11 Clever IKEA Hacks That’ll Help You Make the Most of Your Tiny Kitchen

updated Jan 27, 2023
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IKEA island with rod storage hanging above with
Credit: Sofia Clara

Yes, tiny kitchens can be adorable, but they can pose problems when it comes to having adequate space to store cookware, prep and keep food, cook and eat, and house your plants (hey, that’s important, too!). You might be able to renovate, but that’s certainly costly—and perhaps not an option if you’re renting. 

But where some see a problem, IKEA hackers naturally see an opportunity. They don’t just stick to the store’s kitchen section, either! The best IKEA hacks mine every department, so you’re sure to get the most bang for your buck (and the most storage for your time). 

Here, tiny kitchen-maximizing IKEA hacks to inspire you. And up next, check out these IKEA IVAR, PAX, TRONES, and entryway hacks.

1. Make a breakfast nook.

For her kitchen renovation, Molly at Almost Makes Perfect used storage cabinets from the IKEA Nordli line to create a functional breakfast nook. Just a few throw pillows and a sheepskin rug are all it takes to complete this cozy spot.  

2. Create multi-purpose counter space.

When she needed (lots of!) additional storage in her kitchen, Courtney at Golden Boys and Me used a simple IKEA Billy bookcase with a butcher block countertop installed on the top. There’s plenty of room for extras like cookbooks, storage containers and baskets. 

Credit: IKEA

3. Incorporate moveable storage.

A storage cart, like the IKEA Raskog, is arguably one of the best ways to stash odds and ends in a small kitchen. It’s there for you when you need it, and can be easily rolled out of the way when you don’t. 

Credit: Erica Massey

4. Create a DIY kitchen island.

Believe it or not, this under $200 kitchen island is made of KALLAX shelves and an IKEA table top. 
“One thing I would recommend is to seal the table top immediately,” hacker Erica shares. “I made the mistake of eating strawberries over it before sealing and now have a little red stain on one corner!”

5. Add counter space using a…changing table?

Yes, this open cabinetry is actually two SNIGLAR changing tables with a LINNMON table top on top…all for less than $150.

6. Squeeze in a coffee bar.

Think just because you have a small kitchen, you can’t also have a luxurious coffee bar? Think again! Izzy Leonard used the IKEA METOD kitchen units to carve out space in her kitchen for a tea and coffee bar. She says some mugs are in the drawer, but her favorites are on display on simple shelves from Wayfair (combined with a few hooks). “The open shelves give us a decent amount of storage without taking up too much space, allowing the room to feel bigger than it is,” she adds.

7. Use a wardrobe as your pantry.

When you have a super small kitchen, one concern is always where to put the food. Instead of using your limited cabinet space, try turning an IKEA wardrobe into a pantry like Sarah from The Sarah Challenge did. “This project was definitely worth the time and effort to convert,” she says. “The pantry is still in use and provides vital storage in my kitchen.”

8. Or use a BILLY bookcase for food storage.

Try turning your slim BILLY bookcase into a pantry like Jasmine from Feeling Nifty did. The glass door allows for pretty baskets to be on display, while the bottom part of the door allows you a little hiding room for your snacks and dry goods that you might not want out in the open.

Credit: Sofia Clara

9. Add vertical storage.

“With limited drawer space in a small kitchen, this idea worked really well for all those bulky utensils that are tricky to squeeze into one small drawer,” says Sofia Clara. She used the IKEA FINTORP bar to create a functional, yet easy-on-the-eyes place for her utensils (and plants!). 

10. Create multi-purpose counter space.

Sofia Clara also used two IKEA FINNVARD legs to create a multi-purpose kitchen unit for her space. “It’s easy to make and I’ve had it for five years now and it’s still in great condition,” she says. This piece serves as a countertop and a tabletop—plus has plenty of space underneath for food (or wine!) storage to boot.

11. Tweak off-the-shelf cabinetry.

Marcia Mihotich and partner Durell wanted the whole interior of their beach house to be covered in the same type of wood—a strategy that helps small spaces look bigger. But, Mihotich says, “that’s not something you can get off-the-shelf. It requires a bit of DIY. Also, we wanted decent pullout drawers and fittings and didn’t want to build those.”

To get their custom look, they installed IKEA cabinets and an IKEA stainless steel sink and countertop, and then covered the cabinets in plywood. After adding garlic boxes from their local farm shop to create shelves on the wall, the whole space pulses with charm—and the monochrome look gives the illusion of more space.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann