Making the Most of a Small Kitchen

While it’s nice to dream of having a spacious kitchen with all the bells and whistles, the reality is that the kitchens we live with are often smaller than we’d like. If you’re currently shopping for homes, you may find the home of your dreams, with beautiful property, spacious living areas, and everything else you may want – except the large kitchen.

Whether you have an expansive renovation budget or are staying frugal, it can be tough to know how to maximize space. How can you compromise on your wish list and design your small kitchen to best fit your needs?

If you’re struggling to add style and functionality to your kitchen, professional designers offer a few suggestions for making the most of limited space:

1. Use every available inch.

Choose white cabinets which give the illusion of more space and add upper-to-ceiling cabinetry to maximize storage. Open space over the fridge is great for cabinetry as well. If there isn’t a lot of storage space to work with, use hooks and open shelving to hold crockery, mugs, and bulky utensils. (Keep in mind though, anything out in the open will need to be dusted periodically.)

2. Change the Handles

Give the kitchen a refreshed, streamlined look by changing out the hardware on drawers and cabinets. Move away from chunky or heavy-appearing handles and move toward more sleek, thin pieces. Choose a metallic option which bounces more light around the space.

3. Add Pattern

Wallpapering a wall or small area is a great way to add personality without overpowering a small kitchen. Removable wallpaper allows for a trial run without necessarily committing, which is important when size and scale of the pattern may make the difference between feeling expansive and feeling cramped. Choose something eye-catching and complementary to the walls for a bold pop in an otherwise neutral space.

4. Choose a New Backsplash

Give the kitchen a true makeover with a new, modern backsplash. Contemporary versions are a unique alternative to outdated tile and add visual interest to a smaller room. A long thin tile or small-scale grid will help the room feel more spacious. In many cases, installation is quick and easy and can be done directly over existing tiles.

5. Downsize the Oven Hood

The big and bulky oven hood can be a small kitchen seem even smaller. Newer, flush fitting ceiling hoods remove visual clutter and allow for clear sight lines across the kitchen.

6. Choose Seating Options Wisely

Choose low-level options like bench seats to make use of space you may not have originally been using. This is a great place to store linens and less-used pots, pans, and lids. Or choose stackable bar stools and a tall table that can double as a countertop and storage cabinet. The options are endless.

7. Use Stackable & Nesting Storage Containers

Buying food in bulk can be a great way to save money, but how can you save space with a 25lb bag of rice? Change out dry food goods from the containers you buy them into stackable containers that make better use of shelving. Often, leftover food storage containers are difficult to find space for, so use nesting containers that will store in the pantry easily and stack in the fridge or on the shelves more easily too.

8. Don’t Underestimate the Clean Effect

A dirty kitchen feels much smaller than a clean one, as our eyes are drawn to the specks of dirt and grease around the room. Change out the window dressings and let in as much light as possible. Then scrub up the kitchen and give the room a floor-to-ceiling makeover.

9. Save Your Counterspace and Keep Appliances in Storage

If you drink a cup of coffee most days but make a pot of coffee on the weekend, keep the coffee carafe in the box in storage until you need it. The same goes for mixers, food processors, crockpots, oddly shaped cooking vessels, and the like. Make use of closet, stairway, or other odd storage spaces around the house for kitchen goods used less frequently. Keep a list of items in the kitchen though so you don’t forget to make use of what you have!

10. Be Open to Convertible Furniture

Convertible furniture is not just about your grandmother’s table leaf anymore! Nesting tables have made a big splash on the design scene for their functionality and space saving ability. Think of a table that would look like a breakfast nook for two sitting against a wall, that then stretches out to accommodate eight when needed. These tables exist and they really help make the most of space.


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