Small Kitchen Space-Savers
Your small kitchen will gain valuable space when you downsize appliances and squeeze extra storage out of unused areas.
Here are the ingredients for additional space that won’t cost more than a fraction of the $30,000 that the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says you could spend upgrading your kitchen.
Hang ‘em High.
Put wire racks on the wall above your sink, add S-hooks, and hang cooking utensils. It’ll free up a drawer or two. The backsplash area — the wall area right above the sink and countertops — is often underutilized and a great place for easy-to-clean, stainless steel racks and shelves. Cost: $50 to $200.
Nooks and Crannies.
Bare walls above a phone nook or cabinets, and underneath windows, beg for storage. Make use of that open space above your cabinets with store-bought shelves and brackets painted to match the cabinets. Cost: Less than $200.
For a built-in look, build a soffit above the shelves. Cost: Less than $2,000.
A freestanding window seat stores rarely used kitchen gadgets and provides additional seating. Cost: $200 to $500.
Cool It Already.
Do you really need a behemoth 36-inch-wide refrigerator that looks like an entertainment center? Downsize to an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator. If your refrigerator stands at the end of your cabinets, as most do, downsizing could save a foot of space — enough for shelving to store dishes, canned goods, and supplies. Cost: Less than $500.
Don’t need much room for perishables in your small kitchen? Try an under-the-counter 5.7-cubic-foot fridge. Cost: $1,200.
Nuke the Clutter.
Get the microwave off the counter and into a drawer. Cost: Less than $800.
Cutting boards that hide inside your cabinets do double-duty as small kitchen tables or a bill-paying station. Caution: It’s tough to add these to existing cabinets. Consider them as a custom add-on when ordering new cabinets. Cost: $300 or less, plus the cabinets.
Some custom cabinets offer a “drawer” that actually hides a 36-inch extension table. Cost: About $1,000.
Borrow Some Space.
Pantries are easy to create from a nearby closet using shelves and roll-out wire bins from a home improvement center. Cost: $200 to $500.
For a fancier solution, architect Sarah Susanka of “Not So Big House” suggests using store-bought shelving units and building them into a hallway space. Cost for a 10-foot hallway: $5,000 to $7,500.