8 minimalist small kitchen ideas for a pared-back design

Less is more with these minimalist small kitchen ideas

Minimalist small kitchen ideas featuring white shelves, island, wooden accents and open shelving with only clear glass tableware on
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keep to a refined decor style with these minimalist small kitchen ideas. We've consulted the best in the interior design business on how you can get a sleek, streamlined look for your kitchen — no matter its size. 

Minimalist small kitchens aren't just about cutting down on mess, or great storage hacks. The minimalist aesthetic is carefully curated. It can be hard to strike the right balance so your space doesn't look cold and empty, but calming and clutter-free, with a bougie touch — and that's where our experts can step in to help.

With their tips, you'll be thinking luxurious hand soaps and high-quality table linens, alongside neat storage boxes and in-drawer organizers. Here, our home experts share eight hacks on how to nail the minimalist aesthetic for small kitchens.

Minimalist small kitchen ideas

If you've been craving a calm space, then there's no time like the present to give your space a refresh. See our kitchen design inspiration for plenty of expert advice and decor ideas.

1. Create clever storage solutions

Minimalist small kitchen ideas featuring white shelves, island, wooden accents and open shelving with only clear glass tableware on

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You need to think outside the box when it comes to kitchen storage in a small space. Yes, a storage basket or well-stocked cupboard is important but you should actually evaluate your kitchen and how you use it in order to create storage solutions that really work for you.

“By utilizing every nook, a kitchen's functional flow improves dramatically. With a bit of creativity, homeowners can transform their space beautifully within budget," says Joy Aumann, licensed realtor and founder of LuxurySoCalRealty.

"A great hack is to install a rail shelf above the sink for essential tools within easy reach. Or rail systems on the backsplash to provide handy storage without visual overwhelm.”

This under-shelf swivel hook set from Rejuvenation is perfect for hanging up kitchen utensils and giving space back to your worktops. Say goodbye to that utensil storage pot collecting dust on your counter.

Joy Aumann

Joy Aumann is a licensed realtor and founder of LuxurySoCalRealty.

2. Draw the eye upwards with a sleek light

Kitchen with wooden table and pendant lamp centrally overhead

(Image credit: Le Petit Fika)

“If you're looking for ways to make your small kitchen feel more spacious, you can create the illusion of length by playing a trick on the eye," says Ryan Nelson, a real estate and rental property expert.

"Draw your sight line upwards by hanging a cool but minimalist pendant-style light over your sink, dining spot, or in the center of the room," he continues. We think you can't go wrong with Scandinavian-style pendants in white, cream, or gray. 

We love this round paper lantern available on Amazon for a statement piece.  

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson is a real estate and rental property expert, as well as the founder and CEO of Rental Real Estate. 

3. Sort out tableware

Kitchen island with marble countertops

(Image credit: The House That Black Built)

Clean, tidy, sleek, countertops like this example from The House That Black Built is every minimalist's dream. But, how to get it for your own home? According to Laura Price, founder of The Home Organisation, it's all about thinking through your daily routines and habits, assessing what you use and when. 

“If you’re struggling to fit everything into your cupboards in your small kitchen, identify any items you don’t use regularly that could live elsewhere in your home," she advises. "Think about small kitchen appliances you only use every few months or serving dishes you only pull out for special occasions — can they live outside of your kitchen so the cupboards are freed up for items you use most often?”

Laura Price

Laura Price is the founder of The Home Organisation, a decluttering and home organization service streamlining spaces by creating simple, beautiful systems tailored to clients.

4. Open up shelving units

Open shelves in kitchen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the most important factors in curating a minimalist look in your kitchen is creating a sense of space. Rajdeep Mathur, an SEO specialist at Sierra Living Concepts, says an easy way to do this is to open things up a bit — namely your cupboards and kitchen shelves.

He says, “Give your kitchen a minimalist touch by using more vertical space with open shelving. If your cabinets make the kitchen feel cramped, try taking off a few doors or swapping them out for sleek open shelves. This not only opens up the space but also lets you display your favorite dishes, glasses, or decorative items.

