You may not have space to expand or add a full island, so think about bringing in a table that can do double duty as a spot for prep and dining. Even a narrow console can work as a spot to set tools and ingredients on while you cook.
“Open shelves are extremely functional and make it so much easier to access dishes and glasses," says New York–based interior designer Jenny Wolf, adding that you should think about your kitchen architecturally, as it doesn’t always make sense to have upper cabinets—“especially if the ceilings are 10 feet high.”
Plants can liven up any space, including your kitchen. (Check out our favorite air-purifying plants, indoor trees, and pet-friendly plants to see what greenery might strike your fancy.)
Use that extra counter area for casual dinners or your morning coffee. Pull up a few barstools and take advantage of an extra dining spot.
Install lights to brighten up the entire kitchen. "You can never have enough lighting in a kitchen, and I always down-light with decorative fixtures over the island and prep station," says Wolf. Good lighting, plenty of it, is incredibly important while cooking.
For any small space (kitchens or otherwise), getting organized is essential. When space comes at a premium, you can't afford to waste any of it—even the hidden space inside your cabinets. Stock up on risers, spice-sorting systems, and anything else that will streamline and maximize your kitchen storage.
If your L-shaped kitchen faces a blank wall, why not make use of it? Install a floating shelf or table for extra counter or dining space. Dealing with a narrow space? Install a table that can fold down to be flush with the wall when not in use.
Even a small space can look sleek and put-together. Go for panel-ready appliances and match them to the cabinetry and countertops for a minimalist kitchen.
Even if your kitchen is on the narrow side, you can still bring in a slim kitchen island. Consider a rolling island, which can be pushed out of the way once dinner is ready. "Don’t think if you have a tiny kitchen that you can’t have an island. You can; you just need to put it on wheels so that when you’re working and you need an island, it’s there, and when the guests arrive, you can push it over to the side or move it into the dining room or living room and let it be the bar," says interior designer Ellen Cheever.
The island is the centerpiece, so why not make it look special? Try coating the base in a bold color that complements the other cabinetry.