How to Maximize Space in a Small Kitchen
Often deemed “the heart of the home,” kitchens are usually considered one of the most important features for potential buyers. Between preparing meals and gathering together with family, a lot of time is spent in the kitchen so it’s no surprise a buyer would want the perfect set-up! Unfortunately, unless you’re planning a total remodel or building a home from scratch, your home’s kitchen may not be exactly what you’ve always dreamed of, and even worse, a small kitchen can make you fear it will be impossible to use. However, a kitchen’s small size or lack of storage space should not automatically make you give a resounding “no” to a potential house. There are plenty of creative ways you can organize a small kitchen to make it as efficient as a larger one!
Extend Your Counter Space
One common complaint of a small kitchen is that there is not enough counter space for storing appliances and preparing food. However, you don’t need to completely change your kitchen just to extend your counter space! Instead, try creating additional space the following ways:
- Create new shelves: If you store objects on your counter, chances are that you have additional space between the object and the cabinet above. It’s important to consider every inch of vertical space available and a great way to do this is by adding a shelf riser. Shelf risers come in a variety of colors and materials to match your design preference and will add additional shelf space for spices, dishware, appliances, or anything else you want to sit on the counter. You could also purchase floating wall shelves if a standing option doesn’t work for you.
- Add a kitchen island: What better way to create additional counter space than to add a mobile island to your kitchen? Kitchen carts come in a variety of styles, provide extra storage, and the top of the cart doubles as an extension of your current kitchen counters. Islands are great for food prep or maybe creating a coffee bar to help give you more space on your actual built-in counters. Plus, if your island cart has wheels, you can easily push it out of the way when you don’t need to access it.
- Purchase covers for your stove or sink: Whether it’s a wire rack or a custom cutting board, your stove top or sink can double as counterspace with the right cover. Although this option may not be practical when you need to cook or wash dishes, it will give you extra prep and storage space when not in use.
- Store away appliances that are not used frequently: This day in age, you can purchase a kitchen appliance for just about any function. While this is great for the creative cook, the reality is that most of us only use these appliances a few times a year. While that bread maker and air fryer may be exactly what you need for a specific meal, they also take up prime real estate when you leave them on your countertop. Instead of pushing everything together in the corner every time you need to make space, evaluate which appliances you use the most (on a regular weekly basis) and then store the rest away! Keeping these items in the high cabinets over the refrigerator, a pantry shelf, or even in a closet in another part of the house can help you keep your kitchen counters free. You could also invest in a multi-function appliance or donate the appliances you can definitely live without.
Create Additional Storage
Along with limited prep space, a lack of adequate storage space is the other main concern when you are working in a small kitchen. Thankfully, storage and organization hacks are all the rage these days so it should be easy to find simple storage solutions that will fit your space! Here are a few ways to maximize your storage:
- Containers are your friend: Your instinct may be to stay away from baskets, bins, and other containers because they are just additional objects that need to find a home in your kitchen. However, this storage solution actually helps optimize your storage space by defining a space for all your items while keeping things organized. From clear jars for your cereal to drawer organizers for your utensils, there are plenty of options to choose from so don’t be afraid to get creative! You can even find containers to hold mugs, spices, canned goods, and other specific kitchen items. If you are in a rental and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a kitchen you don't own, you can even find good quality bins at a local Dollar Tree or thrift store.
- Maximize your cabinet space: Even a small kitchen usually has a cabinet or two. Unfortunately, cabinets are rarely designed for optimal storage, and we can all agree there is nothing more frustrating than realizing your travel mug is too tall for your cup shelf or digging around in a deep corner cabinet and not being able to locate the exact baking sheet you need. When this is the case, it’s time to get creative and re-shape your cabinets for your possessions! Shelf risers can help utilize vertical space inside a cabinet while under cabinet shelves will extend your cabinet square footage. To fully utilize the depth of your cabinet, consider installing pull-out drawers or adding a few turntable trays. Installing pegs on the back of your cabinet door can even add extra space for potholders, kitchen towels, and measuring cups.
- Purchase mobile carts or narrow shelves: Do you have narrow space beside your refrigerator or counters where a regular shelf just won’t fit? There are plenty of slim shelving units and kitchen carts on the market specifically designed to fit in these tight, otherwise unusable spaces. These shelves are perfect for items you don’t often use such as aluminum foil boxes, freezer bags, extra spices, unopened sauces, and more!
- Regularly purge your cookware and pantry items: You don’t have to be the next Marie Kondo to embrace a tidy lifestyle. No matter how hard we try to use everything we purchase, sometimes items still reach their expiration date. Since no one likes wasting food, consider going through your pantry once every 6 months. Move items to the front that are nearest to their expiration so you’ll grab them first when you are cooking. You should also donate items you know you won’t use to a local food bank. Don't forget to purge your cookware! If you regularly avoid using a skillet because food sticks and you hate cleaning it, then chances are it will never been in your regular cookware rotation meaning it’s taking up much needed space in your cabinet. A good rule to remember is that if you haven’t used something in the last few months, it may be time to throw it out or give it away.