Create More Space In Your Small Kitchen

Where do you spend most of your time in your home? If your family is like mine, it’s most likely in the kitchen. When the kitchen becomes the center of the home, no matter how large that space might be, it never feels big enough.

Several years ago, after completely redesigning the floor plan, I remodeled my kitchen. First, we knocked down a wall (which was a lot of fun) and installed a garden window over the sink, even with the countertop. Then we added both an island with an overhang, with room for three chairs or stools, and a food-prep peninsula at table height, also with an overhang with room for three or four stools.

Following are several ideas to make any kitchen feel and look larger. Remember, it’s not necessary to follow all of them, but even implementing one will make a big difference in your kitchen.

Create More StorageFor better, more efficient storage, install a base cabinet with roll-out shelves rather than one with a door that swings open on hinges. A cabinet like this makes a great place to store your most-used appliances. The nice thing about pull-out shelves is that items stored way in the back are easily reached.

Redo Your CabinetsTry adding glass fronts to your wall cabinets. Better yet, replace those solid cabinet doors with glass fronts along one wall. This is a great way to give your kitchen a more open feel.

Add Light
Choose under-the-counter lighting—it will make your kitchen appear larger. Don’t forget to select light colors for your cabinets and countertops!

Create Height with Taller Wall CabinetsTry removing those soffits. Install your cabinets to the ceiling. You can also “stair-step” the cabinets. First start with a taller cabinet. Then line the others progressively shorter. The open space that’s created above the shorter cabinets makes a great space to display your collectibles, baskets and teapots. You can store those seldom-used pieces, such as holiday dishes, on the top shelves of the taller cabinets.

Bring the Outdoors In
Wherever possible, enlarge those windows. Another great way to get more light in is to replace one with a garden window, installed at countertop height. For an even brighter kitchen, add a skylight or sky pipe.

Streamline Your KitchenOnce or twice a year we all go through our closets, getting rid of those clothes we no longer use. The same should be done in the kitchen. Be sure to regularly reorganize your kitchen, getting rid of all those items you don’t use. This simple chore will make your kitchen feel much more roomy. When your kitchen is cluttered, it will always feel smaller.

Build a Useful Island Do you have an eat-in kitchen, but there’s no room for an island? Consider replacing the kitchen table itself with an island. An island will not only give you an eating area, but you will also have added space to store seldom-used items. This is an easy project. Start with base cabinets either table height or counter height. Then simply top them with a countertop material. To make room for chairs or stools, extend the counter 12 to 16 inches beyond the sides of the cabinets.

Install Storage Trays
Specially made narrow trays are available at hardware stores and home centers, and can be easily installed on the back of false drawer fronts ant the sink and cooktop. This is a great way to reduce your clutter around the stove and sink.

Free Up Counter SpaceTired of cluttered countertops? Free up your counter by installing an under-the-counter microwave, can opener, spice rack or toaster.

Open Up Those WallsIs your dining room next to your kitchen? Consider opening the wall between them. Be sure the wall is not load-bearing before starting. If it isn’t, then this could be a simple do-it-yourself project.

Create Open Shelving
Add open shelves to your kitchen, especially if you have colorful plates, glasses, teapots or other collectibles to display. Open shelving always makes a small kitchen look larger. One option is to simply remove the doors from your cabinets and paint the inside a bright color. Another way to go is to take down the cabinets altogether and instead add colorful shelves to make the room feel more open.

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