DIY Small Kitchen Decorating & Design Ideas

If you have a small kitchen, you probably wish you had a bigger one, right? But do you really? Big kitchens are gorgeous, but they are less efficient and more space to clean.

Make the most of the most popular space in your home with these small kitchen ideas! Use decorating & design to make your space look awesome, and storage and organizing to plan a small kitchen that is ultra usable.

We have tons of great inspiration & DIY kitchen ideas to help you create a pretty space that you wouldn’t trade for anything! (Nope, not even for some football field size “dream” kitchen!)



Small Kitchen Ideas for Decorating & Design

7 Tips on Decorating a Small Kitchen

When decorating a small kitchen, there are some basic guidelines that can help you create a space that is pretty and organized. Make the best use of your kitchen with these great design tips!

  1. Clean It Out – Declutter, throw away what you never use, and move seasonal cooking items into another storage space, like the garage. Be ruthless.
  2. A Place For Everything – Make sure everything has it’s proper place, and always put it there. Don’t keep the spatulas in a drawer one day, then in a utensil holder the next. Small kitchen design relies on efficiency for it to work!
  3. A Word on Making a Small Kitchen Appear Larger – When you want to make a tiny kitchen look larger, remember the basics of design. Light colors expand space, clutter shrinks space, and unity and continuity are key. Create a seamless look by making your kitchen design as minimal as possible, while still being pretty. We have lots of great ideas below for creating a more unified look.
  4. Double Duty Everything – Functional and pretty are the key words anytime you are decorating a small kitchen. Don’t have anything in your kitchen that isn’t both!
  5. Portable Kitchen Help – Use pieces that can be easily moved around for serving, prep, and even eating on. Try the rolling kitchen island tutorials below.
  6. Color in the Kitchen – If you want your kitchen to look large, but also have good design, choose a neutral color scheme with one accent color for pop. The less contrast between the main color and the accent color, the larger the space will appear. For instance, if your walls are white, but your cabinets are dark wood, your kitchen will look smaller. Paint this same cabinets a very light gray, and the whole kitchen opens up! Don’t avoid color in the kitchen, just choose wisely.
  7. Personality Counts – Your kitchen is your kitchen… no matter how big or small it is. If you love farmhouse style, have one focal piece in the room that screams farmhouse. If you love modern Scandinavian style, use light woods and white walls. Don’t forgo using good design just because it’s a small space. In fact, a small space needs good design even more!

The DIY Playbook‘ has a great post on how to cut countertop clutter and style a small kitchen.


DIY Kitchen Decorating Projects

Kitchen Open Shelving

One of the best ways to create storage that is pretty for small kitchens is to add shelving, then to display your prettiest dishes! (Which then frees up cabinet space for those ugly mixing bowls you’ve had since 1985.:)) Let’s start with this DIY open shelving kitchen guide from ‘Bigger Than The Three of Us‘. Here she covers all the basics of installing open shelving, including how to hang it over tile. Good basic guidelines for these projects.


You know that totally wasted space between upper cabinets over the sink? ‘PB&J Stories‘ were just a little bit brilliant when they built open shelving in that space! This DIY has a full tutorial that is easy to follow. Perfect small kitchen idea to use space efficiently.


From Kris at ‘Driven by Decor‘ her kitchen remodel uses exactly the type of clever kitchen idea we are talking about. This open shelving even wraps around the corner to make ultimate use of the space!


DIY a Small Kitchen Island

Most of us with a tiny kitchen need a kitchen island… the trick is, finding a tutorial for a small kitchen island. I mean, the idea is not to make the kitchen so crowded you can’t move around! So we love this first tutorial from ‘Reality Daydream‘. Talk about double (or even triple!) duty furniture to create more kitchen space! This kitchen island is gorgeous, comes with a ton of storage, and it’s on wheels, so it’s portable too. Full tutorial, just follow the link at their site. We also love that this gets that pesky microwave off the kitchen counter and frees up precious prep space.


Little Glass Jar‘ took a worn down Target bookcase and turned it into this cute kitchen island. It has storage, it has prep space… you could even pull a stool up to it and use it as a breakfast bar! Did we mention how cute it is? Pop on over and find out how to make this.


You can build this small kitchen island yourself with these free plans from ‘Ana White‘. It not only has wheels so it can be moved around easily, it also has a built in compost bin for saving the planet while you cook. 🙂  Or kitchen trash, if you prefer. It’s also the perfect size for even the tiniest kitchen.


Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Small Kitchens

So this first idea for kitchen cabinets comes from ‘Inspiration for Moms‘. This is a perfect example of what we mentioned in the “7 Tips” about using continuity to make a small kitchen look larger. Taking the kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling creates height and closes off choppy unused space near the ceiling, which not only visually expands space, but looks more upscale as well. She has a full tutorial on this, and also on how she painted her kitchen cabinets.


Remember everything we said about “de-cluttering”? This DIY appliance garage is a kitchen cabinet built in to help hide away all those toasters and Keurigs. From Jenn at ‘Build Basic‘, you can customize this project to look exactly like your existing cabinets. Step by step photos and instructions.


Don’t have a kitchen pantry cabinet? Come on now, no matter how small your kitchen is, you have to have a pantry, right? No problem, this genius rolling pantry DIY from ‘DIY Passion‘ its the perfect way to use that tiny space between your fridge and the cabinets! We love how they lined the shelving backs with that pretty paper. Functional and pretty, the best small kitchen ideas there are!


Another kitchen cabinet eyesore that clutters up the look of  small kitchen is the stove hood. A custom cover can be thousands of dollars, but these clever bloggers have tutorials for making your own DIY stove vent hood cover. This farmhouse style wood vent hood from ‘Remodelaholic‘ could be painted to match the wall or the cabinets for a more seamless look. So pretty, and they have great instructions!


