5 Small Kitchen Renovation Ideas You’ll Love

Most of the time in your house is spent in the kitchen, and it is one of the most valued areas of a house. However, your kitchen may be small. But that does not mean that your kitchen should be underwhelming. You can change your small kitchen to make it more appealing. Not only could a renovated kitchen make your house feel new, but it could even raise the value of the house.

Keep reading to find renovations that can not only make your small kitchen look new, but they can also make your small kitchen space appear much bigger or actually give you more space to work with.

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Change the Lighting

Though the normal fluorescent lights most houses use are cost-effective, they also have a blue tint. The blue light not only can throw off the color of everything, but it can make space feel more constrictive. Changing the lighting in your small kitchen is one of the easiest ways you can make the space feel more open.

Some ways to change the lighting in your small kitchen include:

  • Use Incandescent light bulbs:This type of light bulb can limit blue lighting and make your small kitchen look more open.
  • Use LED light bulbs: Like incandescent light bulbs, LED light bulbs will limit blue lighting and make your small kitchen look more open.
  • Use different light fixtures: Using hanging pendant lights can improve the lighting around your small kitchen. You can even put lighting on the floor or under base cabinetry.
  • Add in a window: Hiring someone to add in a window in your small kitchen allows natural sunlight to shine in and make things feel more open.
  • Hang a few decorative mirrors on the wall: Mirrors can help spread light around your small kitchen for a more spacious feel.

While different lighting can make colors pop better, different colors can change how you view the kitchen.

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Paint The Kitchen

A different color may be what you need to spruce up your kitchen.

Painting your small kitchen with pastel or lighter colors can make it feel more opened by making the space appear brighter. You could even use darker colors to make the walls appear further away, but it could counter the lighting in the kitchen.

However, overdoing the colors in your small kitchen can make it appear and feel even smaller. You should have no more than three colors used for your entire kitchen. If you want to make your space feel more open, try to match the colors of your cabinets and wall, or at least be of a similar shading.

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In a small kitchen, you may not have enough room for all the appliances and utensils you want or even need.

In some situations, you may need to pick and choose the appliances used in your small kitchen as well as organize it well. Purchasing multi-purpose appliances or built-in appliances to help declutter your kitchen can make it appear bigger by simply creating more space.

Let’s dive deeper into each of these factors below.


Multi-Purpose Appliances

You may not need both a blender and a food processor when there are combinations of these appliances that exist on the market. Additionally, instead of having a kettle for tea, you could buy a coffee maker that doubles as a tea-maker. There are many smaller tools you can also use to make tea, including tea ball steepers.


Built-In Appliances

Something like a microwave, which is used daily in most households, is something important to keep. The one bad thing about microwaves is that they tend to take up a lot of counter space. A good way to counteract this is to hire someone to have a microwave built-in above the oven.


Storage Organization

With a small kitchen, you will need to utilize all the space possible. You can do this by adding magnetic holders or hooks on the wall or ceiling to hold utensils, pots, and pans so you do not need to waste precious cabinet space to hold them. However, this may only work in kitchens with a high ceiling.

If you want to organize your items, you can also utilize drawer organizers or even plastic containers.

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Opening the Kitchen More

Kitchens may appear to be more closed-off due to the lack of space. It may appear more-so if there are four walls. You could hire someone to remove a wall, or utilize an opening like a window. These layouts can help make a kitchen feel inclusive and is especially great for entertaining.

Open concept kitchens are:

  • More spacious
  • Better sightlines
  • Great for entertainment

Let’s get into each of these factors below.


More Spacious

Getting at least one wall removed can make even a small kitchen appear more spacious. In addition to opening, there is some space added with the walls taken out.

In addition to freeing up some space, you can integrate some use for your previously closed kitchen. For instance, if you make your kitchen more open, you have more space to utilize. You could move your dining set more into the kitchen. This could even make the table more usable.


Better Sight Lines

You could easily spend hours in the kitchen working. That would be a long time to be away from loved ones and friends. The walls can keep you feeling like you are with them and you can watch them. This is especially beneficial if you have children. Removing walls gives you better lines of sight so you can see when they’re up to no good.

In addition, it helps to allow you to utilize lighting better and to use lighting in other rooms.


Great for Entertainment

A more open concept allows you to exchange more with anyone you are entertaining. You can be as involved with your family and guests as you want with an open concept.


