Designing a Small Kitchen
I recently stayed in an apartment with a small kitchen and it got me thinking about the design details that would make it more efficient.
My first thought was to have an induction cooktop. I love induction: it is fast, efficient and very controllable. The thing that makes it great for a small kitchen is that as a smooth top that only heats metal that a magnet can stick to, you can put a cutting board or a serving dish on it and not worry about it burning. It effectively increases your counter space.
I am not usually a fan of over the range microwaves, but small kitchens are what they were built for. A single dishwasher drawer would be a good option in an small kitchen. They are great for singles or couples who can take days to fill a full sized dishwasher.
The next thing I would have is a hot water dispenser. This saves having to have a electric kettle on the counter. The tank does take some space in the sink cupboard, but that is an under utilized space anyway (more about that later).
For coffee drinkers, Brew Express fits into the space between the studs.
The backsplash is a space that can be maximized: magnetic knife rack, magnetic spice rack, hanging rail for utensils and spices. This is also where the under cabinet lighting goes. Under cabinet lighting transforms the quality of the work space in the kitchen. It needs to be every kitchen with wall cabinets but especially in kitchens without natural light, which is often the case in small apartment kitchens.
Cabinetry needs to be maximized with organizational hardware and there is a lot out there to make the most of your cabinet space. Two tier drawer inserts double the cutlery storage. Spice racks on the inside of cabinet doors. Pull out racks for pots and pans, Vertical dividers in the cabinet above the fridge store baking pans, cookie sheets and serving trays. Toekick drawers are available from many cabinet manufacturers and are a good spot for less frequently used serving platters, etc. Many of these items can be installed in existing cabinetry, visit www.rev-a-shelf.com to see the range of items available.
The sink base is a relatively large cabinet and can be put to good use. That is often the space for a pull out trash bin, a pull out towel bar, a rack on the door for cleaning supplies, dividers to hold cutting boards vertically or a roll out drawer box in the base and a u-shaped roll out drawer around the plumbing. A tilt out tray in front of the sink holds scrubbers and dish brushes. Many sinks have accessories made just for them, but cutting boards, colanders and dishracks can be found to fit most sinks.
Another thing I would consider is a pull out base cabinet that has a butcher block top. This gives you an instant island and it can be wheeled into the dining room or living room to be a serving counter.
Small kitchens need good design as much or more than big fancy ones. Every inch counts and can be maximized to make working in a small space efficient and fun.
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