Kitchen space savers – smart ideas to maximise small kitchens

Not blessed with a big kitchen? Choosing smart gadgets and accessories can claw back a surprising amount of valuable space

There's something hugely satisfying about getting the most out of a small kitchen space. That's why we will always celebrate good kitchen space savers to provide savvy storage and extra surface space to make small kitchens work harder.

From fold-away worktops, that double as dining surfaces, to countertop storage towers to maximise and declutter worktops to gain valuable prep space there's a kitchen space saver to save any small kitchen idea from feeling overwhelmed.

Kitchen space savers: small kitchen design heroes

Many kitchen companies now offer genius solutions like pull-out and fold-down surfaces, slimline integrated appliances and vertical storage units to save space – all at affordable price points, to solve small space solutions on a budget.

Read on and discover more tricks and tips that will help you plan your kitchen efficiently, and without having to compromise on features. You'll be amazed at what you can squeeze in by taking advantage of kitchen space saver ideas!

1. Gain extra prep space with a slide-out worktop

kitchen room with pullout worktops

(Image credit: Wickes)

One of the most common small kitchen problems is that work surface space is often at a premium and counters end up cluttered and crowded without use of kitchen space savers. This clever concealed extending table top, £219, Wickes, slides out from under the main worktop giving an extra surface for food prep whenever it’s needed - and then tucks back inside so it won’t be in the way the rest of the time.

Giving an extra 810mm of worktop when extended, the handy tabletop takes up the same space as a slimline drawer and fits flush with kitchen cabinets when not in use.

2. Organise counters with clever storage

countertop tower in kitchen room containing microwave

(Image credit: Bombinate)

Discover how to organise a small kitchen by keeping essentials contained within this neat countertop tower, £92, Bombinate, that slots over a microwave. Expandable so it will work with any size of oven, it has a handy storage shelf on top that leaves plenty of ventilation space around the microwave, plus hooks on the side for hanging up must-have tools and utensils.

3. Slot in an under-cabinet storage rack

kitchen room with under-cupboard storage rack and kitchen sink

(Image credit: IKEA)

Organise sinkside essentials with this neat under-cupboard storage rack, from £9, IKEA, that also features a built-in drainer for crockery and glassware.

Brilliant for a small kitchen or rental property, the adjustable small kitchen storage rack slots into place and is tightened to secure, so no drilling is required. Slot-on kitchen space savers include hooks, tubs, mini shelves and a kitchen roll holder, so you can tweak the set-up to suit your requirements.

4. Organise a wall-hung drinks station

kitchen room with kitchen shelves kitchen cabinets and white walls

(Image credit: aplaceforeverything)

It makes sense to keep all your tea and coffee making kit together so you’re not scrabbling around for tea spoons or your favourite syrup when in need of an early-morning brew. To keep things contained, look outside the box and towards kitchen wall ideas.

This useful wall-hung organiser set-up, from £65, aplaceforeverything, will keep all the essentials contained and will free-up valuable worktop space in a galley kitchen or tight space. Part of a modular storage system, the range includes wall racks, shelves, hooks and rails, just put the different components together to suit your storage needs and fit the available wall space.

5. Opt for a multi-tasking wall unit in a small kitchen

kitchen having metal wall racks sink and wall clock on wall

(Image credit: Argos)

Space can be super-tight in a narrow galley kitchen, but making use of wall space at the end of a run of units is a nifty way of squeezing in kitchen space saver ideas and storage without taking up valuable floor space.

This steel shelving system, £26, Argos, fits neatly on an end wall and includes two wall-mounted rails with mini hook-on shelves, utensil pot, kitchen roll holder and book rack with space for a couple of favourite cookery books.

6. Go for storage on the side

kitchen with towels oven gloves and scissors

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Wasted space in small kitchen layouts, such as on the side of a fridge/freezer is a prime location for working in some extra kitchen storage. This ingenious rack, £63, Wayfair, has super-strong magnets on the reverse, so it can be easily attached to any metallic surface (and removed again) so there’s no need for any drilling or fixings.

