Creating more counter space in a small kitchen

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For people who love to cook, having enough room to move around and work in the kitchen is an essential quality for a home. The lack of enough counter space can be a real hassle for those who are in their kitchens and working frequently. Having to store every appliance after use because it takes up too much space on limited surfaces and cramping the area with dishes and utensils when trying to make a big meal can make each kitchen task feel more stressful and take more time than it needs to. Smaller spaces also tend to look cluttered, even if they are organized neatly.

While a full expansion of the room is a great way to create a dream kitchen, there are ways to create more workable space with smaller-scale projects as well.

Add a kitchen island
Kitchens that have a lot of available floor space but just not enough counter space, adding a kitchen island can be a simple and effective solution. These stand-alone counter spaces in the middle of the room can serve a variety of purposes, such as creating extra counter space for food prep or serving as a causal dining surface.

Islands can also be built to include essential kitchen appliances like a stove top or a sink. Some remodelers will opt to move these utilities off of the main counters and relocate them to the island to free up counter space. Others prefer to increase their workable surface areas with a smooth, versatile island top. Although it’s a matter of personal preference when deciding what the function of the island should be, creating a more efficient workspace for the kitchen remains the desired outcome.

Kitchen islands can create additional storage space as well.

There are many different design options to take into consideration when adding an island. The surface needs to be functional, but it should also look good and complement the rest of the kitchen. If the current kitchen cabinets are no longer available, use an accent color that will tie the two areas together.

A stylish kitchen island creates more surface space to work on.
A stylish kitchen island creates more surface space to work on.

Add a folding table to the wall
A kitchen island is great when there is a lot of open space in the kitchen, but what about when counter space is limited because the kitchen is just too small? To create more surface areas in the kitchen while waiting for the time to expand the size of the room, a wall-mounted table that can fold down could be a solution.

The best part about this space solution is that it’s usually a fairly quick project, and offers a lot of versatility. When not in use, the table lies  folded down and flush against the wall, so it’s easier to move around the room freely and keep it from looking more cramped or cluttered. When more space is needed for working in the kitchen, the table top is simply dropped and locked into place, giving a quick and secure working surface.

There are many ways to mount these tables to the walls. It will depend on if the homeowner is buying a pre-made mounted table or building the table entirely. Many furniture stores sell folding wall-mounted tables that will come with a kit for building it into place. It’s important to make sure first that the table will fit in the space it’s going, both when it’s folded down and when it’s fully extended. Paint or finish the table in a way that complements the rest of the surfaces in the room to give the kitchen a pulled-together look.

“Kitchen islands can create additional storage space.”

Add a counter top extension
If the shape and space of the kitchen doesn’t allow for an easy table wall mount, a counter extension may work instead. Collapsible counter extensions are a small-scale addition that make a big improvement.

There are several options for deciding what kind of extension to attach to the counter and how. For a simple fix, a hinged surface can be added to the side of the counter. Like the wall-mounted table, these extensions can swing down to lie flat against the side of the counter and can be folded up and locked into place when more space is needed. This is a simple process that won’t require a lot of invasive construction.

For a sleeker look, remodelers can add a pull-out surface to their counters. A surface can be added to an existing drawer, or a new extension can be built in under the existing cabinet to be pulled out when needed. These hidden counter additions tend to not have the same level of support as the locked, hinging table tops do. They get much of their support from the internal system instead of from a leg underneath, so its important to make sure they are installed correctly for the proper balance and load-bearing capabilities.

Temporary solutions
If a big remodeling plan isn’t in the budget but more space in the kitchen is still needed, there are a few simple ways that homeowners can take advantage of the areas they do have.

A large cutting board can improve surface versatility in a small kitchen. A large, sturdy board can be placed over uneven area like the sink or the stove top to create a level surface for working on. It’s important to use a board that can sustain weight and not a flexible silicon cutting mat for this purpose.

Another purchase that homeowners can make is for a rolling utility cart. A small cart with a strong surface can offer both additional storage spaces as well as a surface to work on for kitchen prep. They simply need to roll it out when they need it and store it in a convenient, out of the way location when they don’t.

These solutions are great fixes for space problems in the kitchen. Which to choose will depend on a homeowner’s style and the space available.

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