I think these space-saving kitchen ideas are the best ways to make a kitchen with a small footprint go further

Space at a premium in the kitchen? Try these space-saving kitchen ideas to make the very most of the room you have

a kitchen with a pull out countertop
(Image credit: Peter Ekland. Design: Studio Thomas)

Looking for space-saving kitchen ideas? These handy hints can save you ample space in this typically busy part of the home. More and more, we want our kitchens to work harder to save on space. Our homes have become a place of refuge and solace, a place to retire after a busy day at work, and our kitchens need to reflect this desire. So often, they are rooms that contain unsightly appliances, and are prone to gathering clutter. 

A busy kitchen instantly feels smaller, so space saving is crucial, even if it is a large kitchen it can still feel cramped. But with these handy hints, we can help a modern kitchen feel brighter and lighter, help you harness the space you have, and keep appliances and storage in order.  

Read on for our handy space-saving tips for your kitchen.

Oonagh Turner
Oonagh Turner

Oonagh is a homes writer and editor. With years of experience interviewing industry experts, she has dug into her black book of contacts to speak to those in the kitchen industry, to find out how best to save valuable space in our kitchens.

8 space-saving kitchen ideas to try

'Space saving is ultra-important in any kitchen design, whether the space is small, medium or large,' says Jane Powell, a designer at kitchen design studio Roundhouse. 'The point of space saving within a kitchen is to maximize the storage potential, and ultimately create an organized clutter-free space. ' 

'If there’s clutter within the kitchen, it can often indicate inefficient storage, and a dysfunctional layout. Everyone wants to maximize their worktop space, so being able to store away gadgets, utensils and various other items means keeping work surfaces clear and tidy.'

1. Build into the backsplash 

Marble veining Kitchen with green cabinets and strongly veined marble on the worktop and splashback

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Your kitchen backsplash has so much more potential than just a panel to protect walls from spillages, and with the addition of some storage recessed into a wall, you can make much more of this space. 

In this example, the veined marble wraps around the kitchen, and provides a stage for pots, plates and pans. What's more, your favorite vases, recipe books and pans can sit on top for guests to admire.

2. Build a shelf for function and style

Blue kitchen with marble splashback

(Image credit: Future)
Watford walnut wall shelf, La Redoute
Watford walnut wall shelf, La Redoute (opens in new tab)
Get the look

Watford walnut wall shelf, La Redoute (opens in new tab)

This budget-friendly wall shelf is a simple addition to your kitchen that can add character to the space as well as handy storage. Think recipe books, your favorite vases and a plant to bring some greenery into your kitchen.

A kitchen shelf that wraps around the walls is such a beautiful look in the kitchen. Not only does it make the most of wall space that is so often left untouched, but it's such a simple addition that can be a great place for storing your favorite kitchen essentials. Make sure you curate this collection sensibly, this is a place for all the world to see, so be selective. A beautifully leaned piece of well-framed artwork will bring the look together.

'I love open shelves in the kitchen with everything behind closed doors shelves are such a good way to inject personality into this room.' explains Abigail Ahern (opens in new tab). 'Stack bowls and plates with other items to mix things up. Grab a plant, some cookbooks, vases, candlesticks - decorative accents in other words that add visual interest. Reign in the color palette and decant decant decant. I have seeds, grains, and coffee all decanted into glass jars and it looks fab.'

If you have more wall space, build up and go for two shelves, as per this example. This can create a clear, clean stacked look, and you can mix and match depending on the season or occasion. 

