Small Kitchen Survival Secrets from Stylish NYC Homes

updated Jul 23, 2020
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(Image credit: Reid Rolls)

New York is one of the capitals of living well in small homes, so it’s no surprise you can get lots of kitchen storage ideas from the tiny apartments of stylish New Yorkers. The three homes below are small, and their kitchens cramped and narrow, but these small space aficionados added smart ways to stay organized.

Create storage anywhere you can:

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Daniel Lubrano’s tiny 425-square-foot Manhattan apartment has a lot of space-maximizing features (like a Murphy bed), but his kitchen sports smart and efficient storage ideas, too. Thanks to a window, the narrow kitchen is fortunately flooded with light. But it’s an even nicer space to cook in because of the storage in unlikely places.

The walls around the counter have steel shelves, a towel bar and a rustic wood hanging wall cabinet. But the really interesting spot can be seen underneath the window. Though the space is very thin, a steel shelf adds another layer of storage, or even a prep area, to the kitchen. There’s no wasted space underneath that top shelf, either — there’s another shelf with boxes for storage and baskets for storage on the floor. The best part is it feels clean and uncluttered. You can find similar shelves from IKEA.

Create a compact but ultra handy command center:

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Instead of — or in addition to — adding storage wherever you can, consider an ultra compact but super useful kitchen command center in one spot, like Kate and Will added in their 420-square-foot Hell’s Kitchen apartment.

Their kitchen is teeny and narrow, and it’s also where they enter the apartment! They didn’t have a lot of room to work with, so they created a sleek and smart all-in-one storage spot on the wall. From a knife block to cups for utensils to storage for pots, pans and lids, this little area is smartly appointed and stylish. I like these options you can buy:

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The Live-Edge Bar Shelf from Anthropologie, $178 (Image credit: Anthropologie)

Make it mini:

(Image credit: Reid Rolls)

It will require an investment of money and a bit of time and energy rearranging a space, but choosing miniature versions of appliances (versus full-size ones) can make a tiny kitchen look and function much better.

That was one of the first things Linda did when she bought her Manhattan apartment, and the breathing room she created helped open the kitchen space up.

Color coordinate:

(Image credit: Reid Rolls)

Before her remodel, Linda’s kitchen was a bit outdated. One of the best things she did visually was to coordinate the color, streamlining the palette to a sleek black and white. Because of limitations of the stove she purchased (it only came in black), she decided to make the bottom cabinets, the floor and the countertop black as well. What this does is create one unified front — and a simpler visual composition. Keeping everything above the countertop white —from white shelves to white backsplash tiles and white walls — also feels unified, as well as brightens the small space.

More small kitchen survival advice:

(Image credit: Reid Rolls)