How to Remodel a Small Kitchen for Maximum Space

Remodeling little spaces demands big ideas! If you’re planning to remodel a small kitchen, you need a clear vision and the confidence to make the most of your space. By redesigning the backsplash, cabinets, and counter area, you can flip the room from cramped to clever — all by knowing these cool design tricks.

Renovating a Small Kitchen to Get the Most of your Space

Ultimately, it all comes down to strategic design. Your kitchen must be carefully laid out to reflect your unique priorities. Every detail matters, and we're not just talking about functional considerations.

Below, we highlight the most important aspects of your kitchen remodel, as well as small kitchen tile ideas that will make your space feel larger and more welcoming.

Opt for Streamlined, Contemporary Styles

It's easy for small kitchens to look and feel cluttered. It doesn't take much: intricate details that might be appealing in a larger space feel like overkill when they're forced into a compact design. Hence, the appeal of clean lines, which visually expand your kitchen while limiting the perception of clutter.

That's not to say that creative patterns need to be left out altogether, it just comes down to prioritization. Instead of incorporating every design element you find compelling, you'll need to select a single focal point that makes your kitchen pop.

For many people, this is best accomplished with statement backsplash. Paired with streamlined cabinets and understated lighting fixtures, bold backsplash styles can bring an appealing sense of movement to your small kitchen.

We're partial to the Sand Valley and Thassos mosaic, which features a lovely combination of whites and grays in an elegant leaf pattern. This matches effortlessly with neutral cabinets. Better yet, the tiles' rhythmic flow promotes the illusion of an expansive space.

Adding a Patterned Backsplash without Crowding a Small Kitchen - the Key is Keeping Colors Unified and Using Tiles that Create Movement

Less is More: When to Use Minimalist Tile Designs

While there's a lot to love about statement tiles, a minimalist approach may be preferable if you hope to bring other decorative elements to the forefront.

Subway tile is a classic option that's remained popular through the years for good reason: its clean look never fails to feel stylish, but it also allows you to draw attention to hallmark features such as bold lighting fixtures or intricate cabinet engravings.

If you want to take your subway tiles beyond the expected, play with these gorgeous Mallorca Green ceramics. This zellige design is at once dynamic and understated, bringing a soothing style to your kitchen or bathroom. Opt for a vertical stacked layout to avoid distracting grout lines.

Mallorca Green tile adds an artisanal home finish to this small kitchen with hints of olive in the glazed ceramic finish with the look of a handcrafted zellige tile

Minimalist concepts should apply to small kitchen floor tile ideas, especially if you opt for statement backsplash. Large-format floor tiles, for example, trick the eye by minimizing grout lines. This delivers a clean and decidedly appealing look that won't compete with more intricate elements, illustrated below with the Japandi Oak floor tile.

Get Playful with Vintage Small Kitchen Tile Ideas

While there's no denying the appeal of contemporary styles for snug kitchens, you don't need to avoid vintage designs altogether. Remember: the kitchens of yesteryear were often far smaller than the spaces we've come to take for granted today — but many were still visually appealing.

To keep your space feeling as roomy as possible, pair vintage tiles with modern cabinetry. We appreciate the geometric appeal of our Beige and White Carrara tiles, which provide the perfect counterpoint to minimalist white cabinets. This blend draws on the power of white, which can visually expand the smallest spaces.

1920’s inspired Art Deco kitchen hits the mark with interwoven Wooden Gray and White Carrara tile

Go even further back in time with powerful mosaics. Any small kitchen remodel can be amplified with our Azul Cielo Thassos and Carrara tiles, which pair perfectly with dark Shaker cabinets.

 For a small kitchen remodel, go for a mini fish scale tile like the Azul Cielo Thassos and Carrara tile to balance out charcoal gray Shaker cabinets and draw the eye to the main cooking area.

