The tiny house movement has taken hold, and all across America, people are downsizing. The average tiny house is just 186 square feet, while the average American detached home is nearly 2,100 square feet. This move to smaller houses can open up many design ideas for small kitchen remodel.
The tiny house movement is about reducing, simplifying, and streamlining, in order to live a life leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the planet, and at a lower cost. It’s an alternative to taking on big debts and big responsibility and people find that it gives them more time to focus on what’s really important in their lives.
Even if people aren’t deliberately joining the tiny house movement, real estate prices continue to rise in most urban areas, forcing many people to scale down the size of their living quarters. The average cost of a square foot of real estate in Manhattan is $1,526 and in San Francisco it’s $1,048.
Both the price pressure and a desire for simplicity and freedom are encouraging people to inhabit smaller living spaces and make the most of every square foot they can find in their house. However, in a kitchen design, small spaces can be particularly challenging.
Kitchens are not only where food is prepared and cooking items are cleaned and stored, but they are also high-traffic areas where people are constantly moving into or through. We demand these rooms to be useful and versatile and every inch becomes valuable space. So how can a homeowner design a kitchen remodel project to reclaim as much space as possible?
Small Kitchen Remodel Ideas
Most appliances can be reduced in size without really impacting usefulness or function. Reducing the size of a refrigerator or oven adds valuable storage space in cabinets and working space on a countertop, and turns wasted square inches inside an oven or freezer into useful area. You won’t miss the larger appliances.
Rethink countertop appliances.
To quote the great Alton Brown, don’t buy single-use kitchen appliances. Even if you really want a bread-maker, save the space for countertop appliances that are more versatile and will be used every day. An Instant Pot or Vitamix takes up space in the kitchen but are also multi-functional. Unless you have fondue every week, get rid of the fondue pot.
The corners beneath base cabinets are often blind, wasted space, especially in a L-shaped kitchen. Your countertops corners are often underutilized as well. But clever remodeling can turn blind corners into valuable space. Consider adding a custom hutch or cabinet to fit into a corner, installing a corner sink, or even a corner refrigerator.
To exploit corners on a budget, add a lazy-Susan or angled drawers into a blind base cabinet to make the space more useful and accessible.
Trade cupboards for drawers.
Adding roll-out drawers and racks inside cupboards makes the most of the storage space. It also eliminates the need to physically move some kitchen items in order to get access to what’s stored behind them.
Take it apart.
The false drawer-fronts in front of the sink can be converted into little pockets for sponges and cleaning supplies. Wasted toe-kick space can be converted into long, shallow drawers perfect for baking sheets and big platters. A couple inches of veneer surrounding the refrigerator can be turned into a pull-out shelf for canned goods or spices. Don’t be afraid to look for unconventional storage space.
In most kitchens, walls and ceilings aren’t considered storage space, but in a tiny kitchen, they have to be. Trade in a countertop knife block for a magnetic strip on the wall. Reclaim cupboard space by hanging a pot rack from the ceiling.
Hanging baskets can be used for root vegetables or drying herbs, while spices and measuring spoons can be stuck to the fridge with magnetized jars and hooks. Hang a pegboard on a wall or the side of an island for cutting boards or colanders that take up space to store. Hang shelves anywhere a shelf can be hung, including up high near the ceiling for oversized or seasonal items that don’t need to be accessed often.
Convert fixtures into workspace.
The correct size cutting board will fit over the sink, temporarily converting it into additional working counter space. Likewise, there are covers that will do the same thing for a cooktop, so that kitchen fixtures that aren’t currently in use can be temporarily recruited for additional counter and workspace when needed.
Look inside cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
Paint the inside of a cabinet door with chalkboard paint to keep a grocery or to-do list. Hang spice racks, cup hooks, or storage for cleaning supplies inside cabinet doors. Use hooks or a rod to hang pot lids inside doors or drawer-fronts to keep them out of the way.
Use the wasted space beneath upper cabinets.
Make use of the space beneath upper cabinets to hang cups or stemware. Install a fold-down recipe book holder, or hang a small shelf, rack, or pullout basket for utensils, cookbooks, or cutting boards.
Make it portable.
A rolling cart with shelves and a butcher-block top can act as extra storage when it’s tucked away, or rolled out for added workspace when it’s needed. These come in a variety of sizes and profiles, so it’s easy to find an out-of-the-way space keep it, and then move it into the kitchen when it’s wanted.
There are a million ways to take advantage of a tiny kitchen, but it takes creativity and ingenuity. It involves not using things the same way you always have, or doing things the way you’ve always done, but imagining new possibilities. The ability to rethink the ordinary, imagine new possibilities, and create new opportunities is the key to living happily in a small space. With the right kitchen layout you can find a small kitchen design that you will love.