The Challenges of Small Kitchen Renovations – How to Overcome Them

  • June 27, 2014
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Having a small kitchen can be frustrating if it is not able to meet all of the needs that a larger kitchen might afford. One way to update a current kitchen to have everything you want in a kitchen is through renovation. Renovating a small kitchen comes with its own set of unique challenges. What is in the kitchen must be sufficient for your needs, but at the same time not make the kitchen look cluttered. Making a small kitchen look larger than it is without giving up important cabinet space, appliances, and working space requires planning time and careful consideration of the following challenges you will face and their solutions.

Limited Layout Options 

One of the most important aspects to any kitchen, not just small ones, is its layout. The specific layout becomes critical for small kitchens. Layout determines how easy it is to be in the kitchen, in terms of preparation of food, cooking, accessibility of appliances, and socialization. Layout of your kitchen is limited by the structure of the home. Thus, the type of layout will rely heavily on what you have to work with.

Solution – There are a few kitchen layouts to choose from and one of them should work well for the type of situation you are in. One-wall, galley, U-shaped, G-shaped, and L-shaped kitchen layouts all offer unique characteristics.

One-wall kitchens are typically found in small homes, so this is one of the first choices. While it may not offer a lot of counter space, all of the appliances are within reaching distance. Often the sink is located between the refrigerator and the oven to create a central work space and the refrigerator is at the end of the counter. Cabinet space is often built into the walls and the microwave may be inserted between cabinets so as not to take up valuable counter space.

The galley kitchen utilizes two parallel stretches of working space on opposing walls. With simply an added wall, the kitchen suddenly doubles amount of work space available in a one-wall kitchen. U-shaped layouts take the galley kitchen and add working space to one end. These are still good for small, narrow kitchens.

G-shaped and L-shaped layouts are designed for more square-shaped kitchen spaces, as the working space is composed of two working spaces that form the L-shape then 2 shorter working spaces may be added to the ends to form a G-shape. These shapes have counter and cabinets running along a wall, though the G-shape may have additional counter space that juts into open areas. One advantage to L-shaped kitchens is that if space allows, an island may be installed.

Limited Storage 

You do not want your kitchen to look cluttered, but in having a small kitchen, they often end up looking that way due to lack of cabinet and counter space.

Solution – During kitchen renovations, there are many innovative ways to create storage where there previously was none. One major way to improve storage space is to utilize every inch of space in your cabinets. This can be done by adding cork or magnetic board to the inside of the cabinet doors to attach notes or little storage containers. You can also use roll-out storage containers inside the cabinets. The added benefit of these is that you also reduce the amount of time you spend rooting around in the back of cabinets. Hooks or lazy susans can also be placed inside weird corner cabinets for the storage of pots and pans.

All available space in the kitchen not traditionally used for storage should also be taken advantage of. You can install shelving hangers, hooks, and magnetic racks or boards onto walls, the sides of kitchen cabinets, and walls bordering the window. Hangers can also be installed on the ceiling for pots and pans and/or large cooking utensils.

There are also ways to organize kitchen items so they do not need as much storage to begin with. For instance, line up cutting boards, bakeware, and other flat items so they rest vertically instead of horizontally. Similarly, pan lids can be organized simply using a small curtain rod that is installed above the counter or in a cabinet.

If your kitchen is small and your granite countertops are lacking in space to prepare food, you can use cutting boards over the sink so counter space is free for other activities. Some cutting boards have both a chopping surface and a drainage bowl. Save space by reducing clutter on the counters by replacing knife blocks with magnetic knife strips on the wall. And finally, it may be preferable to have a rolling kitchen island to function in storage and prep space. The advantage here is a moving surface that can be safely stored out of the way.

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