This modern stove vent hood cover DIY from ‘A Beautiful Mess‘ makes the whole vent visually disappear! This is a pretty easy project, and the tutorial has plenty of photos to walk you through it. Remember, the best small kitchen idea for decorating & design is to create a seamless look when possible. This makes the entire space look larger.


DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Installing a new kitchen backsplash is  great way to update a space. The great thing about a small kitchen is that with so little wall space, it costs much less to do this project than it might in that football field type kitchen. 😉 We love using light colors and continuity in design in small kitchens. Busy, heavily patterned backsplashes will just make the kitchen look smaller and more cluttered.  Keep in mind when choosing a backsplash that the more closely it matches in color to the countertop and the cabinets, the larger the kitchen will feel. Remember, that word we keep using? “Seamless”?

Learn how to install a marble backsplash from ‘Just a Girl and Her Blog‘. We love marble for small kitchens because it adds a very subtle pattern, but is light and airy feeling. Same kitchen, two different marble backsplash looks!

Need more kitchen backsplash ideas? Check out our posts How to Install A Backsplash and 6 Ways to Redo a Backsplash Right Over the Old One over at our sister site The Budget Decorator!


DIY Kitchen Decor & Ideas

Ok, so now here is the fun part of kitchen design… DIY kitchen decor! Make things for your kitchen that make it pretty, but also double as storage or are functional. ‘DIY Beautify‘ made these custom kitchen canisters with DIY chalkboard style labels. A lot prettier than a box of Cheerios on the counter, don’t you think?


Have you ever stood over the kitchen sink doing dishes, and looked out at the dark night and felt weirdly exposed? We may need privacy for our kitchen space, but in a small kitchen, we don’t want to block light. These lovely sheer farmhouse style curtains from ‘Maria Louise Design‘ are perfect! And she teaches us how to make them for less than $25!


Talk about cute ways to corral clutter! Laura from ‘Heart Filled Spaces‘ made this farmhouse style DIY kitchen soap caddy from scrap wood. You can do this project in an afternoon with her tutorial.


Make this wood striped utensil holder and create countertop storage for your kitchen that looks very high end. Yep, this is a DIY! From ‘A Beautiful Mess‘.


Take your organizing to the wall by making this DIY hanging utensil rack from ‘Grillo Designs‘. This is sooo simple… scrap wood and some plumbing clips!


Another way to keep countertop clutter at bay is to use trays to keep things organized. This pretty geometric DIY wood serving tray from ‘Deeply Southern Home‘ would do a great job of bringing together pretty & functional for any style kitchen.


Last we have this perfectly fabulous house shaped shelf that could be used to create pretty kitchen storage of almost anything! How about little pots of herbs? Tea tins? Spices? From ‘A Beautiful Mess‘, this is a simple tutorial even a beginning woodworker can do.

These small kitchen ideas will help you to create a pretty and functional kitchen! Kitchen decorating doesn’t have to be all about storage, but in a small space, it sure helps! We think you will also love our post on Kitchen Drawer Organizing, and DIY Kitchen Islands! Then pop on over and check out DIY Granite Countertops over at TBD…

Note : This post has been freshened with updated projects.

Image Credits: Driven by Decor, The DIY Playbook, Bigger Than the Three of Us, PB&J Stories, Reality Daydream , Little Glass Jar, Ana White, Inspiration for Moms, Build Basic, DIY Passion, Remodelaholic, A Beautiful Mess, Just a Girl and Her Blog, DIY Beautify, Maria Louise Design, Heart Filled Spaces, A Beautiful Mess, Grillo Designs, Deeply Southern Home, A Beautiful Mess
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates & Steve Bates (co-owners) – Woodard Bates Media LLC consisting of three blogs:, and

Kathy Bates’ previous writing credits include:

Former home decorating expert for Lifetime TV, Galtime and Country Woman Magazine.

Her book spent time at #1 on Amazon’s Home & Garden Topseller List in 2002.

Published or featured in numerous national publications, including:

Country Sampler’s Decorating Ideas magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Decorating Solutions magazine, Decorating Ideas magazine, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City News, The Oklahoman, Akron Beacon Journal, Pensacola News Journal and The Telegraph.


  1. Jackline Needham
    September 22, 2020 / 4:54 am

    Very nice work

    • Kathy Bates
      May 5, 2021 / 10:13 am

      We are glad you liked it!

  2. poonam
    May 27, 2019 / 4:49 am

    wow ,simple and really beautiful idea you have . thanks for sharing .

  3. Kevin Utley
    May 24, 2019 / 10:36 pm

    We’re currently looking at re-doing and designing our kitchen, so this post is fab, as it isn’t all that big. I’m looking to completely change the styling and these are right up my street! Thank you so much for sharing so many amazing ideas.

  4. Hamilton
    April 2, 2019 / 2:38 am

    All your “7 TIPS ON DECORATING A SMALL KITCHEN” is wonderful,maintaining small kitchen is a difficult task. Thanks for sharing.

  5. August 17, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    I found it helpful when you suggested installing glass cabinet doors to your kitchen to visually increase the size of your kitchen. My husband and I wanted to update the decoration of our kitchen. We have a small kitchen, and we don’t want it to look overcrowded. We’ll make sure to consider buying glass cabinets. Thanks!

  6. April 28, 2017 / 2:45 am

    Keeping the design simple will make your kitchen more spacious. You don’t really need complexity in this area of your house. A simpler and cleaner kitchen will give you a much more comfortable feeling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.