Small Modern Kitchen Design Ideas

Learn from experts how to boost style and spaciousness with modern decor and a layout that includes sleek finishes, a monochromatic color palette and concealed storage.
Modern Gray Kitchen

Modern Gray Kitchen

A modern kitchen has been remodeled to include silver cabinet, a metal silver chandelier with interlocking silver rectangles, simple window treatment, and stainless appliances.

Small kitchen modern design ideas straddle the line between restraint and simplicity while still maintaining a welcoming air for your favorite room of the house.

Small Kitchens: 8 Design Ideas to Try

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Focus on Function

A small kitchen cannot accommodate homework, mail storage, laundry duties and recipe hunting. Unless you don't cook at all, the small kitchen's main chore is meal prep. So focus first on function, making sure you have the appliances and work areas you need. You may be able to save a bit of space by using scaled-down or innovative appliances, including refrigerator and freezer drawers and pint-sized microwaves, stoves (some with just two burners) and single sinks. If workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled into a closet when not in use.

Open Up Cupboards

Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when cabinets are towering overhead. Many cooks can't reach what's in them and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. Get organized and trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Your kitchen will look more spacious and serve up display space for your favorite dishes, shiny pots and pans, or artwork.

Mix Up the Materials

Because your kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it's up to you to add the all-important style via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. To ensure a cohesive look, create a mix board with samples and swatches of materials under consideration. One tip: Using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.

From: Ammie Kim

Go for Glass

One of the easiest ways to visually expand a kitchen is to incorporate glass. Try a glass counter or tabletop, tile, door cabinets or kitchen doors that lead to the outside world or to the next room. Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around a room, or pass-through windows into the next room, also lighten up the look.

Visually Expand With Lighting

A small kitchen requires a combination of task and atmospheric lighting. To counteract the bluish cast of fluorescent lighting and add drama, install pendant lights in the eating area, incandescent lighting underneath upper cabinets and incandescent spot lighting above cabinetry. Lighting can also be installed under base cabinetry so it shines down onto the toe plate.

Invest in Flooring

Where does the eye go when one walks into a room? Often it goes down — right to that dust bunny or scuffed floor. That's why flooring in a small kitchen is so important. Linoleum in a checkerboard pattern can be really eye-catching and relatively inexpensive. Since square footage is small, you may be able to afford a beautiful tumbled marble. Marble tends to be cold and hard underfoot, but the impact may be worth it. Or try cork, a beautiful — and eco-friendly — choice.

Go Bold With Color

The color of walls, appliances, counters, stools — even the dishtowels — can change the atmosphere and perceived size of the kitchen. Pastels or light colors, with good doses of white, reflect light and draw the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold colorations can be very effective in smaller kitchens. How about some Porsche red metal cabinets with celery green walls and a banana-colored concrete countertop?

Embrace the Space

Rather than using tricks to visually enlarge the space, consider embracing your kitchen as-is. Instead of going light or sleek, opt for country cozy. Make sure there is a little nook where you can sit with a visitor knee-to-knee. Or choose a rich dark color that creates a sophisticated feeling — and use accessories that emphasize that look. The kitchen is small, yes, but it sure is inviting.

The fuss-free modern design aesthetic makes an ideal match for any small kitchen by offering spare and efficient design details — from neutral palettes and streamlined furnishings to smart storage — that work together to create the illusion of spaciousness. Combine these design details together in your small kitchen for the ultimate modern update.

Structure, hard, and sleek are among the many adjectives that come to mind when thinking about modern design details. Most commonly, these traits come to life in a structured cabinetry system; hard-edged countertops, opposed to rounded edges; and sleek stainless steel fixtures and hardware. In the case of modern design countertops, metal and slate are popular choices for their industrial vibe, durability and style. Counter these materials with complementary textures such as a glass used in the backsplash or leather on seating.

Modern design's minimalism goes hand-in-hand with the pared-down approach of a small kitchen: limit to the bare necessities, conceal features, and integrate multi-tasking elements. First, eliminate the extras such as pendant lights for fuss-free recessed lighting, and swap space-hogging appliances for models that can be tucked in drawers. Secondly, make a place for everything and put everything in its place. To this end, consider a pullout pantry and full-height cabinets. Another idea for a modern kitchen is exposed cabinetry. Open shelving establishes an airy feel to the room while exposing an edited, tidy stack of dishes and glasses.

Further the goal of creating the idea of roominess in your kitchen by adding a modern, neutral color palette. The uniformity of monochromatic colors — light bright whites or sleek grey hues — creates the impression of spaciousness in a tight space. The graphic color pairing of black and white is often used in modern kitchen designs, along with the burst of an accent color, like primary colors in red, blue or green. Infuse this shot of color onto a painted accent wall or a gleaming colored glass backsplash. Instead of spinning the color wheel, geometric pattern is a subtle way to add interest into your modern kitchen. Consider installing a tile backsplash that features a sleek horizontal, herringbone or chevron pattern.

Remember, small kitchen designs require some thoughtful planning to the furnishings too. Think clean-lined seating, like backless stools than can easily tuck under kitchen islands. For an eat-in kitchen, try a dining table and chairs that leave a small footprint, and minimize visual clutter with furniture like Lucite chairs and a mod tulip table.

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