"To do this without spending a lot, repurpose existing shelves or find budget-friendly shelving units that are easy to install. Consider staining or painting cabinets in a neutral color to keep a coordinated and clutter-free look. Using vertical space not only makes your kitchen look better but also helps you make the most of every inch.”

Rajdeep Mathur

Rajdeep Mathur works at Sierra Living Concepts, which offers a wide selection of the finest quality hardwood furniture at affordable prices. This California company works with skilled artisans from century-old centers of furniture making excellence in India and Mexico.

5. Add decorative hand soap

Kitchen with gray cabinets and aesthetic, tall, black bottle of hand soap

(Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/But-hQgHPY0/)

There's nothing like chic, minimalist-style hand soap to give your kitchen a cheap and cheerful glow-up. Of course, it's perfect for small spaces because hand soap doesn't take up much room and yet, it really does make an impact. 

Ensure your sink and drain area is kept as clean and tidy as possible and opt for a bottle and label with a clean, sharp look. Dark amber bottles or monochrome packaging not only look luxurious, but work well for a minimalist feel, too. 

You don't actually have to spend a fortune, though. Yes, we'd love to invest in a bougie Aesop hand soap, but you can actually get really beautiful dupes from the likes of Target or small, independent brands.

6. Forget artwork

Sage green kitchen with wooden chairs and bare walls

(Image credit: Kates Hill)

Call us crazy but while wall art is usually a major design factor when redecorating your place, in a minimalist setting, forgoing all artwork can actually look really striking. This example from Cate St Hill shows how beautiful and clean plain white walls can look, especially if you have access to lots of natural light to brighten your small kitchen.

Instead of spending your budget on prints, you could invest instead in good quality paint and cover your walls in a soft, neutral, color that lasts well and has lots of depth. Walmart's Studio Color range in the shade Artist's Canvas is great for saving your pennies.

7. Add depth with a woven rug

Room with white door and paper lantern with a textured cream rug under the dining table in background

(Image credit: Amanda Axelsson)

The secret to minimalist styling isn't that the room should be void of any furnishings, but the small space furniture should look natural, rather than shoehorned in. Avoid anything bulky or confronting. Instead, every decor purchase should be considered for its calming, in-sync look. 

Kitchen rugs are a perfect way to bring some extra depth and layers into the space — something plenty of people forget about and assume won't belong in a kitchen. A woven, natural, rug that blends in with the space will bring a little extra something, without making it feel cluttered.

8. Invest in multi-purpose furniture

Kitchen with table and barstools

(Image credit: frauke)

A great small apartment storage hack is to make the most of what you have and get your appliances or furniture to work harder for you. 

Sarah Johnson, appliance and kitchen expert at Big Airfryers explains, “Opting for versatile furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes is a clever way to optimize a small space," she says. "A foldable dining table or chairs that can be tucked away when not in use help maximize space for cooking and movement."

We love this example from Germany-based influencer, Frauke, whose kitchen unit has shelving, and countertop space is a food preparation area with pull-out boards. Genius! 


How can I make my minimalist small kitchen look more modern?

The best advice we can give you for planning out a minimalist space is to get on board with the Japandi trend. This interior design trend brings together two of the most coveted, and minimal, design identities: Scandinavian and Japanese. 

Japandi is all about creating a pared-back look that's rooted in nature and feels calming, combining modern lines of Scandinavian design with the stunning elegance of Japanese design.

I'm renovating my kitchen, is there anything I can do from the beginning to be more minimal?

Yes, two things. First off, go low. From countertops and a kitchen table to wall cabinets and an island, choose furnishings and appliances that sit a little lower than you might usually imagine. This will make the space feel much more relaxed and make the vertical space appear taller and more airy. Second, keep everything hidden away — even plugs! All appliances should be covered by sleek doors, there should be a special space for everything that's not in constant use, and even plugs should be installed underneath the countertops for a flush finish.

By now, our expert advice should have you feeling confident about making your small kitchen a more minimalist space. How about tackling the bathroom next? Take a look at our minimalist bathroom ideas for making your safe haven a calming, relaxing place to be — and a clutter-free zone.