How to make more counter space in a small kitchen?

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Is cooking and entertaining in your small kitchen difficult? A studio-size kitchen is a challenge to work in, but a few small kitchen organization ideas and a couple of hours of your time can turn your teeny kitchen into a modern, minimalist dream for cooking and celebrating.

We’ve got five inspiring, small kitchens for you that rock. They’re full of ideas on how you can declutter your kitchen in fresh, new ways. We’ve also included some small kitchen organization products that will help you reclaim or add new counter space and find a home for all the clutter that likes to hang out on your counters.

1. Light, bright and industrial small kitchen

This industrial chic small kitchen organization features restaurant-style shelves and bars. Image: Fresh Photo House

First off, consider painting your kitchen in a light, bright white to freshen it up. Or cover the dark, outdated walls or cabinet doors with a fresh, new removable wallpaper.

Next, it’s time to throw out those cans of hearts of palm you never use and decide what else stays or goes. Once you’ve got a good idea of how much you’re working with, it’s time to find a home for everything that’s left.

Store what isn’t attractive in your cabinets. The rest of the items can display on new, industrial, restaurant-style shelves, bars and hooks like in the photo above.

Get the look:

Grundtal Stainless Steel Wall Shelf at Ikea, $20Grundtal Hooks (5 pack) at Ikea, $4Tjusig Rack at Ikea, $30Acacia Magnetic Knife Strip at Crate & Barrel, $49.95

2. Small modern kitchen featuring a modular, rolling island

A rolling cart can serve many purposes including extra counter space, storage and an eating area. Image: Lisa Lev Design

In many small kitchens there isn’t much counter space to work with. Basic appliances like a coffee maker or microwave can eat up the little space you have. There are solutions. Choose appliances that can be wall-mounted or under-cabinet mounted. Or add a heavy-duty wall-mounted shelf to hold heavy appliances like a microwave.

A small kitchen island can add extra counter space as well as storage — and even a breakfast bar. Small, round or square islands work better in smaller square spaces. Consider a longer narrow island for a rectangular space. A sofa console on wheels would be a great idea in a longer, galley kitchen. You can roll it into a kitchen as needed and then put it back behind your sofa when done.

Butcher blocks or bar carts are other great options because they often come with wheels to roll your island out of the way. A taller cart works well with barstools.

Crosley Kitchen Cart with Butcher Block Top, $193Chef Buddy 4-Tier Kitchen Cart at Wayfair, $37Carlisle Metal Barstools (set of 2) at Target, $90Grundtal Kitchen Cart at Ikea, $149

Origami Folding Kitchen Cart at The Container Store, $119 Comet Kitchen Cart at AllModern, $146 Woodland Imports Barstool at Wayfair, $97 Chris & Chris Pro Chef Kitchen Island Work Station at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $560

3. A contemporary small kitchen with floating wall shelves for storage

Add floating shelves to your kitchen wall to move items off the counter and onto the walls. Image: Nathalie Priem

If you don’t have enough kitchen cabinets but plenty of wall space, a clean, contemporary way to free up your kitchen counters is to display and store items on cool floating shelves or ledges like the kitchen above.

Want to give your kitchen a high-design look like the photo? Group the items by color and add some art objects or framed photos. Leave some areas of the ledges empty so they don’t look too cluttered.

Another great design choice in the image above is the use of mirror on the backsplash. Add some mirror to a section of your wall behind the countertop to expand the space and reflect more light.

Corner Block Wood Shelf at CB2, $299 Ekeby Mossby Stainless Steel Floating Shelf at Ikea, $76 Slice Wall Mounted Shelf at CB2, $170 Java Mantel Floating Shelves at The Container Store, $25 – $35

4. Small kitchen organization ideas featuring bookcases

Creative uses of non-kitchen bookcases and hooks can add lots of space to a small apartment kitchen. Image: Gut Gut

Adding or replacing kitchen cabinets can be expensive. And if you rent, the project may not even be allowed. Why not buy some good, inexpensive bookcases and make a storage wall for all your kitchen items?

