Earlier last week, I was showing a bunch of small condos in the Comox Valley to a new client. Most of them had very cramped kitchens, so I thought this article would be helpful for others experiencing the same situation.
Make the Most of a Compact Kitchen
A kitchen has to run smoothly to be livable (and likeable). Each component in a compact kitchen must be perfectly planned, from the layout to the appliances, and all must work cohesively to overcome the limitations of cooking in a confined space. This means that designing a small kitchen can often take longer than planning a room three times the size, because the requirements are so exact. Follow these tips — some of which are illustrated in more generously sized kitchens, but which can be adapted to small spots — and learn how to squeeze every inch out of your cooking space.
Use drawers, not doors. Switch all your cabinets to drawers to gain maximum usability of the available area. Drawers allow easy access to every item, unlike cupboards, which require rummaging and can result in a cluttered cooking space as things pile up while you find time to make space on their bulging shelves. Rows of drawers also look chic and organized, even if their contents are not.
Install a petite breakfast bar. If you have no room for a kitchen table, consider sacrificing a couple of cabinets to squeeze in a small breakfast bar. This free-standing countertop ledge is a neat way of ensuring seated eating without adding bulk to the slight space.
Prioritize perfect positioning. If your room has a U-shaped layout, consider whether extra-slim cabinets or drawers will allow optimum positioning of your key appliances.
Here, the narrow pullout pantry and drawers on either side of the stove mean that the coveted kitchen work triangle can still be maintained.
Rethink your sink. An undermount sink saves countertop space and allows for a flat draining area that can be used as a second surface. A single inset sink is another option for tiny kitchens. Compact farmhouse styles also can work well.
Master savvy shelving. Be smart with shelving by looking beyond the obvious options. This modular unit is built into the wall and can be accessed from either side, and plenty of light passes through. This simple yet quirky system feels playful but inconspicuous.
Pick pint-sized appliances. Don’t assume that big is better when it comes to kitchen appliances. It’s possible to find smart styles designed for small spaces — and you won’t have to sacrifice precious storage to shoehorn them in. For example, this electric Aga is just 24 inches wide, meaning the cozy cottage kitchen you’ve been hankering after is within reach. Great for basement suites or smaller carriage homes.
Squeeze in underseat storage. A built-in bench seat makes sense in a small kitchen because it can hug the corner of the room. The recess beneath is begging to be used for oversized pans or dry goods, so be sure to utilize this secret storage.
Make a tall order. Why create a dust-trap gap above your cabinets when you can gain valuable extra inches by extending them up to the ceiling instead? This sort of exact cabinet sizing is often possible only with custom cabinetry, but ask your designer about options and you may get lucky with an appropriate off-the-shelf option.
Work your walls. When surface space is at a premium, it pays to make good use of your walls. Install shelves, rods or a pegboard to take utensils off your countertops and onto the walls. You could free up whole cupboards by hooking everything and anything that has a handle.
Source: Laura Wheat; freelance journalist for Houzz UK