Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

Making Small Kitchens Work

Sometimes you have to make a small kitchen work. Expanding the kitchen is not viable because of cost, space constraints, or because you are renting. recently published a list of 8 ways to make more of a small kitchen. Though, there are two number 4’s and no number 6. LOL. I’d like to chime in on a few of these comments.

Number 1 on their list is using your oven for storage. Yikes. Your kitchen would have to be awfully small for this to be a viable alternative. It might be more viable if your oven didn’t work, or if you rarely used it. But if you use your oven on a regular basis for baking, roasting, braising, or broiling, I would say don’t store flammable goods in there or better yet, find alternative locations to store those pans.

I heartily agree with items numbers 2, 3 and the first number 4: Install hooks wherever you can, create your own pantry, and if you need more storage buy it. Installing hooks lets you make use of vertical space. Creating your own pantry in a piece of furniture or in a portion of a closet elsewhere in the house can make your life a lot easier. If you can’t find storage in existing pieces of furniture, buying a new shelf, or cabinet or dresser that can do double duty in the dining area can make a huge difference.

Rendering of the proposed kitchen as viewed from the door to the Living Room.
Rendering of the Sunnyvale kitchen as viewed from the door to the Living Room.

The second number 4 is organizing things by how and where you use them. This can really make a difference. Our kitchen came with a full height pantry unit in the location nearest the dining room. All of our neighbors use this cabinet to store food. We use it to store our dishes. It is ideally located between the dining room (for ease of setting the table) and the dishwasher (for ease of emptying the dishwasher). Between this pantry and the refrigerator there is an 18 inch deep cabinet where most of our neighbors keep their seldom used counter top appliances. This is where we keep our coffee maker. It is right next to where we keep the coffee cups, and it’s next to the fridge for access to milk. It means one of us can be making coffee without being underfoot while the other is making breakfast, or serving dessert.

Number 5 is storing pots and pans up high. I would only do this for pots and pans I don’t use very often. But the idea of using that space on the very top shelves of cabinets, or the tops of cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling to store things you don’t use often, but do need to keep, is a good one.

Number 7 is cleaning as you go when you’re cooking. I agree. This practice makes cooking in a small kitchen much easier. It also means you don’t have to face a huge mess to clean up when you’re done cooking.

The final suggestion, number 8, is to use the bath tub to stock pile the dirty dishes when you’re having a dinner party. All I have to say, is oh, hell, no. That’s a non starter for me. I can see using your bath tub, filled with ice, for staging drinks during a big house party, or even for storing smaller pieces of furniture when you’re having a big party. But dirty dishes? Ugh.

For some of my ideas about how to freshen up your kitchen, subscribe to my newsletter, and get a free copy of my ebook, 12 Ideas To Freshen Up + Improve Your Kitchen.

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