5 Ways to Make a Small Kitchen Feel More Spacious

    Becky fromPractips/Hometalk“How to make a tiny kitchen look huge” was the original idea for this post. Why did we reject it? Simple. There’s already a ton of articles on how to change your kitchen’s appearance cluttering up the blogosphere. “Tile the floor diagonally,” “install open shelves,” “put up lots of mirrors,” and yada yada yada. Well I don’t know about you, people, but I spend a heck of a lot less time looking at my kitchen than I do actually working in it. (That’s not to mention dodging my son and my Jack Russell rescue as I scurry around my “cozy” 75-square foot space.) It’s about time for some new tips on how to make your minuscule kitchen feel more spacious, practical, and comfortable.

    1. Work with your kitchen traffic patterns. Yes, it’s an inevitable fact of life. Someone near and dear to you will be seized by an uncontrollable urge to grab a drink or a snack from the fridge … just when you’re frantically putting a few final touches on the piece de resistance for tonight’s dinner party. Don’t sweat it. One very helpful DIY hack to help you cope with your household’s traffic flow: reverse your refrigerator door, so that it no longer opens right into the middle of your limited work area.

    2. Maximize cabinets. Get rid of kitchen clutter and keep your essentials close at hand so that you can work effectively. Extend your storage all the way to the ceiling with custom cabinetry or your own DIY containers. If your kitchen is truly microscopic, make sure that you’ll have enough room to open a ladder or stepstool when you need to access this area. In the corner spot, install a lazy Susan or – even better! – pull-out shelving or drawers, for easier access and cleaning. Use those skinny slices of space next to the refrigerator and under your base cabinets; install a sliding storage tower and toe-kick drawers, respectively. Save an inch or two more of precious kitchen real estate with integrated drawer pulls.

    3. Go vertical. Don’t overlook the square footage available on your walls. Hang up a magnetic strip to mount a prized set of chef’s knives well above floor level; this will keep them safely out of reach of small children, yet close enough for your own convenience while you’re busy taking care of kitchen tasks. In a similar vein, make use of utensil hooks and perhaps a case for storing wine. And why not cast a vote in favor of bringing back the oh-so-handy-but-no-longer-trendy pot rack?

    4. Choose efficient furnishings. Any furniture that you absolutely must squeeze into your kitchen’s petite footprint should be scaled down and simple to stow away when it’s not needed. The perfect example is your seating – folding chairs and stacking stools rule! In place of a kitchen island, try the flexible solution of a fold-down table or shelf, or a butcher block-topped cart on wheels.

    5. Ventilate. A small kitchen can turn into an awfully stuffy, unpleasantly humid, and generally claustrophobia-inducing place to be -- unless it’s well ventilated. If you do a fair amount of cooking, don’t forego a range hood in order to save space; however, do opt for a slim line, low-profile style. In addition, you might consider installing a ceiling-mounted electric fan. This is an energy-smart way to improve air circulation and supplement (or replace) your air conditioning. To clean and cool the atmosphere in your kitchen, grow half a dozen green plants in hanging pots.

    Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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