Minimalist Kitchen – My Methods for Happy, Simple Cooking

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house, and it’s not just for eating.  Whether it’s an open concept with an island or a galley setup, utilizing the minimalist principle for your kitchen can make it a haven for any home chef.

A minimalist kitchen is a clean and uncluttered space for food prep and family gathering. Clearing countertops and organization make a kitchen feel bigger and more functional. From appliances to tools, keeping only essentials creates a space of any size kitchen where any home chef is proud to work.

Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the appliances and containers on your kitchen counters?  Does it feel like you just don’t have enough cabinet space?

What Is a Minimalist Kitchen?

A minimalist kitchen is one that is based on the “less is more” principle.  A minimalist kitchen is clean and tidy, uncluttered, and contains everything needed and nothing more.  According to engineering researchers Bogdan-Vasile Cioruta and Mirela Coman, it is the easiest setup to accomplish even if it requires a bit more planning and strategic decisions than a standard kitchen.

Minimalist Kitchen - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Minimalist Kitchen

Minimalist Kitchen Essentials

A minimalist kitchen focuses on simplicity, functionality, and decluttering. It aims to create a clean and organized space where you can efficiently prepare meals and includes essentials such as:

  1. Efficient appliances
  2. Multi-use cookware
  3. Multi-use utensils
  4. Useful storage solutions
  5. Multi-purpose cleaning supplies
  6. Simple decor
  7. Clean countertops

Minimalist Kitchen Tips

When keeping a minimalist kitchen, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • It’s hard to food prep around clutter.  The more you clear off the countertops, the more room you have to prep.
  • You don’t need special “tools” for food prep.  A multi-function food processor can get lots of prep done without cluttering up cabinets and drawers.
  • Organization is key: silverware drawers, spice cabinets, pantry shelving systems, and under-sink cleaning product caddies save time and space.
  • A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen.  Use a multi-function cleaner safe for countertops, cutting boards, and food prep areas.
  • Keep everything organized and stored behind cabinet and pantry doors for an uncluttered, open space.

Minimalist Kitchen Décor

When it comes to minimalist kitchen décor, remember that it’s a place for making meals.  Especially with smaller kitchens you don’t want a great deal of things hanging on the wall as it can feel cluttered and even smaller.  Décor should be simple and minimal, perhaps something whimsical that puts a smile on your face.  Just keep the décor to a minimum and focus on the food!

Modern decor in a minimalist kitchen - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Modern decor in a minimalist kitchen

Minimalist Kitchen Inventory

Minimalist kitchen inventory consists of the necessary tools: coffee maker, food processor, slow cooker, and anything else you find yourself actually using on a daily basis.  To cut down on unnecessary appliances, utilize those that have multiple functions to save on space and clutter.  Graduate design student Jinhe Wang found if you’ve got the right tools and the space to use them, anyone can cook anywhere and still enjoy the process. 

Minimalist Kitchen Organization

Organization is highly important in the minimalist kitchen.  From the cabinets to the pantry, everything should be organized and easy to find based on how often it is used.  The layout should feel natural (i.e. spice organizer next to the stovetop) and help with the flow in the kitchen.  Organizers for pantry items like cans and pouches can be very useful for keeping food items stocked by use by date and use space wisely. 

Organization is highly important in the minimalist kitchen.

Minimalist Kitchen Lighting & Fixtures

The light fixtures in a minimalist kitchen should bring a good amount of light to the space without being too flashy or too bright.  Natural light is best, but simple lighting can brighten up even a galley kitchen and make it feel spacious and bright. 

Clear glass hanging lights - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Clear glass hanging lights

Minimalist Kitchen Furniture

Minimalist Kitchen Table

The minimalist kitchen table is a place of gathering and should be simple as well as uncluttered.  It should be big enough for all members of the family to sit and eat comfortably, then be easy to clean.  In some cases it’s nice to have a space-saving table that folds out of the way when meal time is over.

Minimalist Kitchen Cabinets

Minimalist kitchen cabinets will not be overloaded with stuff-they contain just what is needed for food prep, storage, mealtimes, and cleaning.  You’ll often see everything organized with storage systems, shelving, and nice labels.  It’s just enough for what needs to be stored and is expertly organized and accessible.

Minimalist Kitchen Chairs

The chairs in a minimalist kitchen should be functional for sitting down for meals, but we all know they can be a gathering space as well.  These chairs should be sturdy and comfortable for gathering around the table at mealtime, and it’s also a plus if they can be folded and stored away to create more space.

Minimalist kitchen table - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Minimalist kitchen table

Minimalist Kitchen Countertops

The countertops in the minimalist kitchen will be clean and uncluttered.  You won’t see collections of storage containers, appliances, or spices.  There may be a coffee maker or some other frequently used appliance, but not much more.  The focus is on space and a place to prepare food when it’s time. 

Minimalist Kitchen Sink

There’s nothing fancy about the sink in a minimalist kitchen-it’s there for washing dishes and food prep.  It’s clean and uncluttered, and you won’t even find a sponge sitting in it.  The kitchen sink is always ready for washing, with all accessories stashed out of sight until needed.  There’s no need to keep scrub brushes out on display!