Look for taller but narrow bookcases and mix and match doors to hide some of the items. Or a selection of baskets can serve as drawers in your bookcases, ready to catch all the smaller items and linens.

Another interesting small kitchen idea in the image above is the hooks over the window for hanging pots and pans. Pots and pans take up a lot of space and hanging them from a pot rack or hooks is a good way to free up a cabinet or counter.

Wall Mounted Pot Rack at AllModern, $68 Stairway Wall Mounted Bookcase at CB2, $349 Ceiling Mounted Wooden Pot Rack at AllModern, $32 Billy Narrow Bookcase at Ikea, $90

5. A minimalist kitchen that brings many small apartment organization ideas together

Small kitchen pot, pan and utensils storage on the wall. Image: Trevor Brown Architect

This beautiful and clutter-free kitchen works because most elements are multipurpose. A low bookcase with a mounted countertop creates an island with storage and counter surface. The cubbies can even hold small appliances. More than a dozen knives are kept in a small knife block on the counter.

A wall-mounted stainless steel bar can hold cooking utensils and with hooks, even coffee mugs or smaller pots and pans. The wall-mounted wine glass holder can also serve as a floating ledge.

Wood Designs Island 15 Compartment Cubby with Casters at Wayfair, $640 Fintorp Rail at Ikea, $10 Enclume Standing 8-Tier Pot Rack at Crate and Barrel, $350 Chrome Undershelf Wine Glass Rack at The Container Store, $15

Haviland 10 Bottle Wall Mounted Wine Rack at AllModern, $110 Bamboo Magnetic KNIFEdock at The Container Store, $30 Rogar Double Bookshelf Wall Mount Pot Rack at hayneedle, $112 JK Adams Maple 5-Bottle Wall Mounted Wine Rack at hayneedle, $66

21 Ideas For Extra Kitchen Counter Space In A Small Apartment

In a small apartment, extra kitchen counter space is hard to come by. You kind of have to deal with what you have and what you have is almost never enough.

But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for one measly scrap of space.

There are two ways to create extra kitchen counter space in a small apartment:

  • adding counter space
  • making extra counter space

The first one is pretty straightforward. You add counter space by investing in a kitchen island, a rolling counter cart, and any other kind of surface that gives you more area to work with.

The second one is where we get creative. Any counter accumulates clutter. Necessary clutter, for sure, but clutter nonetheless. This includes utensils, spices, towels, jars, cans, appliances, and every other et cetera you can see in your kitchen.

So to make extra counter space we need to take all this necessary clutter off the counter and bring it somewhere else. This means that we need to find more storage solutions that will a) find a proper placement for your things; b) take up minimal space; c) not disrupt your cooking workflow.

This list is a healthy mix of both approaches.

So prepare to see a lot of foldable, hanging, over-the-something kitchen counter space savers that will help you with the headache that cooking in a small kitchen can be.

Let’s go.


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Over-the-sink kitchen storage station

This is, without a doubt, the ultimate kitchen counter space saver.

Using the empty space above the sink, it combines a dish and bowl rack, knife and cutlery holders, cutting board rack, a basket for detergent and sponges, another basket for fruits and vegetables, and 6 hooks to boot.

You can adjust and remove the parts to match this space saver to your kitchen workflow. Expanding on that, you can use the cutting board rack, for example, to store pot lids. It’s always hard to find a proper place for them.

This wonder space saver is available in two versions depending on the width of your sink. One is suitable for sinks equal or smaller than 32 1/2 inches (82 cm) and the other one is for sinks equal or smaller than 33 1/2 inches (85 cm). Don’t eyeball it and make sure to take the right measurements. It will be worth it.


Everything that sits on your counter can reside on this storage rack. Even transferring utensils and dish racks onto it will give you extra kitchen counter space. Same goes for fruits and vegetables that don’t belong in the fridge. Basically, with this thing over the sink, you can get as creative as you want with storage and it will still result in one thing – more counter space. Cheers to that!