Downsides of Open Concept Kitchens

Though there are a lot of good things to say about open concept kitchens, they have some downsides.

Downsides of open concept kitchens include:

  • Smells from the kitchen
  • Lack of privacy
  • Less storage

These downsides are not commonly considered before a renovation.


Smells from the Kitchen

If you open your kitchen, you run a risk of opening your residence to smells from your kitchen. Not only could the trash in your kitchen loft smell throughout your residence, but smells can come from poor maintenance, like dirty dishes and an unclean sink.

If you want to open your kitchen, you may need to embrace the fact that you will not be able to hide any smells. You will need to make sure automatic air fresheners and scent-hiding garbage bags are used, and that you or someone else can clean messes promptly.


Lack Of Privacy

While many people want to entertain their guests while cooking, there will still be many times you would want privacy while cooking. You may not want to entertain guests if you are about to burn something.

An open concept will not allow you to have some time alone to take care of whatever you are cooking or cleaning.


Less Storage

While an open concept will add some square feet to your kitchen, it will remove some walls where you can keep some cabinets or some holders for your kitchen equipment. You will need to find new creative solutions for storage in your kitchen.

In addition to some of the ideas mentioned in decluttering your kitchen, some ideas you could use to improve storage with an open concept kitchen include:

  • Storage blocks
  • Additional drawers
  • Side of the fridge
  • An island

These ideas can replace the storage space you minimized by eliminating at least part of a wall. However, if you want to replace storage space using some of these items, you need to consider what is easily the most overlooked concept in a kitchen: the kitchen triangle.

bright galley kitchen

Enforce the Kitchen Triangle

Small kitchens may have a few problems including the pathways in the kitchen from the sink to the oven to the fridge. These pathways are called the kitchen triangle, or the work triangle.

When these pathways are not straight lines, the kitchen feels restricted. If there is anything like an island blocking the pathways of the kitchen triangle, the kitchen appears closed off.

The best way to enforce a clear kitchen triangle is to make sure the pathways are cleared.

Usually, for small kitchens, that means you must eliminate the island. This may eliminate some of the storage space you need

U-Shaped Kitchen

A good option people use to eliminate their need for a kitchen island includes using a peninsula.

A peninsula creates countertop space that you can use in the kitchen without the need for an island. This creates a U-shaped kitchen. However, this can also create a kitchen that feels more closed.


Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen is a common design for kitchens with very little space. This kitchen has a very narrow walkway with counters, cabinets, and appliances on each side. More importantly, the area has a very small and unrestricted work triangle.

Unfortunately, these galley kitchens can be tight for more than one cook. In addition, base cabinets tend to be smaller for galley kitchens, this could eliminate some storage space you need and even minimize your countertop space for food preparation.


Mobile Kitchen Islands

Although you may need to eliminate a permanent kitchen island, you can always use mobile island options.

Some types of mobile kitchen islands include:

  • Wheeled islands
  • Pullout islands
  • Semi-portable islands
  • Portable breakfast bars
  • Flexible peninsulas

You can be creative with these kitchen spaces by incorporating specific designs.


Do Not Forget the Second Kitchen Triangle

When designing a kitchen, many people try to design around the fridge, stove and sink to make their cooking in the kitchen less restrictive.

However, cooking does not just involve storing food, heating dishes, and cleaning dishes. You also need to prepare dishes. That is why there is a second kitchen triangle that occurs between the fridge, food prep area, and small kitchen appliances.

When you are renovating your small kitchen, think of these three other areas in addition to the three involved in the main working triangle. If you want to do more advanced cooking, you should consider this secondary work triangle.



Your kitchen may be small, but it has the potential to turn your living space into a dream. Small renovations like painting, changing the lighting, and even decluttering can help you feel like your kitchen is new and full of more potential than ever before.

However, these changes can only do so much. If you want to do more with your small kitchen, you may need to change it. Making an open concept kitchen can help with entertainment, but you should also consider storage. Luckily, there are many layouts you can try with your kitchen to have as much storage as needed while allowing your kitchen to feel open.

Element Home Remodeling East Bay is a home remodeling company serving the entire Bay Area.  We are experienced at creating modern, open kitchen designs and can work with all kinds of spaces and budgets.  Contact us today to learn more.

Element Home Remodeling

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