How many of you struggle with the size of your kitchen? We dream about large, open kitchens, with big islands & top end appliances. We want all the fancy gadgets easily accessible, and beautiful, organized pantries that are always fully stocked. Ahhh…..
Alas, that is but a distant dream for most of us. If you’re like me, you might even be so lucky as to have a kitchen that is oddly placed within your home. When our home was built in 1972, there was only a carport. A few years later, (thankfully!) they enclosed this area & made a garage. However, the kitchen was built directly adjacent to the garage with a window over the sink facing whatever cars or junk sat in that area. Additionally, the front door has a foyer, but immediately to the left is the kitchen.
This is was the view when we bought our home:
Now, almost 2 years later:
I thought I would give you some ideas of minor updates & DIY projects you could accomplish without doing a complete kitchen remodel or changing the footprint of your home.
How to Make the Most of Your Small Kitchen
1. Paint the Backsplash
I was nervous about trying this because I certainly didn’t want to mess up the tiles. But, I figured if it was so hideous of an outcome, we could replace the tiles, which would be a few hundred dollars. The difference from the pinkish tile to white was incredible! It immediately made the kitchen brighter, even without new counters.
2. Replace the countertops.
I know this is a higher ticket item. However, try to shop around for remnant pieces. Look for lighter colored granite/quartz to brighten the kitchen. We were able to get this beautiful quartz, plus the single sink & installation, for about $1700. It has made a HUGE difference.
3. Keep Your Countertops Clean
This one is easy in theory but difficult in application. Since the entry from our garage is straight into the kitchen, it becomes the drop spot for papers, random detailing supplies, tools, shoes, etc. It takes a lot of effort for me to clean off the counters of these items. When I clean for people coming over (or taking pictures!), the kitchen feels SO much bigger. All of our other personal items: shoes, coats, purses, backpacks have their place in the closet or on the coat rack.
Additionally, I only keep out the tools & appliances that are absolutely necessary for everyday use. Everything else is hidden in a drawer or cabinet to free up counter space.
4. Make a corner coffee bar.
Even if you only have room for a small shelf, this can really cozy up a kitchen and free up counter space. These ideas can get you started.
5. Update Your Appliances
This, too, is a higher ticket item. We were so blessed to be given an extra SS refrigerator that my brother & sister-in-law had. With Christmas money from family & clients we purchased this range & hood from Costco. The sleek stainless steel makes the kitchen feel new & fresh. Our dishwasher is still white, but it is a perfectly working Bosch. I’ve looked up the prices for parts & to replace the door, but we might as well get a whole new dishwasher for the cost! It will just have to stay the same for a while longer.
6. Pretty it up with plants & flowers
This is a solution to bringing life to just about any space- home, office, etc. The colors, even if simply green, give warmth & life! I love my plants. Now, if I could just learn to keep all of them alive…
7. Replace Your Faucet, Electrical Sockets, & Light Fixtures
This can be difficult if you aren’t handy. But if you are, the payoff is huge for not a lot of money. The Hansgrohe faucet was $179 on sale from Costco, and I replaced the shades on the existing light fixture for $36. The light over the sink is from Hobby Lobby & was supposed to plug into the wall. Handy hubby cut wires & spliced it in to the existing wiring attached to the switch! He also replaced all the yellowed outlets with white ones. Big difference!
The kitchen functions incredibly well in spite of it’s location & difficulties. A positive is that when the kids are playing outside, I can clearly see them through the front or side windows (that look into the garage). I can be a nosy neighbor and watch the happenings on the streets (ha!). I will be putting up window coverings soon, as it’s uncomfortable when we are eating dinner at dusk and we see neighbors walking by. We feel the need to awkwardly wave as we stuff our mouths or yell at the kids to sit down and be still.
We would also like to widen the doorways, both into the sitting room & the foyer. This will have to happen when we are ready to replace the flooring.
I need to refinish or replace the kitchen table as it has many scratches after 10 years. I would prefer a rectangular table next, but we’ll see.
The GIANT undertaking will be to sand & paint the cabinets. I know they would look beautiful in a white or very light gray, but we want to do it right. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit a whole week to this process, so it’s in the future. The good thing it that these are nice, solid wood cabinets in great condition. Cabinets just aren’t made that well anymore.
Any other suggestions you have for making the most of a small kitchen?? Hope this helps!