Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens

Kitchen Design with Wall Sconces - Photo by Michael Graydon - Design by Mandy Milks and Mazen El-Abdallah

House and Home / Photo by Michael Graydon – Design by Mandy Milks & Mazen El-Abdallah

I love kitchens. But I adore smallish kitchens. I think they can be so homey and comforting! Yes, sometimes small kitchens are frustrating to work in. I’ll admit trying to find enough counter space can be tricky in a small space, let alone having places for everything else! But in spite of their challenges, I think small kitchens can be super charming. Best of all, they can be updated on more reasonable budgets, too!

Today I’ve rounded up a few pretty ideas that inspired me with ways to make the most of a small kitchen. Enjoy!

Small Cottage Kitchen BHG Pretty Handy Girl
Pretty Handy Girl via BHG

Play up the details.

Give your kitchen a mini-sized facelift. Small and average sized kitchens have elements that can be beautifully updated on a budget with DIY projects, an affordable mix of lighting and materials and colors that inspire you. Play up the details with more charm and character!

budget friendly kitchen ideas - the inspired room - bhgBHG

Enhance the personality with paint.

Remove a cabinet door and paint the back of the cabinet a cheery color as a fun backdrop for baking items or dishes. It doesn’t take much paint to make a statement in a small kitchen!

Small Kitchen - Patterned Rug house and home magHouse & Home
Photographer:Janet Kimber House & Home July 2014 Designer:Deb Nelson

Add warmth.

Small kitchens may not have a lot of opportunity or room to add warmth, pattern and color, but every kitchen likely has room for a rug! Even if it is just a small rug by the sink, a rug can add more softness, warmth and style.

Space Saving Kitchen Idea Corner shelves - BHGBHG

Tuck in useful and charming storage.

Every inch counts, so don’t settle for dark or cramped cabinets. Install corner shelves to make the most of your space. Remove some existing corner or wall cabinets in favor of open shelving to make your kitchen feel more spacious and open. Use your open shelving for small appliances, or practical and decorative canisters and baskets.

Ideas for Small and Budget Friendly Kitchens - The Inspired Room

Check out more of my small and budget-friendly kitchen ideas:

10 Clever Kitchen Space Savers

4 Budget-Friendly Tips for an Organized Kitchen

Essentials for an Organized Pantry

How to Make Your Own Coffee Station

6 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger


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  1. Thank you for the inspiration! I think small kitchens are great, too! You don’t have to walk far for things. They just need to be well organized and contain only the essentials.
    Cathy recently posted..Beginner House PlansMy Profile

  2. Beautiful roundup! I don’t know why, but I love seeing different kitchen styles and sizes. There is always tons of inspiration to be found and that is such a motivator for me.
    Christine recently posted..DIY Porch – Patio Update Adding that Ranch House StyleMy Profile

  3. Lovely kitchens! We just facelifted ours last year – new sink, countertops, faucet, backsplash, flooring, lighting, switchplate covers, and appliances. I also had the contractor remove some toekick facing so I could install drawers in those spaces, with drawer fronts I made from my late daddy’s wood collection. Then I installed pullout drawers in each of the lower cabinets to double our storage space. Also from Dad’s wood, I made utensil hangers, a magnetic knife rack, a bookcase, and a shelf over the laundry room door. It’s a small kitchen, and you’re right – when they’re set up well, they function beautifully. Now I see my sweet daddy everywhere I turn in our kitchen, and I LOVE my little kitchen! (And I LOVE your new book, Melissa! You have already literally changed my habits with the “order/disorder” question and the whole domino concept – I LOVE it!! Thank you so much for writing this book! I’m savoring it slowly, like a good cup of tea! God bless you!)

  4. Only have on the counters what you truly love! That’s what I’m learning in my smaller-than-before kitchen!

    Too much stuff in sight only makes the whole space looked cramped and tight.

    It’s amazing how little we really need … after a year, I continue to sort and toss.

    Linda Stoll recently posted..It’s Got Good Bones * Creating a Haven :: 2My Profile

  5. I love the idea of painting the insides of cabinet doors a cheery color. What a fun surprise!
    Kari recently posted..Wanderlust Wednesday: Sforza Castle in MilanMy Profile

  6. Another serendipitous post, Melissa. Just responded a couple of days ago to an Apartment Therapy post on Budget-Saving Secrets From Five Fantastic $5,000 Kitchen Facelifts – so often the implication seems to be that everyone dreams of and wants and won’t be happy until they can afford the $50,000 kitchen makeover. NOT! I’m in my forever small home in an HOA community, my kitchen is small and, no matter how much money I have to remodel, the basic footprint can’t be changed practically so what a waste of energy to only dream. In fact, one of the really neat $5,000 kitchens featured was redone for $45,000 and isn’t nearly as neat as it was originally. Much more fun and satisfying to read posts like yours one clever and budget-friendly tips that make me happy now. Of course, getting more work surface is a constant challenge and I relate quite well to one of the AT posters who referenced the $45,000 kitchen’s use of a fake bowl of limes on the enormous island – her comment: “my counter space area is so small, I can’t afford to display fake food.” I’m enjoying these pix as well as those in previous posts as well as referencing the inspiration open shelving replacement over the dishwasher in your previous kitchen. And, as always, the perfectly perfect quote that pops up when I randomly open your new book. Much fun.

  7. Its so great to see that others value the design of the smaller kitchen rather than the large scale kitchen. Designing for a smaller space can sometimes take a greater amount of design skills to make it work! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  8. Great ideas! I have a small kitchen, I was thinking to add a chalk board with some draws and quotes.
    The rug would definitely add style, is so easy. Thanks!!

  9. Hey,

    this article has come at a great time for me! I have just started re decorating my kitchen and I will be taking some tips from this article!


  10. Marianne says:

    There is a paint color In one of your kitchen photos. Is there anyway I can get the name of I send the picture!

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