Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Style and Efficiency

Small kitchens work best when the space is streamlined down to the essentials for efficiency.

While you are in the planning stage, separate your existing kitchen items into four groups:

  1. Essential items used everyday – pots, pans, dishes, glassware, etc. You will want these within easy reach.
  2. Occasionally used items – party platters, punch bowl, etc. You can plan to store these in harder to reach cabinets, or even move them to a storage area somewhere else in the house.
  3. Items with sentimental value – your grandmother’s mixing bowl reminds you of times you cooked together, but you never use it now. Maybe a display cabinet can be included in the new design to showcase such items.
  4. Never used items – whatever these may be they are taking up valuable space. Let them go. If the item is in good condition and someone else could use it, donate it to a local thrift store. If it’s broken and you kept meaning to get it repaired, just throw it away. If it’s been broken and taking up space for a long time then you don’t really need it.

Make a list of new items that you believe you must have in the redesigned kitchen. Writing them down can help you to evaluate whether they are essential or wish items. Essential items will need an easily accessed place designed to hold them. Wish items may turn out to be only used occasionally. You will have to evaluate whether they need to be in the kitchen, or if possibly a work area just needs to be available for various tasks. For example, baking – you may want special baking equipment and a work area for this activity. But does this task happen often (weekly) or occasionally (for holidays)?

Figuring out how the kitchen design will work in real life is the most important part in any design, but especially with smaller spaces, the placement of everything is extremely vital. Below is a fine example of a small galley kitchen designed by Kitchen Views. But what you cannot see in the photo is how items are organized for use.

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Once you’ve sorted your kitchen items, think about how you use the kitchen. Walk through a task such as preparing a meal and make note of your movements plus how many times you return to a particular appliance or the sink. What items do you use for the task, you want those items to be near your work area. That will help you to visualize the changes that will make things easier in the redesigned kitchen.

For example, perhaps you start at the refrigerator to get ingredients, then prepare them at the counter. Are knives and other prep tools handy? Do you frequently need to rinse vegetables in the sink? Maybe you reach for a pan next and put in the ingredients. Is there counter space near the stove? Are spices handy? Use this method for other tasks such as serving meals, doing dishes, and so on. Take note of how you perform these various tasks, and then you’ll have a good idea what you need in your kitchen remodel when you go to work with a designer.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Design That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen and Small Kitchen Designs That Work

Next in the series: Match the style to be an extension of the rest of your home.

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