3. Ditch the kettle for a hot water tap

A hot water tap makes a good alternative to a kettle

(Image credit: Quooker)

It might not seem like a lot of space to lose, but your clunky kitchen kettle is a pretty big and often unsightly appliance that is too large and too frequently used to take up a cupboard. Do away with it altogether and have a hot water tap installed. Not only will this help to visually declutter the kitchen space, but it could save you money on energy bills. Kettles are notorious for their energy-gobbling nature and these taps can help you save by only using as much water as you need

'On average a kettle uses the same amount of energy to boil a liter of water as it takes to run a fridge for seven hours,' points out Stephen Johnson at Quooker (opens in new tab), a brand that creates boiling water taps that keep your water hot by functioning like an electrically powered flask. All you need is a single plug socket, a cold water feed with a pressure of above 2 bars, and a 500mm space. The system is super safe to use too, with a clever press-turn lock so it will never automatically dispense boiling water when you’re not expecting it. Look to Quooker, Qettle (opens in new tab), Franke's (opens in new tab) or Wödår (opens in new tab) for boiling water tap inspiration, or Perrin & Rowe (opens in new tab) for great hot water taps.  

4. Switch to a rise and fall pendant

A rise and fall pendant for the kitchen

(Image credit: Original BTC)

If you're torn between having a statement lighting fixture in your kitchen, but are short on space and worried it will fill the space in the kitchen, consider a rise-and-fall kitchen pendant (opens in new tab) over your breakfast bar, island or dining table. The handy mechanism allows you to pull up the light to make way for an elaborate centerpiece, and will stop any butting heads, all the while throwing the light out to the kitchen, but is easily adjustable to move down towards the table when you're looking to create a more intimate mood. This one is from Original BTC (opens in new tab).

Christie rise and fall pendant, Original BTC
Christie rise and fall pendant, Original BTC (opens in new tab)
Get the look

Christie rise and fall pendant, Original BTC (opens in new tab)

I love this rise and fall pendant by Original BTC, with its frilly, fluted edges that make the bone china look super lightweight and delicate as it hangs from the ceiling. The edges cast an interesting wavy pattern on the walls too, and the pulley system is super easy to adjust.

4. Consider extendable countertops

a coffee bar with pull out countertop

(Image credit: Peter Ekland. Design: Studio Thomas)

Sometimes, you need a little extra countertop space in certain areas of your kitchen, especially around appliances or for food prep. Why not try pull-out countertops that recess into your units that can be used to supplement your available surface space? In this kitchen designed by Studio Thomas (opens in new tab), this idea has been used around the coffee bar, providing a space to make a coffee, while a coffee machine takes up the countertop above it. 

5. Opt for floor-to-ceiling storage (and a ladder)

A kitchen ladder

(Image credit: deVOL. The Real Shaker)

So often, our kitchen cabinets end with a good amount of unused space not reaching to the very top. This design has evolved because our kitchens typically match our height, and kitchen storage at the very top of the wall seems too difficult to get to, so isn't used. There is plenty of space, however, in those hard-to-reach places that we think you should really make the most of, and if you don't fancy wobbling on your dining table chair, get a ladder and a rail to steady yourself. 

This deVOL kitchen has tied the scheme together beautifully, with the ladder and rail both painted in the same shade of dusky blue - meaning the ladder doesn't stand out and add to any visual clutter. 

6. Try a peg rail for extra storage

Save space by hanging utensils

(Image credit: Ellei Home. Design: deVOL)

A simple but smart maneuver in the kitchen is to hang up those utensils, making a display of your favorite pieces while giving them a home that will save you valuable space. 

Mugs can be hung by the handles, making sure they're all facing the same way, or try stylish copper pots and pans you'd be happy to display. This scheme has deftly installed a nifty plank of wood skirting around the room, but you could also install little hooks under cabinets.

8. Pick bi-folding doors

a kitchen with a bifold door

(Image credit: Herringbone Kitchens)

Countertop breakfast or pantry cabinets are a great way to add more storage, without bulky wall hung units. However, there's a catch. If you want to open these cabinets, you'll need to clear the entire countertop in front of it, making it a little unwieldly when you're in the throes of food prep. 

The solution? A less standard cabinet door like a bi-folding door, as seen in this kitchen by Herringbone Kitchens (opens in new tab). These doors can be opened without needing the full swing of the door, making them a super practical choice for this kind of unit. 

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.