15 tips for decorating a small kitchen

Kitchen with mint coloured wall

Kitchen decoration can be challenging even with the biggest and most open kitchens. But when you are dealing with a small kitchen space, you're also dealing with unique problems. Any decoration plan you come up with must account for limited space.

Not to worry though, with a combination of creativity and what the modern DIY industry has to offer, there are plenty of great ways to decorate a small kitchen and make maximum use of limited space. Below are the top fifteen tips gleaned from across the internet.

1. Go with light colours

Hand holding a colourful whisk with cream on it

The very first kitchen decoration idea to consider is going with a light colour scheme. As you already know, lighter colours tend to make small spaces look bigger. Consider white or an off-white shade for walls, window sashes, and cupboards. Light-coloured window treatments will keep the space from looking too dark on overcast days.

2. Install open shelving

Open wooden kitchen shelves

Smaller kitchens don't always come with enough cupboard space. If that's the case in your kitchen, don't install more cupboards. Instead, install open shelving. Open shelves give you necessary storage space without making a small kitchen feel even more closed in.

It's okay for open shelves to be installed without paint. In fact, natural wood looks fantastic against white walls. Even better, re-purposed wood that is cleaned up and refinished can make a small kitchen look quite elegant.

3. Hang utensils from a copper pipe

Copper rail holding kitchen utensils, mounted to wall with Sugru

If your small kitchen is lacking cupboard space, it's a safe bet that it's also lacking drawer space. That needn't be an issue if you can handle an easy DIY project. Thanks to our super-strong mouldable glue, it's possible to create your own copper rail without drilling any holes. You do not need screws or nails, either.

All you need are two plumbing fixtures and a piece of copper pipe to create a rail from which to hang your spoons, ladles, wire wisps, and other kitchen utensils. Not only will you free up limited drawer space for other things, but you’ll also add a nice touch to your overall kitchen decoration scheme.

4. Hang your pot lids out of the way

Pot lids held to the inside of cupboard with Sugru grips

Speaking of Sugru, you can also use it to hang pot lids out of the way. You undoubtedly have unused space on the inside surface of every cupboard door. Turn that unused space into a lid-hanging bonanza.

You can form our mouldable glue into small hooks to stick to the surface of the door. And because the glue adheres to almost any surface, you are not confined to cupboard doors. Open wall space as well as exterior cupboard surfaces are all up for grabs.

5. Consider installing an island

Wooden island in kitchen

There are small kitchens and then there are tiny kitchens. A tiny kitchen may be so small that you cannot do much with it. But if your kitchen is large enough to accommodate an island, consider installing one. You might even build your own island from re-purposed lumber you already have at home.

An island gives you extra counter space to work on. Build in a few drawers and you have extra storage space. Meanwhile, a shelf running along the entire bottom provides space for pots and pans. You can do a lot with an island if you just set your mind to it.

As an added bonus, you can offset your mostly light colour scheme by choosing a darker colour for the surface of the island. The extra splash of colour will better define the island to reduce the risk of you accidentally running into it.

6. Add some colourful stools

Blue kitchen stools

Should you decide to go the island route, you can also use the work surface as a space for quick meals. Get your hands on some colourful stools for one side. Then just take a seat to enjoy a quick, leisurely lunch before getting on with the rest of your day.

Stools are something you can find prettily inexpensively at pound stores and antique shops. Best of all, they don't have to match. Mismatched pieces even add a little bit of character. Just clean them up, paint them all the same colour, and set them right next to the island.

7. Experiment with patterns

A blue and white patterned kitchen rug

A kitchen decoration project is an opportunity for you to be as creative as you want to be. Might we suggest experimenting with patterns? How you do that depends on the scope of your decorating project. If you're working with a completely blank space, a patterned floor covering or tile backsplash nicely offsets a mostly light colour scheme.

Maybe your project isn't that extensive. No worries. Patterned dish towels and cloths work well. So do patterned vases, biscuit jars, and so forth. You can find a lot of great stuff at pound stores and the like. Being thrifty and going second-hand helps keep old things out of landfills while helping you decorate your home at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

8. Decals work pretty well too

Blue and pink abstract wallpaper

It could be difficult to experiment with patterns if you are not doing a complete redesign. But you still have options. For example, decals work pretty well on tile surfaces. A stick-on decal set can turn a plain and boring backsplash into an interesting and ornate surface.

Just make sure you invest in decals that can be easily removed. That way, you're not stuck looking at the pattern if you end up not liking it. Invest in several sets and you can change the look of your kitchen several times per year. That's one way to keep things interesting.

