So you’re walking through IKEA, and you notice a little sign posted:
“Better living in 480 sq. ft.”
A kitchen, bathroom, washer/dryer, pantry, closet, and living area in 480 square feet? What sorcery is this?! Somehow, IKEA always seems to make everything fit, while making it still feel spacious. The crazy thing is this: it’s not magic at all; instead, IKEA has nailed the mentality of finding storage space in even the smallest of living areas.
If you’re living in a small space already, one of the places you’ll probably feel the pinch the most is in the kitchen. You have to have dishes, utensils, bulky pots and pans, cutting boards, and then all of the food and appliances in order to have a functioning kitchen. You also need furniture like tables and chairs that cut into your already cramped quarters. So how exactly do you find the space to put everything without feeling like clutter is coming out of your ears? Well, we’ve got four storage ideas for you and your small kitchen.
1. Furniture and Appliances
You can start by looking at your furniture. Your kitchen table and chairs probably take up the most free space in your kitchen, so if you can afford to replace them with something a little more space-conscious, you can free up a lot of room. Look for a table that has folding or removable leaves as well as storage in the main section. Even a little drawer under the tabletop can be a huge help in the kitchen. Along with that, look for chairs that fold up and can be stashed out of sight or swing out from the wall. Being able to move your chairs out of the kitchen completely can help free up a lot of valuable workspace.
You can also create the illusion of space by changing up the shape of your furniture. Instead of having sharp edges or corners, look for folding furniture with a rounded top. If you have a large rectangular island, opt for a long, skinny island instead. Within your island, be sure to incorporate shelving and storage space to maximize its usefulness.
2. Get Creative
You can always add freestanding shelves in the blank wall spaces around your kitchen, but getting creative can often yield some impressive storage solutions. Think about adding custom-made cubbies to frame your doorway. You can also add them above your windows or underneath the bar top to store dishes or linens. If you have a sit-down table, replace one or two of the chairs with a bench seat that has storage space for paper products, tablecloths, and other odds and ends.
There’s also a pretty neat trend out there to buy ultra-thin shelving units that fit in-between your fridge and cabinets. These shelves roll out to reveal spices, canned goods, and other small, shelf-stable foodstuffs that would otherwise be taking up valuable cabinet space elsewhere.
3. Utilize the Walls and Ceiling
The walls and ceiling are some of the most under-utilized spaces in your kitchen. This could be because people are afraid to make the space too cluttered, or it may be because people just don’t think to use this functional area. For the walls, a pegboard is an excellent way to hold spices, small plants, utensils, sponges, knives, and other items. You can also attach a magnetic knife rack to the wall to get rid of that countertop-space-hogging knife block.
If you’re not afraid to get a little dirty and do some demo, cutting out some of the sheetrock to install a build-in shallow pantry between the studs is a fun way to get more functional space.
Hanging pots and pans from the ceiling is another great way to clear out some of your cupboards to make room for larger appliances like mixers and toasters that tend to clutter up the counter. Additionally, you can hide seldom-used items in wicker baskets above your cabinets or show off fancy plates or trinkets with wire baskets.
4. Look at Your Cabinets
Your cabinet shelves aren’t the only place that have storage potential. If you attach Command hooks or a small key rack to the side of your cabinets, you can hold measuring spoons, cups, and other small utensils. On the inside of the door, you can attach a file folder holder that will contain all of your wax paper, plastic wrap, and foil. Feeling crafty? Screw some canning jar lids to the underside of your upper cabinets to create an out-of-the-way spice holder system.
If you need extra space inside of your cabinets, look for wire cabinet dividers. These little dividers create an additional shelf inside of your cabinet for those extra bowls and mugs.
Another idea to create a little more countertop space while remaining functional is to add a small shelf inside the drawer that has your trash pullout. If you cut a hole into the shelf, you have a little cutting board that lets you quickly cut produce and throw the scraps in the trash all at once.
And of course, you can always convert those false drawer fronts in front of your sink to tilt-out storage using a simple kit from the hardware store. These swanky little drawers get those sponges and scrapers off of the countertop and out of sight.
You’ll be surprised at how much space you can reclaim when you turn a critical eye to your kitchen and make small but meaningful improvements. If you need something more in the way of a kitchen remodel in Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett or other greater-Seattle areas, contact our kitchen and bath remodeling team for free estimates.