How to fit everything into my kitchen
Besides for cooking, washing up and occasionally laundry, the kitchen is often the place where families eat breakfast or other light meals. Not only that, but work surfaces are needed for cooking and baking. Plus there needs to be cupboard space for the pantry, cooking utensils, small appliances and more often than not dining equipment (glasses, mugs, plates etc.)
In small homes and large many people wonder how to fit it all in! Here are some ideas just for you.
In small townhouses and flats, the kitchen or the living room has become the main eating area. Even in large houses with a separate room for meals, the kitchen is often convenient for eating in the rat race of modern life. Gone are the days when a full table could be set for breakfast and lunch. This is why it is useful to have a place in the kitchen (or near the kitchen) to sit down and have a meal as a family. The food can be prepared, eaten and the dishes placed in the sink without the inconvenience of moving between rooms (another reason why open-plan living has become so popular).
Two more advantages of eating in the kitchen is that the dirty dishes are limited to one room and the heat from the stove warms the room in winter (saving on that electricity bill!)
So how does one go about creating an eating space in a small kitchen? We have built a Pinterest board to give you ideas!.
Just remember, that in small kitchens convenience is the first priority.
Whether you love cooking and baking or not, there are three main work areas that every kitchen needs. These are:
- A place for food preparation and washing up
- A place for food mixing (ideally close to a power outlet)
- A place for cooking
Ideally there should also be storage areas for the tools of the trade near each of these work surfaces. For example, a place for pots and pans near the cooking area.
Another consideration for the cooking area is a heatproof surface nearby. The most common materials for these are wood, cork, granite or metal. It doesn’t really matter which you use as long as you have one, you wouldn’t want to spoil your kitchen surfaces would you?
When it comes to the types of surfaces, the standard factory made ones are normally laminate on chipboard or laminated timber. Make sure that it is heat and scratch resistant, e.g. coated with melamine or polyurethane. Ask before you buy!
A less common, but durable option, is to tile the kitchen counters. The only downside to this is that the grouting can become dirty with time and the counters will need a good scrub on a monthly basis.
If you choose wood surfaces (without laminate), it would be a good idea to include a pastry slab and wood chopping board, as wooden kitchen surfaces can damage fairly easily.
If you are finding the work surfaces in your kitchen a little dark due to shadows, then a fluorescent lamp attached to the wall above the work surface is an affordable way to brighten up the area. If you have the cash, consider installing downlights under wall mounted cupboards above the work area.
Important work surface considerations:
- Keep the tools needed near the work surface they will be used on (e.g. pots near the stove top and knives near the food preparation surface).
- Make sure there is a heat proof surface near the oven and stove.
- All surfaces should be somewhat heat and scratch resistant.
- Tiled work surfaces require more detailed cleaning.
- Wood work surfaces can be damaged, you will need a pastry slab and chopping board.
- Make sure work surfaces are well lit.
Check out our pinterest board for work top ideas: Pinterest
Creating the space for all the little things
Cupboards are great storage space, but sometimes they are also not practical in a kitchen. There will inevitably be places you cannot get to (corner units!) and this creates a problem where items get pushed to the back and forgotten about. How many of us have moved into a house only to find a Tupperware lid or empty jam jar hiding at the back of a corner cupboard! Try placing a set of 45 degree drawers or cupboard and voilá! Be sure to check hinge spacings from neighbouring cupboards or you will never get that drawer open..
Another way to combat the corner cupboard problem is to install a door with a hinge on the corner, allowing easier access. If this is still not an option for you, then use the corner to store appliances you don’t use often, like that slow cooker you were given as a wedding gift and only use in winter.
Pull out baskets are a great bet for the pantry. A basket can easily be removed and placed on the kitchen counter to be sorted regularly. You can also stack items without worrying about them falling out when you open the pantry door.
Check out our pinterest board for kitchen storage ideas: Pinterest