Apartment kitchen ideas – small designs that make the most of a tiny space

Small and perfectly formed, take a look at our inspiring apartment kitchen ideas to suit all sizes and layouts

Apartment kitchen ideas - an eclectic monochrome living room filled with vintage items
(Image credit: Red Deer)

While apartment kitchen ideas offer plenty of charm they are often slightly awkward spaces, whether that be because they are on the small side, an unconventional shape, or part of a larger open-plan room. They can be tricky to get right.

And it's so important that you do get this room right and there are few areas in our home which demand as much attention – the heart and soul of the house and the social hotspot. What we have found is, the best apartment kitchens are a balance between making the most of available space and creating a kitchen that reflects your personality and lifestyle. 

By thinking creatively about how to make the most of your floor plan and utilizing whatever countertop and wall space you have, you can make the most of even the tiniest of apartment kitchen and turn it into a space you enjoy cooking and socializing in. Be it a petite galley kitchen or just a single wall in an open-plan apartment, we've rounded up small kitchen ideas that maximize storage and efficiency to show what can be created no matter what you are working with.

Inspiring apartment kitchen ideas

1. Trick The Eye With Rosey Hues

Pink mid-century kitchen inside a n apartment

(Image credit: Pluck)

This small but beautiful pink kitchen renovation by Pluck plays with color-drenching to create a sense of space in what is a tightly packed apartment kitchen.

'When the client approached us, they wanted pink and gray, but after showing them renderings,' explains Pluck cofounder Lloyd Touwen. 'We convinced them that our Ruskin Blossom laminate throughout would look stunning, We ended up using pink laminate for the countertops, shelving, and backsplash, too. Being confronted with a soft tone is a calming experience. It’s like walking into a cloud of petals, which works with the light and airy feeling of the whole apartment.'

2. Incorporate a tiny farmhouse kitchen

Yellow farmhouse kitchen in a small apartment

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks to the ubiquity of American shows like Fixer Upper and The Pioneer Woman, modern farmhouse kitchen ideas are everywhere we turn. Think humble and cheerful vibes, a mix of old and modern. Why shouldn't they also bring joy to cute city apartments?

This bright yellow Shaker style kitchen brings a transportive feel to a small apartment and is not afraid to go big with grand kitchen cabinetry in a small space and features a generous butler sink. A vintage kitchen table doubles as an island and also replicates the feel of a mini farmhouse table. 

3. Go for a practical industrial look

Industrial kitchen in a small apartment

(Image credit: Eggersman)

Industrial kitchen ideas are always a popular option for an apartment and it's a look that can be achieved on a budget as it plays on celebrating the bare bones of a space. Practical and hardwearing, historically the look takes clues from old factories and industrial spaces that have been converted. 

In this apartment kitchen by Eggersman Design the kitchen has been encased in factory doors giving a sense of division and the walls have been stripped of plaster to reveal a glorious canvas of brickwork underneath.

'The proportions of old warehouse apartments make it easy to furnish your home sparsely and stylishly with ease,' says Gary Singer, Founder and Creative Director at Eggersmann Design 'You can make an interior feel very spacious and is often associated with large open-plan spaces and high vaulted ceilings.' 

4. Create a characterful galley kitchen

Small green galley kitchen in a London apartment

(Image credit: Beata Heuman)

This small apartment kitchen is a classic compact galley kitchen that has been transformed into a charming bright space by interior designer Beata Heuman. The design makes use of every centimeter by installing bespoke kitchen cabinets painted in Dulux’s Woodland Pearl I.

The kitchen incorporates slots for trays and cutting boards and the vented cupboard over the range holds a self-circulating extractor fan. Bright white Carrera marble covers the kitchen countertops and the walls reflect light around the tiny space making it feel more spacious than it is.

5. Incorporate a statement island

Blue circular island in a mid-century kitchen

(Image credit: Dries Otten)

Known for his dedication to color, texture, and material this apartment by Antwerp-based furniture designer and interior architect Dries Ottenfeatures a custom-made kitchen island with electric blue surfaces and brass details.  And note its unusual shape, a square island would make this small space feel even smaller, blocking it up and creating this visual bulk in the center of the room. A circular island with its smooth curved edges fits more naturally into the space, still allowing a natural flow and more light to fill the room.  

6. Use marble to reflect light

An all marble kitchen with a midcentury dining table

(Image credit: Tamsin Johnson)

A jewel box of an interior - Tamsin Johnson's renovation of a 19th century home in Sydney is contemporary with nods to the artisan and the handmade. In the kitchen diner, stainless-steel cabinetry with bright white deeply veined marble encases the space reflecting light around the room.

Kitchen shelving has replaced half the wall cabinets, which only helps make the space feel more open and airy and adds some texture and personality to this all marble room. 

7. Make good use of wall cupboards 

Grey galley kitchen in a small apartment with traditional cabinets

(Image credit: deVOL)

A galley apartment kitchen with a view through the most beautiful window onto the streets of Bath, this deVOL Kitchen is soft and warm, it is filled with light and the merest suggestion of styling. Painted knobs, a couple of Shaker shelves, and a small spot to sit under the window. 

'We don’t see so many wall cupboards these days,' says Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL Kitchens. 'People tend to prefer open kitchen storage or shelving but when space is tight and you need to hide away your daily clutter, a wall cupboard or two is still a good option.'

8. Layer the kitchen into your interior

Eclectic black and white interior filled with vintage items

(Image credit: Red Deer)

This two-story apartment within an impressive 18th-century Georgian townhouse in London features layers of history and an attractive monochrome palette styled with vintage pieces of artwork and curiosities. 

In this space, the chic black kitchen disappears into the interior with cabinets that look like furniture and marble backsplashes that double as shelves for a gallery wall. Additionally, it works to create an open-plan social kitchen and dining space for entertaining.

How can I improve my apartment kitchen?

Colors such as creams and beiges can make a kitchen look elegant and expensive. If your kitchen is modern. You can use dark colors, such as blacks and greys, which can make it look lavish and extravagant. White reflects light and makes the space look bigger, so complement a white kitchen with some wood and metallic highlights.

How do you brighten a dark apartment kitchen?

Use lots of reflective and bright materials to bounce light around the space like glass tiles or white marble worktops. Incorporate metallics on your taps and hardware. Stay away from dark cabinets and pick lighter woods if you want to go for the natural look. 

It is important to get your kitchen lighting right too. Have plenty of overhead lighting to spread the light better are the space. Install a couple of pendant lamps, flush-mount ceiling lamps, or a decorative semi-flush-mount chandelier. You can even try recessed lighting or elegant track lights.

Rohini Wahi

Rohini Wahi is Content Editor for Livingetc Online. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.