The kitchens in these photos might not all be shoebox-small, but the juicy ideas are ripe and ready for tiny spaces. Each solution aims to do one of three things: Add utility, add storage or add interest. And when you're so tight on space in the kitchen, you could use a little bit of all three.
From the same Erik Olsson home, a small shelf below the countertop is the perfect place to stash a laptop. We're thinking it's a must-have detail for a kitchen that doubles as an office.
Lucky enough to have a window in your kitchen? Don't let it cramp your style. Take upper cabinets and shelves all the way to the window with tapered shelves like the ones in this Paris apartment on Côté Maison.
This Côté Maison Paris kitchen has another great lesson to teach: Sometimes you can actually gain more room by closing off an open kitchen. Building a divider here helps define the space, but also adds a few much-needed cabinets.
And sometimes a separation is just charming. The galley kitchen in this apartment by Alexander White, featured on Planete Deco, was closed off with a glass door and windows, "borrowing" light from the rest of the space.
The one-wall kitchen in this Brazilian apartment from Casa e Jardim was transformed with two clever solutions: A dining table pulled up close like a kitchen island (great for extra prep space), plus a custom counter/cabinet/island butted up right next to it.
We spotted another unique double-duty island in this apartment from Lisanne van de Klift. It's narrow to save floor space and tall bar-height to work as a separate dining space when needed.
This is such a cool cabinet treatment in the home of a Refinery 29 staffer. The contrasting white cabinets below the sink give off the vibe of a freestanding piece of furniture.
If you're going the custom cabinet route in your renovation, ask your contractor to build a secret cubby at the end like this one from The Hunted Interior. In exchange for a few inches of cabinet, you can have a dedicated place for keys and your other everyday carry. (Needless to say, this would be absolute perfection if your kitchen is right off the front door. Instant landing strip!)
This kitchen from House & Hold saves space with a tall, narrow fridge. But it's that custom shelving detail that steals the show for me.
This really tiny Italian studio apartment was a candidate in our 2013 Small Cool contest thanks to this creative idea: Panels in the kitchen area flip-down to turn the counter into walkable loft space.
Apparently the flip-down is a pretty useful mechanic in small spaces. This transforming table is Table Plus, a retail solution from UK company Magnet.
Another Magnet solution: Cabinet Plus, mechanical drop-down drawers that hide behind upper cabinets to eke out extra utility.
Another area that you can turn to for extra storage is above the cabinets. Keep it orderly by installing a row of open shelving above your mounted cabinets. Or, as seen here on One Kings Lane, you could even rig it with modular wine racks and a long piece of wood.
If there's room at the end of a row of cabinets, that's yet another stellar spot for open shelves. The tiny cubbies in this kitchen from INT2 Architecture (via My Paradissi) are the perfect size for just a few plates each.
This kitchen from Desire to Inspire is full of nooks and crannies, like the open box shelf mounted to the bottom of the upper cabinet, and the alcove built into the cabinets on the side. It all combines to make one really wonderful and tidy cooking space for whoever gets to cook on this cooktop.