Pimp My Apartment: How to Make the Most of A Tiny Kitchen


Three months ago, my boyfriend and I moved in together. We found a beautiful Maisonette apartment with a decently-sized rooftop terrace in Berlin’s centrally located and pretty bohemian neighbourhood Prenzlauer Berg (more on that later). We fell in love with the place the second we saw it and popped a bottle of champagne when it was offered to us two days later. We felt, and still do, that we got the most amazing place in all of Berlin. But, nothing is perfect and if we were to take off our rose-colored glasses, we would have to admit that the apartment is erring on the side of small. Okay, tiny. The biggest pain point was the small-scale kitchen. Both of us enjoy cooking daily and from scratch, so the little counter surface and storage that the kitchen provided was just not enough work space for the two of us (or even for one of us, really). So, over the course of these last couple weeks, I took to Pinterest for more inspiration and then left it to my boyfriend and my dad to execute those visions in real life. The result is a kitchen maxed out to its full capacity. I’m sure that some of you might also struggle with small apartment spaces, so I thought I’d share a few insights and lessons that we learned from our moving-in project!

The kitchen as it looked on moving-in day. Only 4 cupboards provided storage and the only cooking surface was the small space between sink and stove.

First, we added a big wall shelf that fit perfectly into the space by the stove. We were surprised exactly how much fit on that shelf, which had a massive impact on the space we then had left in the cupboards. It’s not the tidiest this ever looked but we had a lazy weekend, so just overlook that…

Second, we became creative with space for our cutlery. Unfortunately we only realized after we had moved in that we didn’t have a cutlery drawer. Again, Pinterest and IKEA for the win here. We actually used toothbrush holders for this design because we liked the look of them better.

Third, we added extra counter space. We bought this IKEA wall table to avoid having to design it completely from scratch. The IKEA one, however, was a little too deep for our kitchen, so we got a custom-cut oak board from the hardware store. It looks better and is also more durable than the original surface. We drilled holes in the oak, built the rest according to the IKEA instructions and voilá – additional counter space added! (And yes, it was time to take out the trash…)

It was important for us to also be able to tilt the counter down to regain that space if we have more people over.

The biggest coup was repositioning our fridge and freezer. I highly recommend taking this task on with two skilled people. The idea was simple: Our fridge had dead space below it that was unusable for storage since you would always have to open the fridge door in order to access it. My dad’s idea (see below) was to lower both fridge and freezer, shorten the fridge door and thus create enough space above both to add a microwave. This was huge for us as we wouldn’t have been able to really have one anywhere else. A bit of cussing and drilling and cussing and cutting wood later, my dad and my boyfriend had successfully achieved the below. Yay!

Basically, we look at our tiny apartment as a fun craft challenge and I’ve never turned (read: delegated…) more Pinterest ideas into reality . The greatest thing about small spaces is that even the tiniest adjustment has a big impact on everyday life. It feels incredibly rewarding and we both love continuously working on our home together 🙂

What creative solutions have you guys come up with for tiny spaces? I would love to get more inspiration!