Size isn’t everything, and whilst bigger can occasionally be better, great things also come in small packages. A small kitchen can be a delight to work in whilst maintaining a certain charm that larger spaces often lack. With the following tricks of the trade, you can use your small space to the fullest.
Appliances: Think Small
Many of today’s diminutive appliances work just as well as their much-larger brethren. A European appliance is usually smaller, and therefore takes up much less counter space – perfect for a smaller kitchen! There are even slimmer sinks available so you really can maximize your counter space, Make sure that you choose one that efficiently uses front-to-back space, and a wall mounted faucet will also allow installation of the sink as close to the wall as possible.
Get a Smaller Oven
A smaller oven won’t keep you from cooking delicious meals. A convection oven just two feet wide can accommodate a large Thanksgiving turkey, and many have attachable rotisseries for added value. Above your slimmer oven, use a similarly-sized cooktop (choose induction, electric or gas, but the former two may be a better choice because burners can easily be connected).
Take the Time to Chill
Your refrigerator is the biggest space user in your kitchen, and the most difficult to downsize. In the early 1990s, Sub-Zero released a compact fridge that’s only 27” wide; that company was also first to debut an under-the-counter fridge and freezer combo, which is perfect for your small kitchen. Since that time, other brands have come out with similarly-sized units.
Plan your Space
After you’ve picked out your appliances, it’s time to work on your kitchen’s overall layout. Your kitchen’s most vital part is the space between your sink and food prep area; as long as you have at least 36” of room, you won’t feel crowded. Even if your stove must be within a foot of your wall, you should strive to keep that amount of space open. It’s also a good idea to put your refrigerator against the wall and out of the highest-traffic areas.
Consider your Cabinetry
Opt for floating shelves instead of wall cabinets; glassware and dishes look great out in the open, and it makes access much easier. For food storage, use tall, narrow cabinets (you’ll be surprised at what you can fit inside). Make the cabinets no taller than 6’, to allow for easier access, and leave some open walls if possible.
Shallow, adjustable shelves at the back of cabinets are ideal for items like canisters, cans and bottles, and pantry door shelves will nicely hold canned goods and spices. Or, you can use a hutch instead of a tall, wide pantry, and put cabinetry above.
When redesigning your smaller kitchen, keep in mind that you’re probably overestimating the amount of space you’ll need and use. It’s easier to work in a small space if you only keep the essentials in your kitchen; after all, gourmet chefs work in confined spaces and make some of the best food in the world! With an efficient layout and appliances, you’ll have a kitchen that will become the hub of family life in your home.