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A small kitchen is no one’s friend. But just like dark under-eye circles, wacky in-laws or your inability to hold a camera still, sometimes you just have to learn to deal. Here are seven solutions for your small-kitchen problems, whether you have a tragic amount of counter space or claustrophobic cabinets.

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OUT IN THE OPEN

While the idea of exposed shelving may sound messy and super revealing (yes, you love Golden Grahams and you’re a grown woman), removing heavy cabinetry can actually create an airy and open room. Even replacing traditional cabinet doors with glass versions can make a kitchen seem more spacious.

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RULE OF TIERS

Vow right here and now to put only tiered things on your countertops (other than appliances, of course). In the interest of limited counter space, stackthings upward rather than sprawling them outward.

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Ikea

HANG YOUR POTS

Never again wrestle a pot out of a drawer (where their handles are perpetually stuck). Simple as that.

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NONEXISTENT DRAWERS

One of the biggest woes of a small kitchen is the lack of drawer space. Where does one store her flatware, or more important, her corkscrews? A STENSTORP kitchen cart from IKEA is a nice solution. Deep baskets on the shelves can stand in as drawers, and the extra surface space--a perfect home for your cutting board or spiralizer--is just a sweet bonus.

IKEA ($149)

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ADD AN ACCENT COLOR

A strong accent color draws the eye in, distracting from the room’s tight corners. Pick one dominant color, then go neutral for everything else.

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VERTICAL SHELVING

Every kitchen has a secret (the brownies aren’t homemade, the chicken fell on the floor) and some underutilized wall space yearning for a shelf. Perhaps yours is that blank wall at the end of your galley kitchen? That unused space between the kitchen window and the ceiling? Go Oprah on it. You get a shelf, and you get a shelf, and you get a shelf!

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SLIM THINGS DOWN

Big round knobs and clunky countertop accessories suffocate a kitchen. Going for thin fixtures, an ultra-slim island and sleek appliances will keep it streamlined and give the illusion of space it so desperately needs.

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