Minimalist Kitchen Tools

Minimalist Kitchen Appliances

The appliances in the minimalist kitchen are limited to those that are often used.  Nothing fancy, and in most cases the appliances have more than one function (food processor with attachments for example).  Appliances will be kept out of sight rather than on the countertop.

Keep decluttered with only the essential appliances - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Keep decluttered with only the essential appliances

Minimalist Kitchen Tools

Minimalist kitchen tools also usually serve multiple purposes, and there are no specialty tools kept that aren’t often used.  There’s nothing that can’t be done by hand if it’s only for special occasions.  Tools are also kept in drawers and cabinets.

Minimalist Kitchen Utensils

A minimalist doesn’t have use for multiple sets of utensils, it’s limited to everyday use.  No 16-place settings either-it’s just what is needed for daily meals.  Nothing fancy, just the simple standard.

Minimalist Kitchens Based on Style

Modern Minimalist Kitchen 

A modern minimalist kitchen can have all of the latest technology, without all of the excess.  Updated appliances, sleek hardware, and even modern furniture can make any kitchen modern.  Just keep it to what you need and will use and it’s still minimalist.

Modern minimalist kitchen - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Modern minimalist kitchen

Contemporary Minimalist Kitchen 

A contemporary kitchen is what’s most popular, with up to date appliances and cabinets that fit the family chef’s tastes.  Natural woods, granite countertops, and even stainless steel appliances can make a kitchen contemporary while keeping with the minimalist practices.

White Minimalist Kitchen 

If you’re looking for a neutral and spacious look, a white minimalist kitchen is a good look and feel.  White walls, appliances, and lighting with even white or contrasting color countertops can be a great look for any minimalist kitchen.

Simple Minimalist Kitchen 

Even without all of the latest finishes and appliances, a simple minimalist kitchen can be highly functional without all of the frills.  Keep it to only what is needed, even if that means only a stovetop and mini fridge.  If it’s simple and it works for you, then it works!

Woman chopping vegetables - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Woman chopping vegetables

Boho Minimalist Kitchen 

The Boho minimalist way is a fun, whimsical way of keeping a comfortable and functional kitchen.  A few patterns here and there, a couple of fun pictures or artwork, even a rooster cookie jar can add a relaxed and fun feel to the kitchen.

Extreme Minimalist Kitchen 

When you’ve got a small kitchen, extreme minimalist may be the way to go.  We’re talking minimal appliances, a few shelves rather than cabinets, simple countertops, and quite literally only the necessities.  It’s still highly functional and comfortable, but no extras.

Keep it to only what is needed, even if that means only a stovetop and mini fridge.  If it’s simple and it works for you, then it works!

Minimalist Kitchens Based on Size

Small Minimalist Kitchen 

A small kitchen is great for minimalist practices.  Using white walls, bright natural wood cabinets, smaller appliances, and only the essentials, you can make any small kitchen feel much larger.

Apartment Minimalist Kitchen 

Apartment kitchens are often galley-style and very small, which is ideal for minimalism.  You work with what you’ve got, which is contractor-grade cabinets and appliances for the most part.  With a few organizing pieces and some personalized accessories, it’s your minimalist kitchen!

Large Minimalist Kitchen 

Kitchens seem to be getting larger as new homes are being built, and these are often selling points.  You can have a large minimalist kitchen with a huge space, updated appliances, a few personal touches, and a whole lot of room to work!

Here is a helpful video full of tips on keeping your kitchen minimalist.

Related Insights

How Many Dishes Do You Need Minimalist?

Minimalists keep on hand only what they need, and the number of dishes will be part of this.  Even with a family of four you don’t need the 8-piece settings and specialized silverware.  Dishes are what you will use in a day, and each person typically uses one plate or bowl per meal.  For a family of four you can keep four plates, four bowls, and four of each: forks, spoons, knives.  Just be prepared to wash dishes daily (by hand or dishwasher), because you don’t need all of those dishes in your cabinet!

What Is Minimalist Home Decor?

Minimalist home décor is basically very few accessories and decorations.  The focus is on open spaces, functional furniture, and the basic needs rather than décor.  Any decorative pieces will usually be simple, tie in with something in the room, and not be a focal point.

What Colors Make the Kitchen Look Bigger?

Colors to make a kitchen look bigger include neutral tones and whites.  With natural wood cabinets and stone countertops in gray or white, even the smallest kitchen can look big and open with the right colors and combinations.

Paint swatches - Minimalist Kitchen - Gone Minimal
Paint swatches

What Would Real People Change To Make Their Kitchen Minimalist?

I asked some friends and family members: if they could change one component of their kitchen to a minimalist kitchen, what would it be and why. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:

Component To ChangeTally of Family/Friends
Cabinet color3
Kitchen layout2
Kitchen color4
Kitchen size5
Cabinet style3
Kitchen table-smaller3
Kitchen chairs-folding2
Pantry storage3
Kitchen sink-larger2
Kitchen sink-smaller1

Other Resources:

A kitchen is a thing of beauty when shopping for a home, and a minimalist kitchen is a many-splendored wonder.  With appliances and furniture that work for you, keeping a minimalist kitchen is easy and practical regardless of the size you’ve got.  What’s your favorite style of minimalist kitchen?

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