You can have a kitchen that takes up more than half your house, but even all that space can easily go to waste if you don’t make efficient use of it; with a small kitchen, it’s even more important to find any way you can to make every inch count.
That being said, you don’t need to install a bunch of cleverly hidden secret compartments (although that would no doubt be pretty awesome!). The next time you feel like your kitchen has suddenly shrunk on you, think about these 9 creative tips to squeeze more space out of it:
Multiple slide-out shelving
It’s exactly what it sounds like: shelves you can slide out…lots of them! This idea allows you to put shelves in awkward places and still have easy access to their contents; no more straining your muscles just to reach the back of cabinets. It’s especially useful for that dreaded corner cabinet space under L-shaped countertops. Another idea for this corner space is to install a couple levels of “lazy susan” shelves that rotate on a centre axis so that you can reach contents in the back by just spinning the shelf.
This won’t be an option if you have a lot dishes that stack to the very top of each shelf level; if you do have some empty space between your dishes and the shelf above though, you can mount a rack or wire basket to the underside of the top shelf and create an extra level to store light contents.
Cabinet bottom hooks
There’s actually a lot of unused space between the wall cabinets and the countertop that’s often overlooked. One way to make use of that space is to screw in hooks to the bottom of your cabinets so that you can hang your mugs on them. This will also add a whimsical feel to your kitchen, especially if you’re the kind of person who has a collection of colourful mugs with witty quotes.
If you’re okay with covering up your backsplash a little more for the sake of taking advantage of that unused space, you can put up shelves either directly on the backsplash or anchored to the bottom of your top cabinets.
Hanging door organisers
What’s great about this idea is that you can find an unending selection of organisers with varying layouts and styles that can hang from the top of doors. Choose the ones that best fit your content needs and space requirements; the key here is that you’re making efficient use of the gap between your doors and your shelves. If they fit, they can be used for the doors of your cabinets, pantry, and under-sink cabinet. The area under the kitchen sink is a classic storage spot for household cleaners, but you can prevent them from descending into a jumbled chaos by using a hanging organiser.
Tilt-out sink drawers
Continuing with the kitchen sink area, how many times have you cursed at those faux drawers in front of the sink for being so fake? What if there actually is a way to turn them into usable drawers? Well, there is! Just install drawers that tilt out and you can store small kitchen odds and ends like steel wools, scrubbers, or brushes.
Rack for pots and pans
Pots and pans are usually placed in the bottom drawers beneath countertops because of their larger storage space. You can free up all the space for other stuff though if you simply mount a rack to hang up your pots and pans. It can be a rack that goes on an unused section of your wall or it can hang from the ceiling above your kitchen island. With the ceiling rack version, you can even wire the rack with lamps to turn it into a dual-purpose fixture.
Flatware drawer organisers
These are always must-haves in the kitchen because there’s nothing more frustrating than digging through drawer after drawer for that one elusive utensil. If you don’t have enough drawers to separate cooking utensils from flatware, a creative trick is to create cascading double-layer drawers. The idea is to make the top layer a flatware organiser that sits neatly on the drawer’s top edge and only takes up a little more than half the drawer depth. So when you pull out the drawer part-way, you get the flatware on top; when you pull out the drawer all the way though, the back edge of the flatware organiser will catch on pegs that stop it from extending out any further, which exposes the bottom layer for cooking utensils.
Rather than having a clunky knife block taking up valuable space on your kitchen counter, you can get a custom-made knife rack drawer that slides into the cabinetry beneath the countertop. Another much simpler option – again, only if you’re comfortable covering up your backsplash – would be to attach a strong magnetic strip to your backsplash and just stick your knives flat against the wall.
So you see, there’s always more space if you set your mind to it. With enough practice, you may even want to try your hand at becoming a Tetris world champion one day! Before that though, let’s start with your kitchen. Keep in mind that some of these tips above may require some expert cabinet wizardry skills so give us a shout when you’re ready to maximise your kitchen space.