Make it feel spacious
The first step toward making a small kitchen feel larger and more open is to improve its relationship with any adjoining rooms and outside spaces. A kitchen surrounded by four solid walls can feel downright claustrophobic. To improve the space, you can open the walls between the kitchen and any supporting rooms, such as a dining room, a breakfast nook, or a family room. By opening the wall and allowing the sightlines to expand beyond the kitchen, you create the perception of more space without the cost of creating more square footage.
Depending on the circumstances, the wall might be removed entirely or be replaced with a peninsula countertop, a high counter, or a half-wall. Even a simple pass-through window helps if other options are not feasible.
A popular solution when space is at a premium is a peninsula that serves both the kitchen and an adjacent space. This allows open sightlines between the two rooms, and adds counter space and storage on both sides.
A separate high counter above a transitional counter requires more space but replaces a table in a highly efficient manner. If the high counter will be a breakfast bar for morning coffee, it should be 12 in. to 15 in. wide. Bump the width to between 18 in. and 24 in. if it will be the place for all your informal meals. (A counter-height peninsula can be used as a primary eating area by adding 6 in. to 12 in. to the typical 24-in. counter depth.)
Regardless of depth, make sure it’s long enough for the number of people using it. Each person should have at least 24 in. of space, although 30 in. will be more comfortable.