13 Smart, Small-Space Coffee Bar Ideas That Don’t Sacrifice Style

published Dec 20, 2023
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If you’re the kind of person who starts every morning with a fresh, steaming (or iced!) cup of coffee, then you’ll understand the allure of carving out a dedicated coffee bar in your home. True coffee-lovers know it’s not just about aesthetics here, either: Having everything you need for your morning cup of Joe in one place just makes the whole brewing process easier — particularly when you’re still half asleep. 

However, sometimes it’s hard to find the room for the large, extensive built-in coffee stations that grace our Pinterest feeds. If limited square footage — either in your kitchen, entryway, or even living room — has put a pause on your dreams of a designated coffee area, then get inspired by these 13 smart coffee bar ideas for small spaces that don’t sacrifice style. 

1. Find a Countertop Corner

You don’t need a giant, separate space to make a coffee bar work, and this countertop setup by @potejstronielustra is a prime example of that fact. Make the area feel organized and design-forward by adding some cute canisters for essentials like coffee beans, sugar, and teaspoons. Consider adding a mug stand or bar rail to hang your favorite cups, too. 

2. Transform a Single Shelf 

This mini coffee bar by @mysweetsavannah shows how even the smallest of spaces can double as a pretty, functional coffee bar. Try converting a single floating shelf into a compact coffee station, or add one to otherwise unused wall space. 

Credit: Cori Sears

3. Take Over a Small Pantry 

Do you have extra pantry space or a spare closet close to your kitchen? Consider repurposing the area into a hidden coffee bar. Not only can your setup stay out of sight when not in use (minimalists, rejoice!), but this idea also provides sneaky storage for other small appliances like your microwave, air fryer, and stand mixer.

Credit: Erin Derby

4. Use Utility Shelving

If you’re limited on kitchen space but dreaming of a coffee bar, add some utility shelving to an open wall, as seen in this Brooklyn Heights rental. It’s the perfect way to maximize vertical storage, plus a simple white unit pairs well with any design style (or you can paint it to match your aesthetic!).

My vintage French-inspired kitchen.

5. Think Multi-Functional

Double- or triple-duty furniture solutions are invaluable in small kitchens and dining rooms. That’s why this 500-square foot apartment in Toronto, Canada, utilizes a freestanding wine rack as a coffee bar, makeshift island, and vino storage. The strategic placement alongside existing built-in shelves make accessing coffee tools and supplies simple. 

6. Utilize Awkward Counter Space

This setup by @the.rosie.home demonstrates how a few thoughtful design choices can turn an otherwise awkward kitchen nook into a designated coffee bar. For extra styling space, work upward with floating shelves on the wall to stash mugs or spoons, or simply add some decor. 

7. Get a Kitchen Cart

No built-in coffee bar? No problem! A kitchen cart is the perfect way to create one in any area of your home, as seen with the IKEA FÖRHÖJA style from this Lisbon, Spain, apartment. Use the various levels and drawers to organize your coffee/espresso maker, coffee grounds, favorite mugs, syrups, and more. Bonus: It’s easy to move if you decide to rearrange!

Credit: Viv Yapp

8. Install a Faux Plant Wall

Talk about making a big impact in a small space! This plant-filled home in Bristol, U.K., features a coffee bar that rivals even the coolest cafes. A faux plant wall installation behind the coffee bar creates a dramatic backdrop, while the cheeky custom neon LED sign above it adds some fun flair. 

9. Try a Tabletop

Out of counter space? Get inspired by this Charleston home and add a simple table or desk to an empty kitchen corner for your coffee bar — especially if you live in a rental and can’t install wall shelving. Even a small metal desk with wheels will do the trick. 

10. Hang a Cute Sign

This small Brooklyn studio apartment makes the most out of limited counter space with a coffee station that blends seamlessly with the rest of the bright, airy kitchen. A neon LED wall sign and clock above the coffee maker create a focal point above arguably the most important appliance in the room (coffee-lovers get it).

11. Lean into Monochromatic Colors

This monochromatic nook by @bris_prettylife makes the case for a moody coffee station — especially if you already have matching coffee appliances and supplies. A few wall shelves directly above double as displays for similar-hued kitchenware and decor. 

12. Mount a Coffee Bar

Got a blank wall that’s begging for an upgrade? Take a cue from Jen of @our.cultivated.home, and mount a rustic-looking wall shelf to create the cutest coffee prep station ever. A deep ledge will easily hold all of your coffee supplies, while tucking a few stools underneath furnishes the full coffee bar experience.

13. Fill a Glass Cabinet

A small glass cabinet makes an excellent coffee bar, as shown by @sandeelbooth. Use the shelves to showcase your favorite mugs and any other essentials, then style the top with your coffee/espresso maker, milk frother, coffee beans, and anything else you need readily available. Top off the look with a trendy mirror and houseplant, if you’re so inclined.