Designing Your Small Kitchen Around You
The final installment of the radical downsizing of the kitchen is to discuss the room itself.
Do you need a one butt kitchen or two?
How many people cook in your kitchen at once? In my kitchen, I cook alone. Half the time cooking is meditative the other half of the time I'm flying around like a madwoman. There is no in-between and there is no space for others to join me so I don't need a space big enough for two. The times I cook with my daughter I am usually supervising rather than cooking alongside her so I can sit at the table and drink wine while she cooks! But if you love to cook with your partner or kids then you will need to create a space big enough for everyone who needs to be in it at the same time.
This will also determine how much counter space you need and how the kitchen is laid out. Do you need a small amount of counter space on each side of the kitchen so two people can work at the same time or just enough for yourself to prep? One consideration that is often forgotten is needing space to place hot baking trays and pans when they are pulled from the oven. There should be heat-proof counter space for that if the stove top is likely to be occupied by pans.
If you are short on counter space, do you have other surfaces you can use for food prep? Surfaces that will pull double duty in my kitchen include:
The kitchen table, which is great for long and laborious tasks because I can sit in a chair and work. but the table is also good for tasks that need downward pressure because it is lower than the countertops.
A board over the sink or stove. I only use two burners most days which leaves the other two burners free for prep and I will put a board over the top of them to use the space. In RVs, there is usually a pull-down cover for the stove and a board that neatly fits the sink for just this use.
A small island. In a small kitchen, the island needs to be small also. But it can be pushed against a wall or placed on wheels so it only gets pulled out when needed. You also should think outside the box when finding the perfect island. I used an old dresser because it gives me more draw storage (there is only one draw in my kitchen). It is small, a much better height that the counters and provides just enough space without being too big. It packs in a lot more storage than the standard kitchen island.
Keep those counters clear too so they can be used for prep. This can be a challenge in a smaller kitchen so I find ways to extend what is available in the cabinets.
Use vertical space for storage
Here are ways I use the vertical space in my kitchen to expand storage.
Pot rack on the end of a shelf unit
Store baking pans vertically in an organizer with a small pan slipped into the space underneath.
Put removable hooks on the sides and ends of cabinets to hang small but frequently used items while keeping them out of the way. The space between top cabinets and the counter is ideal for hanging things. You can even get cute and useful rail systems to hang utensil jars and little shelves so that the prep surface stays clear.
Organize cabinets so that frequently used items are at the front and less frequently used things are at the back.
Of course, my biggest tip of all is to reduce the amount of stuff in the kitchen and arrange what is left efficiently to minimize the need to move around!
Looking for more tips on how to unclutter your house and design it around the way you live? Come on over to my Facebook group: Living a Great Big Tiny Life