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There's more room to be had in your small spaces.

By Maryn Liles
January 08, 2020
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When you're short on counter space, every inch counts. But learning how to create extra counter space in a small kitchen is actually easier than you might think.

It starts with reimagining how the rest of your kitchen storage is working so you can use your countertops exclusively for meal prep, rather than storage. This will keep it clutter-free, making your kitchen feel instantly more roomy.

These 12 smart storage solution ideas and tips for how to create extra counter space in a tiny kitchen will solve all your small counter space woes in a snap.

1. Install shelves.

When counter space is at a minimum, even items you use daily — like your pretty copper coffee press — can't be left sitting out. Installing shelves can give you a place to stash things you use regularly, when both counter space and storage space are lacking. You can use baskets to corral smaller items, too.

2. Add hooks.

KUNGSFORS Rail, stainless steel,
Credit: IKEA

When you're short on horizontal space, think vertically. Whether you use removable adhesive hooks or install a metal rod, like this one, and hang cooking utensils and the like from S-hooks, you'll regain a bit of counter space by ditching the container that once held them.

Buy it: Kungsford Stainless Steel Rail, $6; Ikea.com and Kungsford Stainless Steel S-Hooks (5 Pack), $3; Ikea.com

3. Utilize the insides of your cabinet doors.

Canipe Lid Rack Cabinet Door Organizer
Credit: Birch Lane

Mounting shelves or storage racks for your pot lids to the inside of your cabinet doors is yet another effective way to make your tiny kitchen feel more organized. Plus, with every little bit of cabinet space that's now free, you can take one more thing off of your kitchen counters to save space.

Buy it: Canipe Lid Rack Cabinet Door Organizer, $15; BirchLane.com

4. Hang a magnetic knife strip.

Modern Innovations 16 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar
Credit: Amazon

Do away with your bulky knife block by hanging your knives on a magnetic knife bar instead. This space-saving solution is a better alternative than stashing them in a drawer, where they could get jiggled around and become dull more quickly.

Buy it: Modern Innovations 16-Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar, $17; Amazon.com

5. Mount your paper towel holder.

iDesign Forma Metal Swivel Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder Dispenser
Credit: Amazon

Conserve precious counter space by installing a hanging paper towel holder underneath your cabinets. Think strategically when hanging it, so it won't get in your way if your countertops are especially narrow — but underneath the cabinet closest to your sink is usually your best bet.

Buy it: iDesign Forma Copper Wall Mount Paper Towel Holder, $18; Amazon.com

6. Store odds and ends on your windowsill.

Your windowsill is like a built-in shelf, so don't forget to use it! Whether you keep your favorite coffee mugs there or cover it with your spice collection, it'll give you a tiny bit of extra square footage.

7. Make use of that extra space above your cabinets.

For items you use less frequently, like the punch bowl you only pull out during Christmas, store them in the extra space above your kitchen cabinets. Not only will your prettier items be on display, they'll help you free up cabinet space, so you can keep the things you use more regularly easily accessible.

8. Get a cutting board that covers your sink.

Prepworks by Progressive Over-the-Sink Cutting Board
Credit: Amazon

When you don't have enough room for both a mixing bowl and a cutting board to be out at the same time, using an extendable, over-the-sink option with a removable silicone colander could solve your counter space dilemma. There are also versions that go over an open drawer rather than your sink, if that's more your style.

Buy it: Prepworks by Progressive Over-the-Sink Cutting Board, $23; Amazon.com

9. Use a rolling storage cart as a portable kitchen island.

Sydney Kitchen Cart in Grey
Credit: Bed Bath & Beyond

Adding a kitchen island will instantly boost the amount of counter space in your kitchen. But when space is a premium, a built-in option isn't always possible. In that case, a rolling storage cart with a butcher block top is a smart choice.

Buy it: Sydney Kitchen Cart, $198; BedBathandBeyond.com

10. Install a wall-mounted microwave.

Over-the-Range Microwave
Credit: Lowe's

Don't waste counter space on your microwave. There are tons of affordable wall-mounted microwaves that can be installed over your stove, like this one, which will free up counter space for meal prep and other things.

Buy it: Over-the-Range Stainless Steel Microwave, $139; Lowes.com

11. Consider adding a fold-down countertop.

If you have a blank wall, you can install a fold-down counter that's totally out of the way when not in use. Plus, in especially small kitchens, it doubles as a place to eat, too.

12. Corral smaller items using wire baskets and trays.

Lipper Solid Bamboo Tray
Credit: Target

Any item you can use to corral smaller items you need sitting out will do wonders for your small counter space situation. Whether you use an attractive tray to keep the coffee-making supplies you have sitting out contained or a wire basket to stash the fresh produce you bought at the farmer's market inside, a pretty storage container or two will come in handy time and time again.

Buy it: Lipper Solid Bamboo Tray, $17.39; target.com

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