Use the top shelf to slot in essentials, like kitchen foil and cling film, while there’s a holder for kitchen paper in the centre and an extra rail and hooks below for tea towels, oven gloves and scissors, so all the essentials are within easy reach and countertops stay clear.

7. Make space for a mini trolley

room with small mini trolley with food items

(Image credit: IKEA)

An ‘overspill’ trolley at the end of a run of kitchen units is a fab example of multipurpose kitchen space savers by clearing extra counter space and ensuring that essential supplies are within easy reach when you’re preparing food or cooking a meal.

This neat, slimline trolley, £50, IKEA, has mesh baskets that provide ventilation to keep fruit and vegetables fresher for longer and has a clever triangular shape that makes what's stored inside both easier to see and easier to access.

8. Save space with clever in-cupboard organisers

kitchen shelves with food items in glass containers

(Image credit: JosephJoseph)

Crowded cupboards are one of the downsides of a small room and it can be a struggle trying to squeeze everything in. But a few clever kitchen storage ideas here and there can free up valuable space inside cupboards and make the contents easier to identify.

This under-shelf organiser, £12, Joseph Joseph, makes use of space beneath shelves that often gets wasted and is a super-useful way of storing kitchen foil, cling film or parchment, instead of boxes rattling around lost at the back of cupboards. Simply slot rolls, tubes or boxes in and everything is more easily to hand when you next reach for a roll of kitchen foil.

9. Sort and store household recyclables

space saving storage box with wooden lid

(Image credit: Orthex)

Make sorting the recycling a doddle, with this kitchen space savers nifty storage box, £85, Not A Boring Box, that tucks in at the end of a row of kitchen units. With individual inserts inside, for sorting cans, plastics, glass or other waste, each caddy has a handle for easy lifting and carrying outside. 

Multifunctional, the box comes complete with sturdy wooden lid and (with a weight capacity of 100kg) can double up as a mini seat too, so would work equally well in a hallway.

10. Put under-cupboard plinths to good use

underneath cabinets with drawers in black colour

(Image credit: Magnet)

Dead space underneath cabinets can be called into action if kitchen space is really tight. This slimline drawer from Magnet slots into the space (that might otherwise be wasted) and makes a handy spot for storing flat items like baking trays and chopping boards or even table linens and tea towels.

And to make out-of-reach kitchen cupboards easier to access, consider this extendable mini plinth ladder that gives enough extra height to access top cabinets and folds neatly away inside a plinth drawer when not needed. This is great for how to make a small kitchen look bigger, too, as the cabinetry is out of direct eyeline.

11. Turn your sink into a workstation

kitchen sink in black colour with draining rack and chopping board

(Image credit: Caple; Axle)

Whether or not you decide to fit a dishwasher, you'll need some sort of kitchen sink ideas for soaking, straining and rinsing. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice workspace if you look to kitchen space saver ideas. Buy a modular sink with added accessories, and suddenly, a nuisance hole in your worktop becomes the most useful area in your kitchen.

You could fit a chopping board or draining rack over the top, or slot in a colander for straining vegetables. Some systems even offer an ice bucket for chilling drinks – fill it with ice, add a bottle of fizz, and toast an excellent design decision.

12. Keep cooking compact on a domino hob

domino hob with induction oven and frying pan

(Image credit: TBC)

Incorporate how you cook into your kitchen space saver ideas. Domino hobs are ideal for compact spaces or a small kitchen island where a full-size hob is not practical. You can choose from a large gas wok burner or two smaller gas burners, a flexible electric induction zone that can handle up to a couple of pans at a time, or a double electric ceramic hob.

Barbecue grills, griddle plates, steamers and even deep fat fryers are other, more creative, options, but if you're short on space you'll probably want to stick with standard gas, ceramic or induction rings. 

