5 designer-approved small kitchen trends for 2024 that balance style and function

Think of your small kitchen as the perfect space to embrace experimental design trends

small kitchen designs
(Image credit: Heidi Caillier Design/photo Haris Kenjar, Nicole Lanteri Design, Collected Interior/photo Nicole Dianne)

Designing a small kitchen is all about balancing function and style. These spaces don't need to compromise on style or shy away from making a statement – by carefully considering its design you can create a highly stylish space that's also practical for everyday use.

As with any room in the home, it's always useful to be aware of the most prominent design trends to serve as inspiration for any decor upgrades. To understand what the top small kitchen trends are for 2024, we spoke to interior designers, who share their favorites. 

'Small kitchens come with some challenges and lots of opportunities – you can have a lot of fun with trends, with color, pattern, and texture, all while creating a functional space for solo and shared meals,' says interior designer Nicole Lanteri. 

If you have a small kitchen and are looking for some decorating ideas to give it a new lease of life, these are for you. From color trends to kitchen shelving, these expert ideas prove that small rooms are the perfect opportunity to embrace the latest kitchen trends

1. Farmhouse style on a smaller scale

Small sage kreen kitchen with patterned tiles and terracotta floor with marble worktops

(Image credit: Interior by Heidi Caillier Design, photograph Haris Kenjar)

Often, farmhouse kitchens are large rooms that have plenty of space for all of the style's classic features, such as a large butler sink and butcher block counters. But, that doesn't mean you can't adopt a rustic, farmhouse-inspired scheme in a small kitchen. For interior designer Kathy Kuo, this is one of her favorite small kitchen trends for 2024. She explains that it's a great way to lean into a cozy, vintage-inspired look.

'I love the trend of adding rustic farmhouse elements to a small kitchen to make it feel cozy. When you're working with a smaller space, it's often to your benefit to lean into the small footprint as an asset rather than trying to disguise it. Bring plenty of cottagecore, French country, and traditional farmhouse elements into a small kitchen and start feeling like you're the star of a quaint British rom-com in no time.' 

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

Looking to add some rustic charm to your small kitchen? Start by shopping the below homeware items which are an easy way to create a relaxed farmhouse aesthetic. 

2. Two-tone color schemes

antique pantry cupboard in a blue devol kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

When it comes to choosing small kitchen colors, in 2024, designers explain the benefits of a two-tone kitchen, in place of an all-white look which is often seen in small kitchens in an attempt to make the space feel bright and open. Interior designer Melissa Read explains that opting for a more adventurous color scheme can be more effective in these small spaces: 

'Explore two-tone kitchen designs by embracing contrasts in kitchen flooring, cabinet fronts, and worktops,' says Melissa, Creative Director at Studio Burntwood. 'A common mistake in compact kitchens is the overuse of light colors throughout. Avoid this overwhelming ‘whitewash’ effect by opting for two-toned kitchen cabinet fronts, playing with contrasting colors or textures for a more considered and dynamic look.'

melissa read of burntwood studio
Melissa Read

Melissa Read attended the KLC School of Design in Chelsea before working at London's best-regarded interior design studios. Now Creative Director of Studio Burntwood, an interior design studio that specializes in luxury residential interior design for private clients and property developers.

3. Floating and open shelving

small kitchen with wooden cabinets and floating shelves

(Image credit: Collected Interiors, photography Nicole Dianne)

'I think there is an instinct in small kitchens to fill every millimeter of wall space with cabinetry – the famous pursuit of "more is more” storage,' explains Ashley Macuga, Principal Designer at Collected Interiors. 'The result can make a smaller kitchen feel heavy with the weight of the boxes.'

'We encourage clients to keep an open mind to floating shelves even in more petite spaces. Not only can they be very functional, allowing easy access to your most used items – but they also allow for negative space in a room, which is what enables light to filter in and fill in where cabinetry is not.'

Interior designer Laura Williams of ATX Interior Design also sees floating shelves in small kitchens as a core trend for 2024. She adds that they're also a functional and aesthetic kitchen storage solution: 'In smaller kitchens, I love keeping the uppers minimal and utilizing floating shelves. By doing this, the tighter space feels a little airier and the shelves can be utilized as very functional space as a place for dinnerware, glasses, olive oil – really anything you use on a regular basis.'

Laura Williams
Laura Williams

Laura Williams’ work is informed by all of the personal and professional experiences that led to her founding her own design studio. She can trace her eye for balanced interiors all the way back to her childhood home, where she would frequently rearrange the furniture and reimagine rooms.

Equally, opting for open shelving, such as within a kitchen dresser for example, will create a similar look but may be a more practical option than floating shelves in some spaces. Designer Maria Vassiliou of Maria Zoe Designs explains: 'Our favorite design trend for small kitchens is open shelving with rails. We’ve become very used to having very heavy kitchens with closed upper cabinets. Having this allows for easy access to your everyday items, and can make your kitchen feel more open with this informal and inviting look.'

4. Extended natural stone countertops

small kitchen with bright green cabinets and marble surfaces

(Image credit: Nicole Lanteri Design)

For kitchen countertops, designers say that natural stone options are a key design trend for small kitchens in 2024. But beyond the material choice, in small kitchens, it's about continuing the same stone where a tiled kitchen backsplash would usually be to achieve a more cohesive look.

Nicole explains: 'We love working with natural materials like marble, soapstone, quartzite on countertops, and running those up on the wall as a backsplash, instead of tile. It makes a kitchen feel more luxurious and polished, while also making it feel bigger, more cohesive, and interesting. Functionally, it is easier to clean, too!'

Nicole Lanteri
Nicole Lanteri

Nicole Lanteri founded her Washington, D.C.-based interior design firm in 2009. Nicole Lanteri Design engages in projects in the surrounding D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas, as well as further afield, including New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Southern California.

Interior designer Luis Carmona also sees cohesive stone countertops as an effective small kitchen trend, adding: 'Having a fluid design in a small kitchen is a game changer especially when it comes to surfaces. Taking your countertop stone up the wall to be used as your backsplash will help form a continuous and more fluid design aesthetic. This helps make the space appear larger than it is.'

5. Deep and dark colors

small kitchen with black cabinets and walls

(Image credit: Nicole Lanteri Design)

A standout kitchen trend we're seeing more generally this year is decorating with deep and dark hues to create a moody look. It's no surprise then to see this embraced in small kitchens, too. In fact, dark hues can be most effective in small spaces that have limited natural light in creating a cozy feel. 

'After many years of white kitchens, people are taking more creative risks with darker kitchens and painted cabinets. In addition to having more interest and whimsy, a darker, moodier kitchen can feel more extensive,' explains Nicole.

There are many on-trend dark colors to try out in a small kitchen, such as forest green for a nature-inspired, sophisticated look. If you're feeling brave, decorate with black to make a bold statement, as shown above in a kitchen designed by Nicole Lanteri Design

However restricted space is in your kitchen, take inspiration from these trends to create a stylish space this year. Whether you want to channel trending dark paint ideas or add rustic decor to make your space feel more cozy, there are lots of ideas to explore.

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.