11 Ways to Take Back the Counters in Your Small Kitchen

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated December 17, 2021
bright white kitchen clean home
Photo: rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock

More countertop calm, less calamity

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

You splurged on gorgeous granite countertops but can’t even see them thanks to loads of clutter—keys, papers, appliances, and crocks of tools. Now your small kitchen looks even tinier, and you barely have room to prepare meals. Read on for smart strategies to regain workspace and style.

1. Pare Down Your Possessions

A general rule of thumb: Only keep things you use every. single. day. on your countertops. Everything else gets sold, donated, or stored. Even if you think you need it, you’ll likely discover redundancies taking up some serious space, along with appliances you only use a few times a year.

2. Choose Smaller Tools

When deciding which small appliances to buy, err on the side of compactness. Instead of a toaster oven, go with a toaster. If you don’t need a large-capacity blender, purchase a smaller one.   

3. Use the Ceiling

Look up for another storage opportunity, and move items from the countertops and into this unused space. Hang a pot rack from the ceiling, and suspend baskets, which you can fill with onions and garlic or towels, potholders, and dishcloths.

4. Take Advantage of the Walls

Secure a wine rack and pegboard to the wall. On the board, hang pots, bakeware, mugs, and utensils, like handheld strainers and wooden spoons. If you don’t have small children, consider keeping knives on a wall-mounted magnetic knife holder.

5. Put More Items in Cabinets and Drawers

It’s convenient to keep your toaster and coffee machine on the counter. However, they take up valuable room and make your kitchen look cluttered. Instead, store items like these in your cabinets, pull them out when using them, and immediately put them away. You may need to organize your cabinets first to free up some space. 

6. Add Cabinets

grey kitchen cabinets
Photo: Ursula Page / Adobe Stock

Put in more cabinets so you can store frequent counter hogs, like food processors and rice cookers. Try adding cabinets or shelves above your fridge for cookbooks, flour, and sugar canisters. Create an appliance garage (cabinet storage hidden by a door) for a coffee station or large appliances like a standing mixer. 

Call a local cabinet contractor if you need a pro to install new cabinetry. On average, wood cabinet installation costs about $130 to $200 per cabinet. 

7. Try an Island

kitchen with marble island
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

If you have the space, add a kitchen cart or kitchen island. Look for one with plenty of storage underneath in the form of drawers, cabinets, or shelves. 

8. Store Items Outside Your Kitchen

Keep equipment you don’t use on a regular basis, like a pasta machine or ramekins, elsewhere. Try the garage, pantry, mudroom, or basement. To avoid lugging heavy equipment, only go this route for lighter-weight tools. 

9. Create a Charging and Message Station Elsewhere

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but with frequent comings and goings, phones, chargers, papers, writing tools, keys, and other miscellaneous items tend to accumulate on the kitchen counter. To prevent this from happening, designate a station in another space (like a mudroom or nearby office) for these items. 

10. Use Adjacent Space as a Countertop

stairs to front door entrance
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

When baking, employ your kitchen table as a surface for rolling out dough. Or call on a sideboard to hold bowls of fruits and vegetables. 

11. Maintain Your Countertops

If you keep your countertop surfaces clean and shiny, you’ll want to display—rather than hide—them. Make a habit of cleaning your countertops daily and sealing and polishing them if necessary.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.