We might all dream of a huge open kitchen space with vast work surfaces arranged around a central island. However, in reality, many people find themselves cramming everything into a kitchen that is just too small. Here are our top ideas for making the most of the space you have.
1. Maximize drawer space
This is one of the most important elements of making the most of the space available to you. In many kitchens, so much space is lost because drawer space is simply wasted – and there are many ways to stretch what you have.
One of the most commonly underused spaces in a kitchen is corners, and this is an easy problem to solve. There are many options for corner drawers that can utilize this space; alternatively, installing a Lazy Susan is another good choice.
You can also fit more into your drawers by using drawers with layers. This way, you can store less-commonly used items underneath and things you use often on top.
2. Buy combination appliances
Sure, we all want big, shiny, fancy kitchen appliances, but in the real world when space is at a premium, it’s not always practical. For this reason, you should think about choosing the appliances you put into your kitchen carefully.
Just to take one example, instead of buying a separate coffee machine and coffee grinder, think about buying an all in one coffee maker with grinder built in.
Lots of models now exist that allow you to store the beans in a hopper, grind the beans at the touch of a button when you want to make coffee, and then brew – all using the same machine. Other machines that can double up include microwaves that also have an “oven” feature.
3. Be selective about what you keep
One way to save storage space is simply to have less stuff to store. Look at what you have in your kitchen and think carefully about the items you really need.
For example, do you really need all those different shapes and sizes of glasses? Do you really use all the pots and pans you have in your cupboard? If you have a small kitchen, make space by discarding some of the things you don’t use.
4. Maximize cupboard space
Just like drawer space, cupboards are another place where you can often find acres of unused and potentially useful space. One of the best ways to make the most of a cupboard is to install a plate rack. This way, you store plates more efficiently while also making them more easily accessible.
Another great trick is to use a “shelf raiser”, a kind of in-cupboard shelf that adds extra space by giving you a raised platform on which to stack stuff – again, also making things easier to reach.
5. Maximize every inch
When space is really at a premium, the key is to look at your kitchen with a critical eye and think about whether every last inch is being used efficiently.
We already mentioned a good example of this with the undermounted sink. Another idea could be to put shelves and racks on the inside of cupboard doors. Installing cupboards right up to the ceiling or toe kick drawers under cupboards or ovens are other great ways of increasing storage.
6. Have a pull-out pantry
A pull-out pantry is another ingenious space-saving device. You can fit one of these into an otherwise useless space, they can be less than a foot wide and they can give you easy access to your food or cooking ingredients.
In fact, using a pull-out pantry is actually even more efficient than stacking up your food in a traditional cupboard. It puts all of the food items you stack in it within easy reach rather than being buried under everything else and ending up never being used.
7. Pay attention to the visual aspect
Finally, making a kitchen bigger isn’t just about the physical side; don’t forget to pay attention to how the space feels. By using the correct lighting, colors and even employing tricks like hanging a mirror, you can make your kitchen seem a lot bigger than it is.
8. Utilize walls and ceilings for storage
Even your empty walls can help you enlarge your kitchen since you can use them for storage too. All you need to do is attach hooks, bars and magnetic strips and you can hang anything – from pots and pans to tea towels to knives. This will also save lots of drawer and cupboard space.
Even better, look up! What you will see above your head is a whole lot of unused ceiling space. You can even attach hooks and racks up there where you can hang pots and pans – or even glasses like in a bar.
Be careful, though. If you overuse your wall or (especially) your ceiling space, your kitchen will seem overloaded, cluttered and cramped. You may save space, but you will end up making the kitchen feel a lot smaller.
9. Have a single-bowl sink
If you have a small kitchen, a double sink is a luxury you will have to forego. When your space is really cramped, the amount of space you can save by opting for a single sink is huge.
If you really have to have two sections, choose a “one-and-a-half” design as a compromise; to really gain a few more inches, you can also go for an undermounted sink model.
10. Have an island
This might seem counterintuitive – and is certainly not possible in the very smallest of kitchens – but to maximize space in a medium-sized kitchen, consider putting that island in after all.
Some islands offer all kinds of storage options like drawers and cupboards where you can hide all kinds of stuff. They also provide extra work surfaces and can even function as tables for eating.
Lots you can do – however small your space
Some kitchens seem not much larger than cupboards themselves – but however small your kitchen, there are always things you can do to maximize space and make it bigger. Look at your kitchen with a critical eye and try to identify where space is wasted and how it can be better used.