many decorative items that take up space but don’t have any function. It helps the space look more open and less cluttered.
— Erin on Bell Maison23 post

What makes this tiny Kitchen work:


  • And of course wonderful windows and a skylight window to die for!
  • Notice how items are grouped in threes and widely spaced apart, leaving visual space where the eye can rest.
  • Again, color plays a key role. The accenting green is repeated in the ceiling chandelier, cabinet boards, fruits and plants.
  •  The  wall rack gives storage space to stainless steel items, all of which reflect light.

What Makes This Tiny Kitchen Work:  


  • White cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling.
  • White tile back splash that reflects light.  Light is also reflected from the white cabinets.
  • Wall mounted table top with a leaf that drops down when not in use.  Notice too how it still offers  storage space with piece that is attached to the wall.
  • The floral wall paper gives a lovely, soft decorative touch.
  • Wood flooring grounds the tiny space and is also complimented by the wood drop-down leaf table and counter tops.
  • Notice too how items are stored in the open cabinet. On the two lower shelves, like items are grouped together with space between the groups.                          

What Makes This Tiny Kitchen Work:

Design sponge for kiera kushian, interior designer

Design sponge for kiera kushian, interior designer

  • Light reflecting white cabinets taken all the way up to the ceiling.
  • Reflective white tile back splash.
  • There again is a window giving wonderful natural light.
  • Storage items on counter top are similar in color, shape and size.
  • Can't believe I'm saying this, but I love that the drying cloth is attractively stored on the wall--and high up.  (I have a 59 pound dog that likes to walk through the kitchen, no matter how annoyed I get.  So my drying cloth always ends up on the counter top.  Excuse me a second here, I have to go look for a wall space to put a fun hook--after I buy a fun hook.) 

Summing It All Up . . . and then some

By now you're probably thinking, "Shirley, get real! My tiny kitchen in my tiny apartment has a few cabinets and one wipe with a sponge cleans the one counter space!"

Okay, I hear you.  But we can do more than just drool over other peoples dream kitchens with lots of tall cabinets, counter space,  islands, and windows.  OMG, a window!  How divine.  Believe it or not, most apartments I've lived in had kitchens that didn't have a window.  And that's true for the apartment I currently live in.


So what do we do? See these boring honey oak cabinets to the right?  I found it on The Kitchn.com where it was suggested to paint the walls a darker color.  It works.  I once lived in an apartment similar to this.  I painted two walls a dark chocolate brown.  I got the landlord to agree allowing me to replace the fridge with a chocolate brown side-by-side freezer-refrigerator.  It was stunning!  


Here's a list of other small kitchen decorating and storage ideas that can be done:

  • Remember that "3 use rule" above before you continue to buy kitchen tools and appliances.
  • Buy what you need to do the kind of cooking you like to do.
  • Reduce clutter as much as possible.  But if you must store items in the open, group them in threes and leave some counter space; try to display items that are similar in color and shape; and display items that have light reflective quality, such as glass and glazed ceramics.
  • Install under counter lighting.  String light is easy to add and you can take it with you.  It offers an almost intimate ambiance as well as more light. They're easily found on the internet or you can visit stores such as Home Depot.
  • Have an ugly counter top or one that is marred.  Cover it with a large, attractive chopping block.
  • Add a high gloss paint on the back splash area under cabinets and behind the range if you don't already have it. 
  • If you can't change the flooring, look for a rug runner, especially one that has a large geometric design.  It will give the "feeling" of a roomier kitchen space.
  • If you at all have or are willing to spare a large wall space, decor it with a fabulously fun poster.  You could even use the colors from the poster as your kitchen color scheme.
  • Store a collection of items (but grouped) on cabinet tops.  I have a collection of beautiful clear glass candle holder and vases that just sparkle with pride (or at least my pride).
  • If allowed, add narrow storage shelves to a kitchen galley wall  but neatly and attractively mounted.  Use the same or similar storage containers.
  • Make room for at least one plant.  Even a potho plant will tolerate low light.  One of its benefits is that it helps to clean the air of some pollutants.
  • If you don't have a window, find a spot for a mirror.

Most of all, have fun making your tiny kitchen one of the best places to be in your apartment.  A glass of wine, lovely music, preparing a great meal simply tops the end of the day.  Add a significant other or just your pet and you've got a glimpse of heaven!

I'll be sharing photos of my kitchen later.  In the meantime,
you can share yours.  Let's talk about it.


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Apartment Living:  Shedding My Kitchen Snobbery

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