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Small Kitchen Remodeling

Lucky You! A Small Kitchen Remodel is DIY-Friendly and Low-Cost.


Small Kitchen Ideas

Small Kitchen Ideas

Public Domain: USDA
One thing to learn right off the bat: small kitchen remodeling is a game all by itself. With larger kitchen spaces you have certain freedoms that you don't have with smaller spaces. But by the same token, those larger spaces can make for a less effective environment for the cook. Before we go any farther into the issue of remodeling small kitchens, let's look at a few of its ups and downs:

FAQs About Small Kitchen Remodeling

If you have a small kitchen space, you may be envious of homeowners you have large spaces to work with. Don't be jealous! You have many advantages that they do not have.
  • Q: What is a Small Kitchen? A: Definitions vary according to the homeowner, house, region, and even the country. But generally, the classic 10' x 10' kitchen (100 square feet or less) is considered the benchmark of small kitchen sizing.

    Dimensions matter, too. An unusually narrow kitchen might still be considered a small kitchen. For example, a kitchen space that is 9 feet by 14 feet, or 126 square feet (give or take) might still be considered a small kitchen.

  • Q: What Benefits Does a Small Kitchen Space Have? A: Kitchens, on a square foot basis, are extremely expensive to remodel. Contrast this with a low-intensity, low-function room such as a living room, great room, or bedroom. In those areas, you're dealing with few services (no running water, few electrical needs, etc.) and inexpensive materials (some drywall, trim, etc.). But the kitchen has many expensive services: garbage disposal, extra lighting, extra electrical needs, plumbing, ventilation, and more. Also, the materials tend to be expensive-think granite, stainless steel, Corian, marble, custom or stock cabinets, etc. So, less space means less cost.
  • Q: Can I Remodel My Small Kitchen Myself? A: Yes. The small kitchen can often represent the "tipping point" in the DIY vs. hire-a-pro question. Because you're dealing with smaller spaces, renovating a small kitchen can become manageable. For example, laying 80 square feet of ceramic tile might be only a weekend project for the small kitchen; laying 375 square feet of tile can be a huge hassle requiring the services of professional tile-setters.

    Steps to Small Kitchen Remodeling

    Is the small kitchen remodel the same as a big kitchen remodel-except on a smaller canvas? In some ways, yes. But there are surprising differences that you should be aware of. Take these steps when remodeling your small kitchen.
    1. Use Kitchen Designs Appropriate for the Small Kitchen. The most common layouts for small kitchens are:

      Galley or Corridor

      Most small kitchens are longer than they are wide (though there are many square-shaped small kitchens, including the one pictured here). But these are great designs that provide you with lots of opportunities. Forget placing a kitchen island. It won't happen. Instead, learn to embrace designs that are right for these smaller spaces.

    2. Find Easy Areas to Scale Down. Big double sinks or farmhouse sinks eat up valuable counter space. Also, think long and hard about whether you really want bigger appliances. Side-by-side fridges are great, but you want to conserve width when it comes to the appliances. Are you a single person or a couple? More economical dishwashers are available, too. If you have any out-of-kitchen area available (i.e., can you put in a pantry around the corner?), use that for items you don't use frequently, such as canned goods or appliances.
    3. Determine Your Values. Along with the above tips, you really need to make hard choices. Or, who knows - sometimes it's an easy choice. Is storage a number one priority? Then you'll need to maximize kitchen cabinets at the cost of appliances. Do you really want a breakfast bar? It's possible, but you may need to sacrifice counter space for cooking to get that breakfast bar. There is nothing wrong with any of this. It's your kitchen; you're allow to make these choices as you wish!
    4. Use Stock Cabinetry. One of the great things about remodeling small kitchens is that you get to use easy-to-install DIY cabinetry. In fact, you can often find this type of kitchen cabinetry right on the shelf at home improvement stores or places like IKEA. This cabinetry is usually a simple DIY install. If you buy the cabinets flat (like at IKEA), it's usually more work putting than cabinets together than it is to install them in the kitchen.
    5. Maximize Cabinet Depth. There is so much space in the backs of cabinets that we rarely use. Maximize your usage by installing lazy susans and roll-out shelves.
    6. Use Larger Floor Tiles. It seems counter-intuitive, but larger floor tile makes your small kitchen appear larger.
    7. Employ Lighter Colors. Since the light you get in your kitchen is as much reflected light as it is direct light, you can increase a small kitchen's light intensity by using brighter-colored wood species for the cabinetry and neutral tones for the counters, as well as for the wall paint.
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