Buy it here

Foldable rolling counter cart

Do you want additional counter space on demand? Your wish is my command.

This folding kitchen counter can be set up every time you cook. This way, you get more space to do the prepping and cutting. Afterward, just fold it and store it under the bed or behind the kitchen door.

Alternatively, you can keep it around as a small rolling kitchen island. With two additional bottom shelves and a solid iron frame, you can load it with 100 lbs worth of stuff.

It would also do a great job as a buffet on wheels or a bar island whenever you have some guests over.

If your kitchen has little to no floor space, this foldable kitchen island is ideal. You get an additional work surface whenever you need without permanently cluttering an already crowded space.

Additionally, it gives you plenty of new storage space and can double as a cutting board, microwave or slow cooker stand.

Buy it here

Wall-mounted kitchen rail

Show of hands, who else keeps their kitchen utensils on a counter?

For the longest time, I did too. Until I, once again, knocked it over while rolling pizza dough. The racket was loud and glorious. The cat was traumatized and pissed off. The counter was a mess.

You probably already see where this fascinating tale is going – to get extra kitchen counter space the utensils need to go.

While storing them in a drawer is a viable option, keeping your utensils on a wall rail is a lot more comfortable. You don’t want to rummage through the drawers while your bechamel sauce is on its merry way to escape the pot.

Most of these hanging utensils racks require drilling. But if you are renting or just don’t want to mess up the wall, you can try the no drilling option.

Removing the utensils is great for adding counter space to your kitchen. You can hang all kinds of things on this rack, even the oven mitts, tea towels, cleaning brushes, and even planter pots. All while saving space.

Buy it here

Wall-mounted drop-leaf table

If you have an empty wall, you can have additional counter space.

This wall-mounter folding table is ideal for a small space. It can fold two ways – flat against the wall or leaving a small shelf for storage. You can mount it at any height you want and it can double as a desk or dining table.

This table provides an additional flat surface in a small kitchen. While it won’t probably withstand any heavy chopping or hold iron cast cookware, it is ideal for storing smaller items that crowd the counter.

Buy it here

Foldable over-the-sink dish drying rack

Another way to create extra kitchen counter space is to give your sink an additional purpose.

A dish-drying purpose.

You can use this roll-up mat to quickly turn the sink into a dish drying rack. Simply unfold it and place on the sink. The silicone edges will keep it in place while you dry the dishes and glasses over it.

This mat can also double as a cooling rack thanks to its heat-resistant quality.

After everything is said and done, it rolls up for easy storage which is always a plus in a tiny kitchen.

With the sink drying the dishes, you can retire the bulky dish drying rack and free up the counter.

Also, you can cool piping hot baking sheets over the sink without crowding or ruining the counter. Happy cooking!

Buy it here

Deep over-the-sink dish drying rack

In a similar fashion, this drying rack also gives your sink something else to do.

Shaped as a more traditional dish rack, it is more oriented towards drying plates while still leaving enough space for glasses and cups.

Even if you use a dishwasher, this will be great for drying stray dishes that didn’t make the cut.

Designed to fit most of the sinks, the dish-holding part measures 13” x 8.27” x 4.92” (33cm x 21cm x 12cm). When combined with the outer handles, the whole over-the-sink drying rack measures 20.28” x 8.27” x 4.92” (51cm x 21cm x 12cm).

You will get extra counter space by relegating the dish-drying duties to the sink. It also looks stylish, clean, and overall makes the kitchen look neater by “hiding” the dishes inside the sink.

Buy it here

Multipurpose kitchen counter storage rack

When all else fails, get more shelves.

If you have any free space in the kitchen, this shelving unit is the one that needs to fill it. With its sturdy frame, it can hold up to 176lbs (80kg) so all your cookbooks, pots, pans, and even a microwave or a slow cooker can go there.

The shelves give you plenty of versatility and can serve as a small pantry or storage space for larger appliances.