13. Fit a steaming water tap and ditch the kettle

kitchen with kitchen sink and brick walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachèl Reeve)

Why have a kettle hogging precious space on the worktop, when you could switch out your mixer tap for one that also dispenses boiling water? An all-in-one best boiling water tap will typically deliver steaming, hot and cold water from one spout, and in some cases, filtered or even sparkling cold water, too.

Most of these nifty kitchen space savers can be easily retrofitted into your sink or worktop in place of the existing tap. However, you’ll need to find space in the cupboard beneath for a water tank. These range in size between two and five litres, but if you’re really short on space.

Style wise, there's lots of choice, too. InSinkErator’s contemporary 3IN1 tap alone is available in seven finishes, including copper and black.

14. Clean up with a dinky dishwasher

wooden freestanding tabletop dishwashers

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you've ever had a dishwasher, you probably won't ever want to be without one. And if you haven't, trust us, the time and arguments it saves are reason enough to squeeze one in using kitchen appliance layouts to your advantage. 

Small, six-place-setting freestanding tabletop dishwashers can help keep the tiniest kitchen organized. Pull-out dishdrawers like the one above are pricey, but will give your kitchen added wow factor. Or you could look for compact 45cm tall dishwashers that can be built in seamlessly next to your oven. All are invaluable kitchen space savers worth investing in, especially for busy households.

Just remember, if you do choose a super-compact dishwasher, you will still need to connect it to a water supply and waste as you would a full-size design.

15. Clear the air with a unobtrusive extractor

kitchen with kitchen cabinets wooden floooring and wooden table with chairs

(Image credit: IKEA)

You could try to do without an extractor in a small kitchen, but it's not a good idea. With nothing to clean the air of grease and grime, both will build up on shelves and above units. And cooking smells will quickly permeate soft furnishings like blinds.

Besides, it's easy enough to squeeze one in. One budget option is the Lagan wall-mounted extractor hood, £40, IKEA, but whatever your budget you'll find neat kitchen space savers, like recirculating cooker hoods no wider than your wall units, slim enough to fit cabinets above or even to use as a shelf.

You'll need to spend money to get something powerful, but in a small space, most models will be more than up to the job.

16. Free up a wall with plinth heaters

electric fan assisted plinth heaters for kitchen

(Image credit: Wickes)

How's this for a smart kitchen space saver?! Radiators keep you cosy, but they also have a habit of hogging wall space. Free up that space by replacing then with electric plinth heaters, £189, Wickes, that sit in the dead area under your base unit.

Just one of these electric fan-assisted heaters should be able to warm up a small kitchen in 10 minutes. They're easy to install into a standard electrical system and run quietly, too.

17. Avoid trailing wires with a charging pad

charging pad for wireless charging

(Image credit: TBC)

How often have you gone to use the toaster or microwave only to find the plug has been pulled in favour of a charging phone or rechargeable small kitchen lighting ideas? Or perhaps you're just sick of chargers and wires strewn over the worktop. Install a charging pad, and you'll free up plug space, and maybe even cut down the number of sockets you need.

Pads, like the Integrated Qi Compatible Wireless Charger, £72, Wickes, are an affordable example of kitchen space saver ideas. Or, if you'd prefer something seamless, Corian can integrate wireless charging into its composite worktops.

18. Fit storage on the inside of doors

over door hanging rack for storage of food items in kitchen

(Image credit: Wilko)

The key to successful planning in a small kitchen is to utilise every last surface and space for your kitchen space savers. One way to do this is to attach storage for bottles and jars to the inside of your cupboard doors – or even to the back of the kitchen door itself.

19. Fold away a small table solution with hidden storage

magnet table plus used in kitchen with wall mounted cabinets

(Image credit: Magnet)

If you only have a shallow space to play with, the Magnet Table Plus (right) folds down from a wall-mounted cabinet, revealing open shelving for glasses and crockery. So simple, yet so effective.

So there you have it – proof that a small kitchen can still be big on functionality, whatever your budget.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.