Nothing matches the nostalgic appeal of checkered patterns, which are inherently charming. Play these up with Carrara And Bardiglio Marble Mosaics, which draw on vintage concepts but get a fresh feel from their evocative pattern.

Discover Fresh Farmhouse Vibes

Blend the best of urban and rustic concepts with an industrial take on the farmhouse trend. This is a great opportunity to play with texture, which can make your kitchen feel more dynamic without visually diminishing the scope of the space.

Try the Brooklyn Brick tile to deliver a fresh fusion of gray and brown tones. This takes an instant step up when paired with metalwork art or a factory-style lamp.

Blending cottage and loft styles is easy with a brick-inspired feature wall in a galley kitchen for a rustic industrial apartment

Invite fresh farmhouse vibes into your kitchen — but with an industrial flair!  The goal is to achieve the trendiness of an urban-contemporary concept, while also evoking the coziness of the country. This is a great option for apartment living when you want to capture a little cottage charm in the big city! Blending rustic and loft styles is easy with a brick-inspired feature wall in a galley kitchen.

This Brooklyn Brick tile is a brilliant choice for an industrial farmhouse kitchen wall. Its fresh fusion of grey and brown tones give you tons of room to coordinate with surrounding elements. Pair with other architectural pieces such as metalwork art and a factory style lamp.

Finish the theme with some touches of greenery to add a natural touch to the neutral home decor! Some mini potted plants will add outdoor ambiance to make your small cooking area look bigger. Placing them on top of cabinets or utilizing hanging pots is a great way to add greenery without taking up valuable counter space.

Add Depth with Dynamic Glass Tiles

If you're intent on incorporating a more intricate design, spice things up with hexagon tiles. These work best in glass, as the light bounces off the polished surface to make your kitchen feel more open and airy. For a unique twist, play up the wood-inspired look of our Recycled Glass Hexagon Mosaics.

This Recycled Glass Hexagon Mosaic tile has a wood look to add rustic charm to a modern kitchen backsplash

Hexagon tiles offer a refreshing break from traditional squares! To spice things up even more, this Recycled Glass Hexagon Mosaic tile has a wood look, which plays a cool optical trick. 

You get the durability of glass with the natural beauty of  wood — clever, right? Not to mention - the upcycled material is a great sustainable building material!

Glass tiles are a smart choice for any kitchen wall!  The glistening quality of polished glass bounces light around the room, creating an expanse of iridescence that maximizes the feeling of space. 

Here’s another neat trick: To make the most of limited counter space, take advantage of white floating shelves like the ones pictured here. They  carry less visual weight than dark cabinets, making the room seem more airy and spacious. You’ll have to keep them clean of clutter to maintain that open and airy feeling, so check out our tips on how to create a functional and minimalist kitchen with just the cooking essentials!

Cozy cottage kitchen charm - 

Cottage style kitchens need to be cozy and functional - like this elegant neutral farmhouse style

Sometimes it’s best to follow your gut and make a design choice that feels natural and cozy for a small kitchen. That’s why cottage-style kitchen designs are on trend these days! It’s a matter of being creative with a personal touch without following strict decor rules. The Recycled Glass Mixed Leaf tile is a celebration of nature and positive energy that adds a little country charm to vintage-inspired appliances. Pair these organic themes with wood shelves and potted plants for a fresh-air feel. Not only will these natural elements expand the space, it’ll create a warm and welcoming atmosphere!

Classic charm for a minimalist kitchen

Carrara And Bardiglio Marble Mosaic tile features a classic checkered pattern for a white and gray kitchen backsplash

The classics never go out of style! Keep the spark alive in your cozy kitchen with a backsplash that evokes both new and old design themes.

The Carrara And Bardiglio Marble Mosaic tile features a classic checkered pattern with a splash of modern playfulness by designing with alternating sticks of grey and cream marble. Perfect for a backsplash wall - the petite scale of these tiles will add more depth to a close cooking area. The color-pairing possibilities are vast, playing well with white, grey, wood or blue toned cabinets! 