The unit measures 35.4”L x 15.7”W x 33”H (90cm x 40cm x 84cm). It is just high enough to serve as an extra counter. You can prep the food on it, roll the dough, keep mixing bowls and dishes on it, and plenty of other stuff to boot. With extra shelves and baskets underneath, it’s a perfect solution for a small kitchen.

Buy it here

Over-the-stove cutting board

This cutting board has legs and it’s ready to rumble.

On the surface, this is a premium grain bamboo cutting board that every cooking extraordinaire wants to have in their kitchen. It also has “juice traps” on the sides that catch extra moisture that can escape from the food during the chopping process. This makes the prepping process more hygienic and prevents cross-contamination. I’d like to thinks that Gordon Ramsay would approve.

But there’s more than just “juice traps” to this board. In a true kitchen counter space-saving fashion, you can attach legs to it and place it over a gas or electric stove. This will give you additional space to do all the mincing business while sparing the counters. And it comes in 4 different sizes so you can perfectly match it to your kitchen setup.

Since you’ll be using the stove for all the mincing and chopping business, the counter will be free as a bird. You can then use the counter to store prepped ingredients, cookbooks, baking sheets, bowl, and anything else you’ll need during the cooking process.

Apart from the cooking, this cutting board can turn your stove into a handy side table during the day. You can never have enough surface space in a small apartment.

Buy it here

Extendable over-the-sink cutting board & strainer

This patented over-the-sink cutting board has two things going for it.

One, it is expandable. This allows you to comfortably fit it over the sink without sacrificing storage space. The non-skid surface keeps the board securely in place while you do the chopping.

Two, this cutting board has a built-in colander. You can wash and chop vegetables in the same spot. The colander can be taken out for a proper rinse and it collapses for easy storage after the cooking is done.

The kitchen counter remains free while you do the mincing.

Washing and then transferring vegetables to a cutting board usually leaves a wet mess behind. A cutting board combined with a strainer allows you to do both in one place and keep water spillage to a minimum.

Buy it here

Rolling utility carts

Buy it here

A rolling cart is the fastest way to some extra kitchen counter space.

You can move this rolling cart around so it never gets in the way of the cooking process.

It has a metal pegboard on the side that you can customize with 3 included baskets. It should also work for other pegboard accessories.

You can also transfer your most-used spices into magnetic round containers and keep them on the side of the cart.

Buy it here

This rolling cart is more advanced and gives you not only storage space, but also an additional surface to work on. The drawers allow for silverware storage and the shelves are ready to be filled with everything that’s cluttering the counter. It also features a drop-leaf additional surface that makes the cart easier to store in a small kitchen. The 2 of the 4 wheels lock for when you need a bit more stability.

Everything that sits on your counter can now reside on this rolling cart.

Here is just a small list of things you can keep on the cart and off the counter:

  • kitchen utensils
  • tea towels and oven mitts
  • spices
  • containers and jars
  • saucepans
  • kettle and french press
  • oil, vinegar, and other liquids
  • coffee and tea
  • root vegetables

That’s just from looking at my own rolling cart. A very persistent cat sometimes also appears in the mix.

Cabinet door organizer

In a small kitchen, it can be hard to find a place for even a few cutting boards.

This organizer can be hooked onto a cabinet door or mounted on a wall. You can use it to store cutting boards, baking pans, cookie sheets, and food wrappers.

Only make sure that your sheets and pans will fit. The basket without hooks measures 13.5” x 9.5” x 3.62” (34cm x 24cm x 9cm). But if you hang it over the cabinet the height will measure approximately 18.5” (47cm).

If you used to keep cutting boards in a cabinet, freeing it up will give you more storage space. Anything that crowds the counter can be now kept in there.

And if you used to prop cutting boards against the sink faucet, you might want to put an over-the-sink organizer there instead. Extra kitchen counter space guaranteed.

Buy it here

Narrow 3-tier rolling storage cart

Got any narrow nooks in the kitchen? Like between a fridge and a counter or a wall?

Instead of letting it collect dust and spiders, use it to create extra storage space.

