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Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens

by | May 12, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, Kitchens, Pantries, small houses

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Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens

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!

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens
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!

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly KitchensBHG

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!

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly KitchensHouse & 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.

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly KitchensBHG

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.

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens

Inspiring Ideas for Small & Budget-Friendly Kitchens


  1. Cathy

    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.

  2. Christine

    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.

  3. Sallie

    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. Linda Stoll

    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.


  5. sandyc

    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.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks! I’m happy to share ideas like this :) and I’m so glad you are finding inspiration here and in the book, too! XO

  6. Bella Vici

    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!!!

  7. Celeste Saenz

    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!!

  8. Chloe


    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!


  9. Marianne

    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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