Making the Most of Small Kitchens
The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the house, so it ranks high in importance for potential buyers. If you are looking for a way to add a little bit of value to your property we would recommend starting with the kitchen. We'd love one of these huge luxurious kitchens we see plastered all over the internet but we might not have the space or budget to achieve that dream. Here are a few ways to make the most of what space you have - however small it may be!
It is easy for our worktops to get cluttered up with all of our gadgets and gizmos. Keep the sides clear so it is only used for food preparation. Not only does this give you a larger area to prepare food with at dinner time but will make the area look bigger.
If you are lucky enough to have the space for an island, position it parallel to your worktops so that it can double up for extra prep room, also use it for family eating area. This will eliminate the need for a dining table - just make sure to invest in chairs that tuck out of the way easily, you don’t want them to be in the way when you're cooking dinner!
If you have a narrow galley kitchen, keep cabinets in one or two neat lines as this will make it appear bigger. One area of the kitchen that we constantly forget about is the kickboards. Turning these into additional slimline drawers will make use of a previously unused space. Due to the location we wouldn’t recommend using it to store everyday heavily used items but more for the products you don’t use day to day (i.e. cleaning products, baking products).
Appliances and Utensils
Here is where you need to put in some real thought. We all have kettles, toasters, kitchen mixers (if you are a real baking whizz!) but how often do you really use these things? For example, if you only use your toaster on the odd occasion then put it away in a cupboard - this will help declutter you worktop but also prevents dust from building up on it.
Another good way to stop utensils/saucepans from cluttering up your cupboards and worktops is to hang them up, either on the wall by your work area or above an island. This means they are still on hand for when you need them but they are not taking up lots of precious space.
When you want to make a room feel larger you would use mirrors and reflective surfaces to give the appearance of more space - this principle can be applied in the kitchen. Stainless steel handles and taps as well as gloss finish worktops and cupboards will give the appearance of the room being larger than it actually is. When decorating a small room we would always recommend using only one or two colours and nothing that is too bright. (For particularly small kitchens go for all white as this will also make the room look bigger!)
A statement light fitting can make a fantastic addition to a kitchen but may not be practical in a small kitchen. We would suggest avoiding any large, low hanging pendant lights that will eat up precious space but opt for spotlights.
Integrated lights in the bottom of cupboards are also a great way to inject extra light into your kitchen, or how about LED strip lighting that can be affixed to kickboards or anywhere else you fancy and change colour at the touch of a remote?
Island or Peninsula?
You may think that your kitchen is too small for an island but if cleverly thought out could actually be achievable. It may not be the big grand island you originally envisioned but still a great way to use up ‘dead space' in the centre of the room. This can be used to incorporate a sink or oven to allow the rest of the kitchen to be used for undisturbed workspace. You can even get portable islands which allow you to move the island to where you need it. These wouldn’t be suitable for appliances but great for an extra bit of workspace or storage.
For L- or U-shaped kitchens consider a peninsula. These are very similar to an island but are connected to a wall. If you have an open plan kitchen/ living room this could be a great way to break up the two rooms without eating up lots of space. Peninsulas can have plumbing or appliances installed as well as accommodating seating so if you have space maybe consider this over an island.
You may think that you don’t have the space for a dishwasher but you might be pleasantly surprised! The range of slimline dishwashers is extensive, and you can find all sorts specifically designed for compact spaces. You can even get dishwashers that go on your worktop, they may not have a large capacity compared to a normal dishwasher but still large enough for day to day dishes. If you do go for a countertop dishwasher make sure that the surface that you are putting it on can cope with a heavy weight. Although they are fairly light when empty, once fully loaded and on a wash cycle they can get extremely heavy.
Update your cooker extraction hood to a hob with a built-in extractor fan. Although a much more expensive alternative it will give you lots of extra room for an additional cupboard where your extractor fan would have originally been.
You could even get rid of your kettle and upgrade to a boiling water tap. These supply boiling hot, warm and cold water all from one spout.
All of these upgrades may seem expensive but when you do not have the luxury of space all of these small things can give you lots of much needed cupboard and worktop space.
Over the years it is easy to hoard all sorts of silly gadgets and gizmos (I’m looking at you avocado pitter!), so take your time to go through everything and only keep the things you really use. You will probably be surprised at what you throw away and shocked at what you have hoarded over the years!
We hope that you can use some of our ideas and translate them into your own kitchen. Remember just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have BIG ideas!