Creating more storage & counter space
The goal is simple – making your small kitchen more functional. There’s no question, you need more storage and counter space. And you can have it by utilizing each square inch as efficiently as possible, by making your small kitchen work more advantageously.
Let’s Start With Vertical Storage
You want to hang as much as possible. And there are countless designs of easy to install fixtures and tracks that make this feat possible. It’s an untapped storage resource, mostly, the vertical space of a kitchen. Hang your chosen system on the wall – it can include, open shelving, a rail, a magnetic knife rack… all designed to make the counter space more free and available. Plus navigating the kitchen has never been easier, with most of your tools and gadgets visible as they are now suspended and a breeze to access. Cookware, dishes and utensils are also all within easy reach.
We often neglect certain things – ideas or opportunities – because we are wired to take them for granted. For instance, the space around our refrigerators… You never gave it a second thought, right? Typically there’s not much too room to even speak of. But say you could make about a foot of space from the fridge to the wall simply by moving the large appliance over to one side. With that newly opened space, you could create a hidden roll-out pantry. This would be the perfect space to store non-perishable items such as canned goods, and whatever other kitchen related goods of the right size. Look for DIY instructions online, there are a variety of easy to make and install designs out there, and the finished results (especially when constructed of wood) are really quite attractive and convenient.
Similarly, a pegboard backsplash, one of stainless steel, can pull double duty. Besides the job of protecting the wall from all of the spills and splatters that occur daily, it can also serve to have all of the kitchen related tools you use available in a moment’s notice. This is another great potential DIY project – making a one of a kind double duty kitchen backsplash for your home! It’s easy, especially considering that you can find stainless steel pegboards at most building supply stores.
And if you are working with a very tight kitchen, you may have to consider some drastic measures to create that much needed extra space. For instance, you could install a fold out kitchen table that will also serve as counter space. It’s as easy as it sounds. A wooden table top (size to be determined by the area you’re working with) that is attached to hinges against the wall. When extended it is supported by a locking bracket. When not in use, simply collapse the counter and it will be level with the wall, making that previously occupied space now free.
So what other potential areas of free space are we neglecting? Well, you probably never would have considered making use of the space within the toe kick area. Why not? It can be utilized and made into floor-level pull-out drawer storage by converting the space that is usually ignored behind the baseboard. You can do this ingenious retrofit on most standard base cabinets. If you don’t like that, there are so many more creative kitchen storage solutions out there that you could implement.
Thinking Outside The (Cabinet) Box
Also, you might even be lucky enough to find a bit of hanging space for utensils on a curtain rod above a window. If so, see what vertical storage you can produce from it. Related racks work similarly, are great for getting pots and pans out of the way (always best installed next to the oven).
Now, what do you think about the space your sink provides? Sure you always need it for a variety of reasons, but how about a easily removable over-the-sink cutting board? Not only can you rinse and chop veggies with no wasted seconds between, but you free up much of your counter space for other purposes.
Here’s yet another idea you may not have considered, how about continuing your kitchen storage potential into a nearby room? Is there a nook or rarely used closet there that can serve to provide that extra bit of needed storage? Perhaps there a recessed niche you can use to put various kitchen tools or nonperishable items in. Be creative and install a curtain so that the sight of kitchen items in a random room is concealed from view.
Corners are your friends, too. They are perhaps among the most underutilized spaces in a home. In the case of maximizing kitchen potential it’s all about installing a series of small corner shelves. They’re unused space that you can build on to create ledges that are the epitome of convenience. Tucked safely back within the counter area these shelves are still easily within reach. There are also corner cabinets that are similar in size in terms of the amount of space they take up when compared to corner shelving.
Corner shelving is just another example of how thinking outside of the box can produce more solutions often than you thought were possible. Check out our other stories for more kitchen improvements like these upgrades for your kitchen cabinets.