Making the Most of a Small Space

Short on space? No problem. Check our tried and true tips for maxing a small space.
Published January 26, 2017

A small kitchen can present many challenges for those who love to cook their meals at home, even a task as simple as making a bowl of cereal can feel claustrophobic in a compact space. A small kitchen can feel impossible to get organized, let alone a space that is conducive to efficiency and culinary exploration. When it comes to small kitchens, if extensive renovations aren’t an option, the emphasis should be on orderliness and optimal usage of space. A small kitchen can become a boon rather than a burden if all its potential storage and surface areas are used to their full potential. The following tips will allow plenty of cooking and baking to take place, whether it’s heating up a can of soup or making an eight-course meal.

Take inventory

The first step is often the most difficult; it can be hard to let go of all the kitchen tools and appliances that will be used “one day”, even if that day has been waiting to happen for 15 years. Take all items out of their storage spaces and think about how much they’ve been used in the last year; anything that hasn’t been used and is in good working order can be donated to charity. Waffle makers, ice cream makers, espresso machines, and juicers might have seemed like a good idea when they were first purchased or received, but if they’re not being used there’s no point in keeping them if they’re only taking up space.

Rethink the pantry

Pantries don’t have to be attached to the kitchen, and they certainly don’t have to be made specifically for use as a pantry. An empty or near-empty closet makes a wonderful storage space for dry goods; even a few unused shelves in the linen closet will clear up valuable cupboard space in a small kitchen. Get creative and think outside the box, there’s no reason 15 jars of tomato sauce need to be in a kitchen at once.

Maximize cupboard space

Simple cupboard shelves work wonders for doubling storage space for dishes and food and can be found at most kitchen and organization stores. Arrange stacked plates underneath and bowls on top, or have two tiers of glassware neatly displayed instead of cramming everything into a messy single row. Small hooks can also be attached to the undersides of cupboard shelves, providing ample space for mugs and measuring cups.

Store food in bins

A set of matching storage bins will stack perfectly and keep the kitchen looking orderly, enclosing and concealing all the loose bags and packages that are prone to looking scattered no matter how many attempts are made to keep everything looking neat and tidy. A label maker or masking tape will help disclose the contents of the storage bin and will help prevent over-buying of certain dry goods.

Hang up those pots

Stacks of pots and pans can look haphazard in even the largest of kitchens, not only do they look messy but they take up loads of valuable space. Hang a rod from the kitchen ceiling and attach several hooks to hang up cookware; pots, pans and cooking utensils all benefit from this storage method. Pot lids can be stored on the wall using small stick-on hooks or filed away in a cupboard using a lid rack.

Cutting boards that make the cut in a small kitchen

Any area used for chopping on a cutting board uses precious surface space in a small kitchen. Cutting boards that fit over the sink are ideal for leaving extra room, as are pull-out cutting boards that fit neatly back into their cupboard or cabinet once they’re done being used.

Make friends with a magnetic strip

A heavy magnetic strip mounted on to the wall goes a long way when surface space is in short supply. Kitchen knives will stay sharper when stuck to a magnetic strip and will remove cumbersome wooden knife blocks from counter tops. Experiment with other kitchen items such as measuring spoons and other utensils in order to see how much space can be saved by moving them to the wall.