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Shape Up Your Kitchen: Remodeling & Styling Ideas for the Small Kitchen

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Remodeling a small kitchen allows you to make the most of what space you've got. But where do you start?

Here we will look at what shape your kitchen is, as well as the space you have, to help you plan a kitchen that is efficient and fits in everything you need it to. Plenty of planning and remodeling ideas are included as well as some quick fixes at the end if you don't want to undergo a complete refit.

Planning the Space

Welcome to the Working Triangle

U Shaped Kitchen Showing the Working Triangle
When planning the space in your small kitchen, it is ideal to have at the forefront of your planning the working triangle. This is based on the 3 main elements in a kitchen: the sink, the stove, and the fridge. By placing these in a triangle formation you will find yourself walking back and forth a lot less often, and find cooking and preparation much easier.

This isn't always as easy as it seems in a small kitchen, however you can be creative in how equal your triangle is. This sketch shows the sink opposite the stove, with the fridge separated from the stove by a cabinet - still a triangle and still an efficient layout. Often though, it can depend on what shape of kitchen you have, as much as the size, when you're looking for small kitchen remodeling ideas.

Galley Kitchens & Single Wall Kitchens

Galley kitchens and single wall kitchens perhaps pose the most challenges when remodeling a small kitchen, as even though they may have room for as many cabinets as a differently proportioned one, they still have the "feel" of being smaller. There are certain ideas that you can use effectively in a galley kitchen though.

Galley Kitchen(99774)
  • Depending on where your kitchen is situated you may be able to recess storage into the walls. Given proper space and ventilation you can effectively bury a pantry into the wall, a fridge, shelf units, or microwaves.
  • If there are no doors or windows that would prevent it, when you remodel your current galley style kitchen, why not create a more space efficient L-shape or U-shape kitchen instead. Using just 2ft of wall space at one end can add storage and counter space with ease.
  • Make more room in a small kitchen and consider getting rid of wall mounted units altogether; just make use of floor based units. This creates a much greater feeling of space. Or try adding more shallow units or shelves, making use of the wall, but not so that it feels closed in.

L Shape or U Shape Kitchens

Even if your kitchen is small, if it is an L-shape kitchen, it is one of the most efficient shapes in terms of space.

Small U Shape Kitchen
  • If the space is wide enough then incorporate a small table and chairs into the room. You could then use the dining room for another purpose, or if it is feasible, you could knock through to make one large kitchen-diner rather than two separate rooms.
  • Use the space that doesn't have cabinets on it to store a butchers block trolley. This incorporates not only a countertop area, but also can feature pull out chopping boards, vegetable baskets and a wine rack. You can effectively use it like an island in your kitchen, and then put it back into the corner when you're finished.
  • Use the corners of your U-shape or L-shape kitchen, and install storage that is attached to the inside cabinet doors - making better use of every available inch, as well as making items easier to access.

Quick DIY Fixes for Small Kitchens

Here are some more small kitchen remodeling ideas that you could use, no matter what shape your kitchen is:

Extended Countertop - Great for Increasing Space in a Small kitchen
  • Use glass or frosted panel doors - this will break up the sold look, creating the illusion of space, as well as reflecting light, achieving the same results times two.
  • Fit in storage above your wall cabinets.
  • You can also store items on hanging hooks from the ceiling or install some basic shelving over the door.
  • Extend countertops to be a breakfast bar, or makeshift dining table.
  • Install smaller appliances. Companies like Franke manufacture smaller sizes of sinks - a 3/4 size appliance would not appear much difference in size to a full size one, but added together using smaller versions can make a lot of space-saving difference.
  • Use light colors on the walls, and for cabinet doors.
  • Use lighting in different ways to create the illusion of more space - spot lights underneath cabinets, and directional lighting from above, for example.

There are also tricks you can use to make a space feel larger such as using particular colors or patterns in your kitchen.

No matter what shape your kitchen, there is a remedy to solve your dilemma when remodeling a small kitchen.




Jun 13, 2012 11:09pm
Hey Wendy, Great article! And great ideas. I wonder no comments here. This should be a feature article. I really liked ideas of kitchen as per the different structures of kitchens. And quick fixes are worth noting.

Jun 14, 2012 3:30am
Hi Matt. I haven't done any promotion of the article which I guess could explain the lack of comments. I appreciate your support too; I didn't even enter this as a featured article so again that is my fault. I should have more faith in my abilities I guess. I hope it helps people anyway. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it is appreciated.
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