You'll often hear the first step of any remodeling project is to develop a wants and needs list. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than in a small kitchen when adding on or borrowing space isn't an option.
"Remember the kitchen will only be as big as it currently is," says Allen Curran, a certified kitchen designer with Bella Domicile, Inc. in Madison, Wisconsin. "Think about all the activities you do in the kitchen and what you will need to accomplish those activities."
Here are some tips for making the most of a small footprint.
Multitask. Look for spaces that can be used for more than one purpose. For example, instead of setting up a table and chairs, consider opting for an island or peninsula that offers a spot for casual meals, an additional work surface, and storage. "One of my favorite small-space design solutions is to put a base cabinet on wheels so it can be rolled out to the center of the room for serving or work space, then rolled back in place below the main counter," says Marie Lail Blackburn, a certified master kitchen and bath designer with MLBdesigngroup in Seattle.
Be appliance-smart. Don't get larger appliances than needed. Consider appliances that maximize space, such as a freestanding range with two ovens compartments below and a combination microwave-convection oven. Many appliance manufacturers now offer 18-inch-wide dishwashers in addition to the standard 24-inch widths. Also note that side-by-side and French door refrigerators do not open into walkways as far as refrigerators with full-width doors.
Maximize counter space. It's better to have one larger countertop area than several smaller sections, so create as few interruptions in your countertop as possible. By the sink, Blackburn recommends incorporating a cutting board that slides over to cover the sink, thus expanding the countertop.
Get creative with storage. Perhaps there is a soffit or bulkhead above the upper cabinets that isn't being used. "Yes, this storage is harder to reach, but it certainly could help with seasonal dishes or bakeware used only a few times a year," Curran says. Investigate options, such as pullout racks and lazy Susans, that make hard-to-reach storage areas more accessible. "Consider the thickness of any interior walls," Curran says. "Can they be removed and replaced with cabinets, or can the space between studs be used for storage?"
Rethink walkways. Take a look at walkways and doorways to see if there's a way to redirect traffic flow and provide more storage or work space.
Check out some of our favorite small-kitchen remodels:
Kitchen Problems solved
Hi! I'm Jenny Wright. Does your kitchen need of a little TLC? Well you're not alone. Although every kitchen is different, I found that homeowners come to me with the same common problems. Fortunately, this kitchen that I recently remodeled has 7 great solutions. Your kitchen problems will be solved. Kitchens have a ton of stuff that needs to be stored and if your kitchen is like this one, the existing cabinets may not be enough. Fortunately, you don't need to rip out your cabinets. A cabinet only needs to be about 12 inches deep to be useful. These tall cabinets from IKEA are only a foot deep but that's all the space you need to store canned goods, cereal boxes, small appliances and dishes. Not having enough space for meal prep is another major complaint from homeowners and this kitchen had very limited counter space. Removing the upper cabinets above this peninsula opened up sight lines and made this a comfortable spot to chop veggies or setup a buffet. Here's another space-saving tip that you'll thank me for. Get your microwave off the countertop. Look for a unit like this one that mounts to the wall or under the cabinets. This kitchen only had 2 ceiling mounted fixtures and a single hanging light over the dining area. Bring in the light. With the help of a professional electrician, we installed 6 new recessed fixtures in the work area and some pendant lights. Removing the original bulkhead was another project that opened up this kitchen. The area above the cabinets now offers display space and room for metal storage bins. Like many homes, this kitchen had a mix of old inefficient appliances. Choosing new appliances gave the homeowners features they wanted and the matching stainless steel fronts give the kitchen a clean unified look. This kitchen was trapped in the 1970s. The popcorn ceilings, a [unk] panel above the sink, dark blue countertops, and brick final flooring all had seen better days. Rather than trying to work with these dated elements, we decided to spend money to redo the ceiling, remove the front work, and install new more stylish laminate countertops and flooring. In addition to being ugly, no one wanted to spend time in this kitchen because there weren't any comfortable spots to relax. This new snack bar we built is a great place to pull up a stool and chat with the cook and this new banquet seat in the breakfast area is great for family meals and can be converted into sofa-like seating when hosting a party. No more excuses. Now you're armed with 7 ways to solve the most common kitchen problems. So let's remodel. I'm Jenny Wright with Better.tv.