This rolling cart was designed to fit into narrow places like these. It is less than 7” (17cm) wide but its 3-tier design gives you plenty of storage space.

Having a pantry in a small kitchen is sort of an impossible dream. But this rolling cart comes pretty close.

Unlike the rolling carts, this narrow organizer takes up little to no floor space. And since it hides in a nook, the kitchen will look much neater and cleaner.

You can turn this rack into a small pantry oh wheels. Keep oils, spices, and root vegetables in close reach and off the counter.

This will give you a lot more working surface in the kitchen.

Buy it here

Fridge storage shelves

Buy it here

Adding counter space to a kitchen means taking advantage of every other surface in the room.

This includes your refrigerator.

This organizer rack hooks onto the side of your fridge. It gives you 3 tall shelves with an additional rack at the bottom. This whole structure measures almost 30” (76cm)

giving you plenty of storage space.

Buy it here

Now, your counters might be too tall or the side of your fridge is to close to the kitchen doors.

In this case, the fridge organizer above will be better suited for you. It has a powerful magnetic base that will readily stick to the front of your refrigerator.

The organizer measures only 18” (45cm) and gives you 2 tall shelves with an additional paper towel holder. It can hold up to 17 lbs (7.7kg) and stick to any metal surface.

A fridge organizer is a perfect way to add extra kitchen counter space for any renter. It effectively gives you several hanging shelves with no drilling or wall damage.

You can take everything you have on the counters and place it onto the shelves. This includes spices, paper and kitchen towels, condiments, jars, bottles…

Seriously, anything can find a new home on your fridge.

Hanging cabinet hooks

We’ve already established that to create additional counter space utensils need to go.

If you are reluctant to do any drilling or sticking, you can use these cabinet hooks to store your spatulas and ladles.

Slide it onto the bottom panel of the cabinet and tighten it with a discreet screw. This keeps the hooks in place despite the weight or the utensils and cups.

Your utensils are once again off the counter giving you more space. Now, they are neatly organized right within your reach on 6 handy hooks. No drilling or sticking involved.

Buy it here

Rolling microwave storage cart

A microwave, unless built-in, takes up a lot of space on the counter.

It is a convenient thing to have, no doubt. But in a small kitchen, the cons keep piling on. It hogs that precious counter space with no compromises. If it sits too close to the stove because the only outlet is near the stove…Well, let’s just say I’ve been there and I’ve melted the microwave just a bit.

This tray was designed to solve this problem. You plop the microwave onto it and wheel it in only when needed. Plug it in, cook, plug it out, and off it goes to a secure nook with no flames in reach.

It’s got a 50-pound weight capacity and it measures 15” x 21” x 36.7” (38cm x 53cm x 93cm). Additionally, it sports 4 chrome hooks on the side and 2 shelves that you can adjust to your liking. Basically, it’s more storage space on wheels. Yay!

Nothing can give you more extra kitchen counter space than relocating the microwave. With it out of the way and on the tray, you’ll have a whole new area of your kitchen to explore. You’ll also get extra storage from the shelves and additional hooks.

Plus, your kitchen will look a lot lighter and ready for fun decorating experiments with the bulky microwave out of the way.

Buy it here

Wall-mounted fruits and vegetables storage baskets

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is incredibly good for you. But not so much for your limited counter space.

Let me elaborate.

Not all of them belong in the fridge. So what do you do? Throw them on the floor? Keep them under the sink? Dump them on the counter?

If you opt for the latter, your usable counter space shrinks significantly to the point where you can’t even make a cup of coffee without it landing on a banana.

This 3-tier hanging basket is the perfect way to store fruits and vegetables.

Keeping them on display adds a fresh and colorful atmosphere to the room. You can label each basket with chalk to keep organized, prevent some fruits from aging too quickly, and to add a nice rustic detail to this storage solution.

Plus, having everything right in front of your eyes will make shopping lists a lot easier to make. No more rummaging through plastic bags for you!

