Making the Most Of a Small Kitchen

We’re pleased to feature this guest blog post from Ken Marshall of Generation Homes Northwest, a custom home builder based in Vancouver, Washington.

Nearly every homeowner experiences a problem with finding enough storage, especially in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are several ways to find space you may be overlooking. If you are thinking about making changes in your kitchen, start by visiting one of our Habitat LA ReStores. All three locations (Bellflower, Torrance, and Mid-City Los Angeles) sell gently used furniture, appliances, building materials, and housewares at a fraction of the retail price; the profits go to support Habitat LA’s mission.

Step 1: Purge. Get as many things out of the kitchen as possible. Here are some tips for having an open mind about your “stuff.”

  • Get rid of any tableware, utensils, or pans you haven’t used in the last two years. People commonly hold on to items out of sentimentality or obligation, but it’s much better to give these things to someone who will use them.
  • Items that you use once a year or less don’t have to be kept in the kitchen. A large mixer or turkey roasting pan that only see use during the holidays can be stored in the garage.
Photo of white cabinets in a new kitchen.

You can get custom-sized cabinets like these at our Habitat LA ReStores.

Step 2: Re-think how you use cupboards and cabinets. You may not be using them as efficiently as possible. Many times, the place where an item landed the day it was unpacked is where it stays for years, for no good reason. A tall, skinny cupboard might be a better place to store cutting boards than dog food, while a short, deep cabinet is better for baking pans than for glasses.

  • Cupboards with two shelves can often accommodate a third shelf, expanding storage space by 50 percent.
  • Use dividers to maximize drawer space, especially in that “junk” drawer that seems to accumulate everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Make sure to add a divider to the back of the drawer, which is usually the most overlooked storage area.
  • Lazy Susans and slide-out shelving take advantage of deep spaces that might previously have been inaccessible.

Step 3: Utilize every single space. Use your creativity to find additional storage in the space you already have.

  • The inside of cupboard doors can be used for everything from a mounted spice rack to a message board.
  • Is there an area where a hanging rack for pots, pans, or utensils rack might serve as both storage and decoration?
  • Do you have fake drawer fronts? It may be possible to convert them to small storage slots for sponges, can openers, or other small, but frequently used items.

Step 4: Invest in a rolling cart. A kitchen renovation is an extremely expensive proposition; even adding new cabinets can cost thousands of dollars. Before you pursue either of these options, consider adding a rolling cart.

  • Carts are reasonably priced and come in sizes and shapes to fit any kitchen. They may come with a butcher block top for chopping and preparing food, as well as any number of drawers and shelves for additional storage.