A tip to increase the charm factor of a narrow kitchen area - install lighting under shelves and cabinets to make the counter space you do have feel more accessible and reduce dark shadows.

Rules for a small kitchen remodel

Now that you’ve got some design inspo, the next step is learning the rules of the trade! In order to make a narrow kitchen look bigger, you should choose tiles with clever attention to color, texture, and size. All these elements can play into the illusion of more space!

Functionality is also key: kitchen tiles must be easy to maintain. By finding the perfect balance between practical and creative building materials, you’ll land on a design concept worth the effort.

We’ve shared some of our favorite unique designs to add personality to limited space from the clean and minimal to the intricately detailed - you can check out more of our favorite tiles for kitchen use to find the perfect design for your project!

Material matters

Function is just as important as fashion when it comes to building your dream home. That’s why porcelain and ceramic are some of the best materials to use for your kitchen tile backsplash or walls. These materials are durable and non-porous so they stand up well to water and stains - they can be easily wiped clean of splatters when cooking. Unless you’re the neat-freak type who obsessively cleans around the kitchen, it’s best to opt for these low-maintenance materials.

Choose Colors Carefully

Clever color choices are key to any successful small kitchen remodel. This begins with the rule of darks and lights: dark colors tend to shrink the space, while light colors have an expanding effect. Hence, the enduring popularity of the all-white kitchen.

Wood look tile in porcelain for a creative small kitchen

One of the amazing features about ceramic or porcelain tile is that they can resemble a variety of natural textures. Like a chameleon, the texture can mimic a wood grain pattern or even a naturally veiled surface like stone. Neat, right? 

Another practical choice for a backsplash design  is glass kitchen tile. It's non-porous so it won’t absorb liquids or grow bacteria in the cracks. In terms of aesthetics, its reflective surface sparkles with light to brighten up the kitchen - a tried and true tactic to creating the illusion of more space! Another perk is that the hues in glass are especially saturated so the colors are less likely to fade over time.

Size matters

For a small kitchen remodel, simpler is better. Mixing and matching different tiles can work wonders in a grander space, but in a small kitchen design, the design concept should be less busy. 

If you over-complicate the backsplash tile, it could create a narrowing visual effect that shrinks the size of the room. Yet, if the tiles are too large, you may have the same problem. To make your small kitchen look bigger, you must choose tiles that are sized to scale.

Go for small to medium size tiles. Not only will they appear more visually sound, but it avoids the process of having to cut the tiles down to a required dimension. By limiting the need to cut the tiles, you avoid a complicated install. Ideally, the final result should be chaos-free and neat-looking. 

Follow your color ABC’s

Keep your white kitchen light and bright with a textured ceramic subway tile backsplash that makes a small space feel larger

Keep Functionality and Flow Top of Mind

The right tile design can trick the eye into thinking that your kitchen is a lot larger, but it won't be effective without the proper layout. Everything must be arranged to provide maximum meal prep space, plus sufficient storage for all the essentials.

Just as important? The flow of the kitchen — is it easy to move between appliances, or do you feel constrained? Simple small kitchen remodel ideas for boosting flow include:

  • Multi-use countertops to make meal prep space more versatile
  • Recessed lighting to accommodate low ceilings
  • Adding shelves or cabinets to hidden or unused spaces
  • High-hanging pantries and other forms of vertical stacking
  • Avoid corners when possible, opting for single or double galleys instead

Level Up Your Small Kitchen With Tile Club

A strategic small kitchen remodel can be a game-changer. You'll be amazed by how much you look forward to meal prep and even entertaining in your cozy new kitchen. Play with small kitchen floor tile ideas and statement backsplash to create a space that feels dynamic and inviting. When you’re ready to design your dream kitchen, Tile Club has you covered with tile for kitchens of even size. Browse and shop today!

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