The kitchen counter is no longer taken up by your latest trophies from the farmer’s market. And these baskets filled with colorful fruits and vegetables make for an amazing accent piece, don’t you think? Combine it with a fun kitchen wall art and you’ll get your self a real show stopper.

Buy it here

Cutting board with prep and storage dishes

Prepping ingredients for a stir fry or stew means one thing. Bowls with chopped vegetables everywhere. And lack of any free counter space.

This ingenious cutting board stores 4 containers inside. Position one under an opening in the board and slide chopped ingredients inside. Then you can either switch the containers or cover the filled one with a lid and pop it into the fridge.

This cutting board is a full-blown prep station and a must-have for every cook. Especially for the one confined to a small kitchen.

With this cutting board, both the chopping and the storage of ingredients takes up just a tiny bit of space. Also, with the containers having lids, you get a handy set of food containers that you don’t have to jam into a dedicated cabinet. Wherever the cutting board goes, the containers follow.

Buy it here

Over-the-microwave storage rack

While a microwave is a useful thing to have, it is deadly for your counter space.

This two-tier rack aims to elevate the microwave’s bulky presence. It gives you two shelves and 4 hooks for hanging utensils and oven mitts.

The rack measures 21.26″L x 13.39″W x 22.83″H (54cm x 34cm x 58cm). So make sure you measure your counter and cabinet height properly.

This kitchen organizer will not magically lift the microwave off the counter but it will give you more surface space to play with. You can fill the shelves with everything in sight which will give you more counter space in general.

Even if you don’t have a microwave, I’d still give this rack a go.

Buy it here

Over-the-door 15-pocket hanging organizer

If you want a pantry, you get a pantry!

This hanging organizer has 15 clear pockets you can fill with literally anything. It’s the perfect pantry alternative for a small kitchen. Canned food, spices, teas, sauces, towels, coffee machine, capsules – everything goes on the door. And off the counter.

The presence of this hanging organizer will do two things. One, stuff that clutters your counters can go right there and free up some space.

Two, it will help you organize on the go. Coming back from grocery shopping, you will no longer be tempted to just dump everything on the counter. You will have this awesome organizer that is easy to reach and even easier to use.

Buy it here

A kitchen is one of the most dynamic rooms in any home. Everything’s bubbling and brewing, appliances come and go, and new cooking hobbies are taken for a spin.

There’s always a need for more storage and counter space.

So make sure to pin this post to your “Kitchen Ideas” Pinterest board for future reference.

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

Is cooking and entertaining in your small kitchen difficult? A studio-size kitchen is a challenge to work in, but a few small kitchen organization ideas and a couple of hours of your time can turn your teeny kitchen into a modern, minimalist dream for cooking and celebrating.

We’ve got five inspiring, small kitchens for you that rock. They’re full of ideas on how you can declutter your kitchen in fresh, new ways. We’ve also included some small kitchen organization products that will help you reclaim or add new counter space and find a home for all the clutter that likes to hang out on your counters.

Make Use of Cabinet Doors

The inside of your cabinet doors is filled with possibilities for storage. Install hooks to store pans, lids, or serving and measuring spoons, or add a slim rack to stash pot lids or boxes of foil and plastic wrap.

Turn the Sink Into More Counter Space

Counter space is always at a premium, but there’s an easy fix: Get a cutting board that fits over the sink to create an extra space for chopping. Many have built-in colanders to help make prep a breeze.

Store Utensils by Type

You separate your forks, knives, and spoons, so why not your cooking utensils? Store spoons, spatulas, and whisks in separate containers so you never have to dig through a tangle of tools to find the right one.

Install Hooks for Mugs

Mugs are essential for morning coffee, but they take up shelf space and don’t stack well. A simple solution is to install hooks under a shelf or cabinet and hang mugs by their handles.

Use Bins for Bulk Items

Instead of cluttered cabinets filled with random boxes and bags, get organized with plastic bins or large glass jars. Decant bulk items into containers to keep ingredients neat and visible.