9. Plant a vertical garden

Plants in jars mounted to kitchen backsplash with Sugru

We love trying new and daring things that other companies wouldn't even think of suggesting. For instance, you can decorate some of the walls in your new kitchen with a vertical garden. You just need some Sugru, some potted flowers, and wall-mounted brackets to hold the pots.

Sugru is strong enough to firmly hold the brackets in place. Once the glue has set, you place your potted plants on the brackets and boom! You now have your very own vertical garden. Best of all, you can easily remove Sugru if you choose to redesign your garden or remove it completely.

If you are really into making the most of limited space, perhaps your kitchen decoration plan should include growing your own spices. In place of decorative plants, choose things like basil and chives. Growing your own spices is economical and practical.

10. Embrace the technology

iPad mounted to kitchen tiles with Sugru grips

No modern kitchen decoration plan would be complete without at least some technology. Maybe you use your tablet to store recipes. Or perhaps you like to video chat with friends while working in the kitchen. Once again, Sugru to the rescue!

Sugru is strong enough to mount a typical iPad or tablet to the wall. Just like with the pot lid project, you make a series of customised hooks using small pieces of our glue. Stick them to the wall and let them set. Then you can slide your tablet in for a snug fit. When you want to take the tablet elsewhere, it slides right back out again.

11. Install smart light bulbs

Hand holding a lightbulb

Your new kitchen obviously requires lighting. When it is time to replace the bulbs, forget florescent and incandescent lighting. Instead, install smart LED bulbs. A smart bulb has built-in technology that allows it to be controlled using your smartphone. You can turn smart bulbs on or off with the swipe of a finger or an oral command. Some of the higher end bulbs can even illuminate in different colours.

We love this idea simply because LED light bulbs last a whole lot longer than the other options. They also use considerably less energy. Overall, we waste less when we use LED products. LED bulbs are more fun to use when they are smart.

12. Install under-cabinet lighting

Speaking of lightbulbs, an easy way to spruce up a small kitchen is to install under-cabinet lighting. This type of lighting is usually sold in the form of LED strips with adhesive backing. You simply cut the strip to size and stick it to the underside of a cabinet.

You can buy under-cabinet lighting powered by rechargeable USB batteries. You can also buy light strips that plug into a standard wall outlet. Either way, you can install the lighting without the need for any power tools.

Go with a multicoloured product and you can change the mood in your kitchen at any time. Maybe tonight you want a soft white glow. Tomorrow you might be in the mood for blue. Whatever strikes your fancy, under-cabinet lighting gently illuminates the kitchen without needing to have the overhead lights on.

13. Decorate the refrigerator

Fridge with magnets

Your fridge is a blank canvas that's just waiting to be decorated. It's so easy to do, and makes such a difference to the overall look and feel of every kitchen, that it'd be a missed opportunity not to try it out. How you decorate your fridge is entirely up to you!

Most refrigerators have metallic surfaces, so you can add colourful magnets to decorate, or to hold things up. Create some ad hoc artwork by giving the kids some blank paper and crayons. If that's not your cup of tea, clip interesting pictures from books and magazines. Go to a site like eBay and look for old postcards.

Have a play and see what works for you. And if your fridge surface doesn't work well with magnets, not to worry. With Sugru, you can make your fridge door magnetic by sticking small double-sided magnets onto the surface. Then you can add and swap out decorative magnets onto these whenever you want!

14. Decorate with coffee mugs

Mugs hanging on a wall from colourful Sugru hooks

Coffee mugs aren't just for coffee, right? Absolutely. Many of our coffee mugs are works of art all by themselves. Why not turn them into decorative elements. They can make a small and boring kitchen look like something out of an interior designer magazine.

As a general rule, coffee mugs with lots of colour are your best choice for hanging on light-coloured walls. Just make some hooks with Sugru, let them set, and then hang them. Your new piece of art will be both decorative and functional. And guess what? You can change out the mugs every now and again for an entirely different look.

15. Make use of the space above

Plants above kitchen cabinets

In some of our kitchens, the cupboards don't go all the way to the ceiling. Guess what? That space above is like the fridge – it's a blank canvas for you to utilise in whatever way you see fit.

The space is perfect for potted plants and small art pieces. It works well as storage for some of those small kitchen appliances you only use on rare occasions. And if you are feeling really fancy, installing LED lighting on top nicely complements under-cabinet lighting. Think about it.

We've given you fifteen kitchen decoration ideas for small spaces. Perhaps this post has inspired you to think of a few more. That's great! 😃 

A small kitchen doesn't have to be uncomfortable to look at or work in. With a little creativity and the right tools, you can do a lot to turn a small kitchen into one that's closer to your dream.

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