Layouts for a Small Kitchen

Having a small kitchen is not a bad thing.

The Shape and Space

It saves room and creates efficiency in the work space. There are many types of designs and creative ideas you can use to make the layout for a small kitchen more comfortable to your situation. Knowing your needs and the space you have to work with are the two most important items to deal with when working with this problem. How you will use the small kitchen is the next concern, followed by the actual layout and function.

Consider one of the four types of kitchen shapes to use: the single line kitchen, the "L" shape, the "U" shape and the galley kitchen. Use the single line kitchen when you have a long wall with no windows or doors and limited width to work with. Use the "L" shape when you need minimal traffic and want to combine it with a dining room; this shape is good for families and takes less space. Use the "U" style if you are a gourmet chef or need maximum storage space and workspace utilized from three walls. Use the galley kitchen when you need two rows of preparation space and convenience. Professional chefs mostly use this type of layout. Know how much space you have available, and how it will relate to the shape of your kitchen. You can also adapt these layouts with an island counter top which allows the cook to visit with guests and family while working.

The Use

Consider the use for each section of your kitchen. Plan for up to five separate areas; food prep, cooking, cleanup, baking and snack centers. Remember that each area doesn't need to be huge for the use to be effective. Put the food prep area between the fridge and the sink, with the trash nearby. Use this area to place knives, cutting boards, measuring or mixing items, blenders and flavorings or spices. Place the cooking area at one end of the kitchen; this will include the stove, oven and/or microwave, depending on how you cook. Use this area to put your pots and pans, cooking utensils, oils, oven mitts and smaller appliances such as toasters or deep fryers. Place the cleanup area between the food prep and the cooking areas. This is where the sink, dishwasher and trash area goes. Place the dishtowels and storage containers here also. The dishes used everyday can go here, too. Place the baking area alongside of either the cleaning or cooking areas. This is the space used for cookie sheets, rolling pins, mixers, mixing bowls and cookbooks. Place the snack area out of the main traffic route between the fridge, cleaning and cooking areas. Place your microwave, popcorn popper, coffee maker and their accessories here.

The Layout

Use the "work triangle" which kitchen layouts are based upon. Remember that a work triangle is made up of three main points within a kitchen; the stove, sink and refrigerator. Draw an imaginary line between these three to make your triangle; the idea is for the triangle to make enough space between these three items to move around comfortably. Use built-in appliances to help create space. Use compact appliances which can be stored easily. Create lots of counter space using deep counters; avoid cluttering counters with infrequently used appliances. Install as many cabinets as possible to create more storage space.