10 coffee bar ideas to perk up small spaces

Bring the cafe vibes home

Cozy coffee bar corner with painted coral arch color block on wall
(Image credit: @chelseakloon)

Budding baristas take note! Draining your budget on daily coffee shop stops is a thing of the past and now it is all about bringing that cafe culture home with cute small coffee bar ideas that are made for tiny homes. 

No matter how "cozy" your kitchen space may be, with some creative input, you'll be able to squeeze in more alongside your Aeropress or petite pod coffee machine to create that coffee house aesthetic of dreams.

Carve out the perfect coffee bar spot to make a latte or other favorite drink of your choice, say your name right when it's ready, and there is no better way to start your day.

1. Zone your coffee station with paint

Cute goffee station with arch painted zone on wall

(Image credit: @chelseakloon)

Make your dedicated coffee station stand out from the kitchen crowd with a splash of paint that zones the space and injects happy energy. We adore the coral-painted arch in this cozy coffee bar set up by @chelseakloon. It brings all the Cali-sunshine vibes and positivity to "meh" white paneling. Thrifty tip: Why not use up leftover paint sample pots to create the look? The Glidden Essentials Interior Paint collection at Home Depot is a pocket-friendly choice anyhow and, if you're thirsty for big flavor on a tiny footprint, you absolutely must have one of the best small coffee makers in your kitchen, too.

2. Keep it bright in white

White coffee bar with retro framed wall art and tiered open shelving

(Image credit: @willowandlovehome)

Are you a fan of white kitchens? If keeping things crisp and clean is your jam (always good in a compact space), make your percolating patch blend in with your existing scheme with appliances, fittings, and drinkware in bright white, or pop in a few mono accents for color contrast. Hang a favorite piece of wall art for a scoop of personality and voila — très chic.

We're digging the use of vertical space in this scheme too, which extends a narrow counter for drink-making, into a chic bar with blended shelving for gorgeous china and storage canisters. 

3. Make coffee cups count

Clear glass mugs hanging on mug tree, and mono patterned backsplash.

(Image credit: @nikkis_abode)

When it comes to small spaces, it really is the little things that make a difference. With this in mind, treat your coffee corner to some thoughtful details — think cute mugs, sugar sticks, a textured tray, shapely canisters, and a fresh flower sprig or potted succulent.

Nikki of @nikkis_abode, who created the lovely setup above, notes, ”Choose a coffee cup design you can not live without — it's all about finding that happiness in a mug.”

Think about making your coffee mugs work harder. Clear designs and vintage china cups double up as fun vessels for clock-off cocktails o'clock (avoiding the faff of knocks and falls from delicate stemware!) Personally, I rotate my ceramic cuties to pot fresh herbs and freshen up the dresser and windowsill. 

4. Use a tray as a mini coffee station

Cute coffee tray detail with heart mug filled with coffee capsules, sugar sticks in glass vessel, and flower sprig in glass bud vase on small wooden tray

(Image credit: @home.with.jeaneen)

A chic tray is a fab little option to create a "transportable coffee station" if you have zilch budging room to carve one out in a fit-to-burst scheme (try Etsy for a plethora of wonderfully unique coffee trays to delight). Keep your micro set-up fresh and interesting with thoughtful touches that totally change up the vibe depending on occasion, season, holiday, or even mood.

Jeaneen of @home.with.jeaneen says, "Featuring a seasonal mug in your setup is an easy way to freshen up your coffee corner throughout the year."

5. Organize those pods

Coffee pod storage solution in drawer by coffee station.

(Image credit: @home.with.jeaneen)

If you're working with a particularly compact coffee nook, clogging up micro counter space with toppling coffee pods might just ruin the look. Consider reworking a nearby and under-utilized drawer as the ultimate coffee storage spot.

Follow @home.with.jeaneen's lust-worthy example, and use an expandable cutlery tray, like the ones from HomeGoods, to organize your rainbow of pods. Talk about super satisfying.

6. Utilize a cozy corner

Coffee corner on counter with rustic-industrial open shelving and white tiled backsplash

(Image credit: @our_hanbury_hideaway)

Graduate from instant coffee, and promote a quiet corner into a cool coffee station that packs a punch. A cozy corner provides the perfect nesting spot for a Nespresso Lattissima One (aka THE coffee machine for dorms and small kitchens), taking wake-ups from bleary-eyed to eyes wide open. Nestle tiered open shelving on walls (no room here for bulky cabinets!) and pop an assortment of grab-and-make essentials in chic storage jars into the mix, to really work that tiny nook. You go corner! 

7. Put open shelving to work

Typo ceramic coffee mugs on shelf and hanging on open shelves against rustic wood cladding

(Image credit: @alicia.ann.carter)

We've said it before and we'll say it again, and again... If you're looking for small kitchen storage ideas to keep surfaces clutter-free, put vertical wall space to work with open kitchen shelving. You'll be able to keep coffee-making essentials to hand, whilst also creating a beautiful shelfie display for added interest and eye candy appeal. Now that's what we call a brew with a view!

Airbnb designer Alicia Carter of @alicia.ann.carter says, "Utilize wall space for open shelving and use open shelving with intention while still keeping with the general design theme of the space."

8. Use your breakfast bar for express espressos

Cute coffee nook idea with breakfast bar style counter, bar stools and framed typography prints in mono palette

(Image credit: Cult Furniture)

"Where possible, it’s a good choice to keep your coffee machine on a worktop away from other appliances to create a dedicated zone for that all-important morning coffee," says Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx.

This slimline breakfast bar is such a clever use of space in itself, but position a small single-serve coffee maker and some jars, and these two planks of wood are given a whole new purpose. We love how you can make your coffee whilst sitting on the stool too, making those early mornings a whole lot easier. 

9. Make a statement with neon 

blue neon coffee sign in a tiled kitchen with plants

(Image credit: Custom Neon)

If you don't have the space to go all out with a coffee maker, look to other ways to curate a dedicated latte-making spot. A sign like this from Custom Neon is a simple way to add fun and quirky vibes to your room while taking up absolutely no space at all. You could simply position this above your tea kettle or French press spot to bring those cafe feels to literally any size space. 

For a ready-made choice, there are loads of punchy neon coffee signs on Amazon.

10. Get thrifting for a unique look

Coffee station with wall hung vintage bottle rack with mugs in warm, inviting, kitchen

(Image credit: @femsway)

If you're a fan of thrifting and antique hunting, then this one's for you. Pop down to your local thrift store or market and search for unique gems that can be repurposed in a coffee bar. A fun day out and wallet-friendly to boot, you'll be rewarded with a coffee station that is unique and personal.

"A coffee corner doesn’t have to cost a lot," says Femke, creative entrepreneur of @femsway. "You can find all the stuff you need secondhand, and it’s a lot of fun to start a mug collection this way. My rack is actually a vintage bottle rack, and the mugs are mostly second-hand finds and gifts as well as the coffee machine." 

Amelia Smith
Content Editor

After joining Real Homes as content producer in 2016, Amelia has taken on several different roles and is now content editor. She specializes in style and decorating features and loves nothing more than finding the most beautiful new furniture, fabrics and accessories and sharing them with our readers. As a newbie London renter, Amelia’s loving exploring the big city and mooching around vintage markets to kit out her new home.