If you think that the size of the kitchen dictates how smart and functional it looks, continue reading to find out how you can make the best out of the tiniest kitchen possible. Small equals cheerful, small equals functional and above all, small equals efficiency!
Ceiling, not the sky, is the limit
For some reason, kitchen spaces are almost always spread out. Sure, we have cabinets, but what about the space above the cabinets? Why is the space above the sink rarely used? Why not build cabinets up to the roof of the kitchen? Learn to not only use these empty spaces but use them well to stash your lesser-used tools (hello, five-quart Dutch oven) and equipment. Use wicker baskets to add a splash of design.
Cut the fat
No, we are not talking about the food. Small kitchens often look overloaded, unkempt and messy because people do not reduce the number of utensils and vessels to suit that space. Do you really need eight plates for a family of three? Do you need a dishwasher in a family of two that eats one meal a day at home? Trim out the excess in the kitchen by either selling them off or pack and keep them in, you guessed it, space above the cabinets.
Cups, chopping boards, knives, pots and pans and nearly everything else in a kitchen can be hung instead of being piled up on top of each other. Not only will this save space, but it will also add a touch of design to the rather boring and monotonous storage spaces.
Lighten the place
Apartment kitchens often lack a source of natural light. In such a case, artificial lights can go a long way in brightening up the kitchen and make it look larger than its size. Experiment with this idea: mix and match colorful lights that go beyond the usual white lights. And oh, please buy LEDs. The high initial investment will be offset by much lower electricity bills. Also, it is the most economical way to call your kitchen ‘modern’ and ‘smart’.
Shrink the sink
This may not apply to all kitchens, we admit. But if you building a small kitchen or redesigning an old kitchen ground up, then consider reducing the size of the sink by a third at least. Most sinks are too big and take up too much space. Simply put, a sink that is as wide as your biggest pot should suffice. This will also encourage you to clean your vessels more regularly!
Not all appliances are equal
In small kitchens, countertop space is more premium than anything else. Use that space well and discard all appliances and utensils that you do not use at least five times a week. And for coffee, consider moving to a gas-based alternative (mocha pot, drip filter, French press) instead of the bulky coffee machine. Appliances like toasters can simply be removed after use and stored in cabinets instead of leaving them on the countertop.
Boost storage options
Yes, the cupboards and drawers will likely take care of your storage solutions. But maybe you can increase their storage capacity by adding internal storage solutions? Consider adding wire racks in your shelves or investing in mobile solutions like a trolley or butcher’s block on castors.
Improve food storage through compact containers
Small does not mean you can’t have it all, but you must use the space well. Take herbs for example. Instead of buying ten packets of herbs which are lined up one next to the other, buy smaller packets and keep all of them in ziplock bags or a wicker basket.
Instead of keeping multiple small jars, keep them packed in one large pot/container. This not only reduces clutter, but it improves organizing food too. For example, you can have separate baskets for Italian, Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian seasonings and all can simply be taken out when needed.
How about using design to brighten up your kitchen? If you live in a studio flat and a window in your tiny kitchen, consider adding draperies. This will invite the same coziness your living room offers, making it feel no less plush and comfy while adding softness and warmth.
In small kitchens, it is unlikely that you will have space for a proper kitchen island. However, you can improvise and create an island that doubles up as counter space when you’re prepping dinner, and eat at it later. And the lower half of the kitchen island will work well for storing utensils, especially cutlery. And use small stools instead of chairs to make the best use of the little space.
White is the way forward
White walls are often the easiest way to make a space look larger. Take it a notch further with light, reflective materials and minimal designs like frosted glass cabinet doors, white stone, stainless-steel worktops, and white splashback tiling.
Open it up
An open shelving unit adds more storage without taking much of floor or visual space. An antique étagère placed on a kitchen counter can hold all your miscellaneous items. Say, your kitchen is small and part of that is because of too many walls and/or doors. Consider either removing the door or replacing it with a glass door to give a visual mirage.
The X Factor
Small kitchens do not mean dull kitchens. Use whatever space is available to add the unexpected. Adding a painting, or wallpapering the inside of your cabinets, or springing for a surprising backsplash can make your kitchen have a lovely distinct character.
Use your fridge in a different way
The space taken by the refrigerator at the bottom is the same that it offers at the top! In a small kitchen, this space has its weight in gold. This can be an excellent place to stack chopping boards and/or pots. Alternatively, this can also be a good place for you to add a bit of greenery via herb pots and climbers. If you have the time, you can even design custom storage solutions which can double up as anything: from another cabinet to a mini library.
Rug it up
Probably the simplest yet most thoughtful addition to a small kitchen is an even smaller rug. Not only does it add warmth to your kitchen, but it adds an important amount of coziness which is a must for every small kitchen. Whether it is a simple, clean rug or a more plush, furry piece, make sure it blends well with your overall aesthetic. Remember that a rug will amplify your kitchen’s look, but it is not the centerpiece of its design.
Tiles are your friends
A small kitchen is not just about what you design at the top. The floor matters a lot too. In small kitchens, tiles can heighten the wow factor, especially if you go with something eccentric (think, bright yellow tiles). And since it a small kitchen, the investment is small too. And if you are living on rent, consider buying peel-and-stick floor tiles although they may not be to everyone’s taste.
Go bold or go home
Being on a budget or designing a small space is no reason to not spend on what is absolutely necessary. Think of adding a natural stone like marble as a countertop, or a false ceiling with colorful accents. A small kitchen can be redesigned regularly, so do not hesitate in taking risks.
Take it out
Whoever said a kitchen and equipment should be limited just to the kitchen space? Things like island stools and even the island can be moved out of the kitchen and double up as dining space in the, well, dining space.
Leave no counter unattended
Small kitchens cannot afford luxuries like wasted space. Use your old chopping boards as covers for your stovetops to increase prep space and even serving space during dinner. Install small racks in every nook and cranny to store things. And clean regularly to ensure no clutter.
Don’t just recycle, upcycle
Every box you buy (wooden, plastic) is another storage solution. Buy less, buy regularly and whenever possible, turn simple boring boxes into something nice and colorful for future use. Tea boxes, for example, can easily work as storage for those numerous seasoning sachets you get with pizza. Similarly, cookie tins can work wonderfully well for storing food in the fridge and they can be easily stacked on top of each other.