Design Tips to Maximize a Small Kitchen

January 25, 2018

Most homes in the Northern Virginia area are not naturally designed to have an open floor plan, unless they were built in the last 5 years. As more and more homeowners lean towards adding an open floor plan to their home, sometimes challenges arise.

Here are our tips on how to maximize space in a small kitchen. Even if you cannot take down a wall, extra storage is not out of reach! 


1. Double Sided Island Storage

An island is a great place to include storage, but sometimes items can just get lost in the back of such a deep, low cabinet.

Consider using cabinets that open from both sides instead, or back-to-back shallow cabinets, so each side can store pieces within easier reach, preventing any items from getting buried.




2. Peninsula Open Shelving or Cabinets

Another great alternative to trendy open shelves above your main wall of cabinets is to instead use open shelves above a peninsula.

This gives you a great visually obvious spot to place items that a guest might want to grab, but without completely boxing in sight lines, so you still feel like you can see into and out of the kitchen to rooms beyond. If you choose to install actual cabinets, having both sides of the cabinets equipped with glass doors allows for light to filter into the kitchen. 


Image via Houzz



3. Open Partition Wall

One very effective way to make your kitchen feel bigger is to open up a partition wall to create a pass-through space. Many homeowners will choose this design option if the wall separating their kitchen and dining space is a load bearing wall. 

If you build a counter around the opening, even extending it a bit to the other side, you can cheat out the functional size of your kitchen a little bit by borrowing some space from the adjacent room.




4. Undercabinet Shelving

A shallow shelf under a stretch of upper cabinets can be a great spot to stash small items like spice jars, pepper mills or tea boxes. This works especially well if you use the shortened space below to store other items rather than using that spot for prep.

By raising your cabinets less than 10 inches from their regularly placed height, and by using standard sized cabinets verses tall (42 inch) cabinets, you can achieve under cabinet shelving perfect for every cook in your household. 




5. Hidden Cutting Board

Some days you need a bit more counter space than others, and when you do need to chop some vegetables, a little dedicated chopping station can be very helpful. 

A clever pullout chopping station, complete with a chopping-block top, can be integrated into a set of drawers so you have it handy when needed and tucked away when not. We are also seeing cutting boards being integrated into the actual countertop itself. 


contemporary-kitchen (1)-3.jpg

6. Island or Peninsula Range Hood

Placing your range on an island or peninsula, rather than against a wall, doesn’t necessarily free up space in itself. However, it does mean you can use a central hood fan, which leaves your cabinet wall without a large obstacle in the way of your storage cabinets.

This setup leaves the center of the room still relatively open so as not to block conversation and sight lines, and allows for uninterrupted upper cabinets on your main walls for plenty of storage.


If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.