Living in the cities across the United States has one all too common feature, incredibly tiny kitchens. Don’t believe me? Check out this tiny manhattan kitchen from One Kings Lane, I won’t show you mine, it’s beyond depressing.
Image courtesy of One Kings Lane
Despair not, there are clever solutions to turn even the tiniest kitchens into productive kitchen spaces Here are some creative, zany suggestions that cover everything from storage to meal prep.
Organization & Space Savers
Truly the most critical part of maximizing a tiny kitchen is finding new ways to get organized and save space. First step, decide what you truly need. You don’t have room for 3 sizes of skillets, a jumbo stock pot, or 3 sizes of sauce pans. Likewise you’ll discover that things like unique baking dishes, tart pans, and similar funky kitchen gear is just going to drop by the wayside.
Every item in the kitchen has to serve not one, but 3-4 purposes. Look around your kitchen and ask yourself when did you last use this item. Do you use it more than 3-4 times a year, can you use another pan, dish, spoon for the same task.
Downsizing the items in your kitchen is a critical first step. Consider just one skillet (a 10 inch one is a good choice), one saucepan, and a medium size pot for things like soup and pasta. Likewise you really only need a couple wooden spoons, one spatula, etc. When it comes to mixing bowls, consider a set that easily stacks within each-other (it really saves shelf space). These items will also likely be hanging on your wall, or on display in the open so buy with that in mind. Everything is as much decorative as they are functional.
Second, the lack of counter space requires you to minimize the number of dirty dishes that stack up. “One Pan” and “One Pot” meals will be your saving grace. Aside from being incredibly easy to prepare, the cleanup is often effortless and a breeze. You’ll also want to meal plan to make sure you are cycling through ingredients, we’ll go into that in more detail later on.
Where and how you store what you have left will mean the difference between your kitchen functioning and looking fantastic, or just not working and looking like the most cluttered room in your home.
A mix of closed cabinets and open shelves is great, there are simply some things that you want to hide away – canned goods, pantry items, etc. Other items like dishes, mixing bowls, pots and pans can be stored on open shelves adding to the decor while being easy to grab and use when you need them.
In my kitchen I have also resorted to hanging utensils, knives, silverware, pots and pans from simple racks that I purchased from IKEA. Narrow shelves on the wall are also perfect for spices. What is the most important thing to leverage a tiny space?
Image courtesy of IKEA
In my kitchen I have a whopping 5 inches of counter total. Yes, you read that right. In this case, over the counter cutting boards and also boards that fit over your stove top are a lifesaver.
Expand The Visual Horizon
Glass fronted cupboards have been around for a very long time. Traditionally these were used in china cabinets and intended to help showcase the beautiful collection of dishes contained within. For owners of a tiny kitchen, glass fronted cabinets are a clever visual illusion to maintain the sense of depth in the space, while maintaining closed storage. There are always going to be a few items that are seldom used and prone to collecting dust – a glass fronted cupboard is a perfect solution for this situation.
On trend today are open shelves. We’re seeing them pop up all over Pinterest and design magazines and they are a great way to keep your tiny kitchen feeling open and airy. Open shelving is the perfect place to store everyday items. A couple of cereal bowls, the two or three plates you grab every night for dinner, the morning coffee cup, or a couple water glasses. Open shelves put these items at easy reach and since you use them every day there is never a fear of dust collecting.
Coincidentally, while you are learning to cook in your tiny kitchen you may also be collecting a few token cookbooks with delicious one pot meals. Your open shelving is the perfect place to put these so they will never be far from reach.
Avoid opaque containers, choose clear glass containers instead. Glass storage containers put your food storage on display in a way that is organized and adds to the decor of your tiny kitchen. And the transparent nature of the glass means that visually they will seamlessly blend into the background and not register as objects taking up space.
The smaller the space the more you want to rethink every element. So much can be done! What solutions have you come up with? I’d love to know.