Tiny kitchens require a lot of thought and planning to maximize functionality and flow. However, utilitarian doesn’t have to equal ugly. There are many tips and tricks that can help your kitchen work like a well-oiled machine and still look like a dream. In particular, cottage kitchens can suffer from being an afterthought, or they are eighty years old, dated, and have odd nooks and crannies to contend with. Follow along with me as I highlight some nifty kitchen tricks. You’re bound to find a solution for at least one of your kitchen conundrums.
Often cottage kitchens have odd layouts, which create difficult nooks and crannies. A little creative thinking (and antique hunting) could land you the perfect solution. This narrow wall cabinet could easily squeeze into a tight space too small for a traditional upper cabinet, and still offers loads of storage.
If there isn’t space to add baskets, then use a pot drawer and create your own vegetable storage. It keeps this type of stuff out of the pantry and off the counter, and it’s easy to access.
Toe kick pullout
One of my favourite tricks in a small kitchen is to utilize the wasted space behind the toe kick—make it a drawer! It’s the perfect size for muffin tins, cookie sheets, place mats, cutting boards—I could go on! And yes, I am excited about this because you maximize your space without adding to the square footage of your kitchen.
Another great idea is to add a small storage unit to your kitchen that can expand when you need it. This storage cabinet takes up a small footprint in the kitchen, but the top folds out to create a long narrow table—perfect for serving up dinner buffet-style!
Microwave and ovenhood combo
One of the most popular things I have seen in small kitchens over the last five years is the combination microwave and oven hood. As much as I don’t like taking things out of a microwave from above in case of accidents (yes, being short is also a major part of this problem) you can’t deny how much counter space this solution clears up.
Never underestimate the narrow spaces in a kitchen. Even if you only have room for a shallow shelf, you are still adding storage value. In this example, there are narrow reclaimed wood shelves and a branch with some S-hooks thrown on. It’s simple, practical, looks amazing, and only takes up 6” of depth. Plus, everything is conveniently close by.
If you don’t have the space for a separate dining room, make use of the eat-in kitchen table as an island. Just make sure you pick a good counter top material like stone or chopping block, and it’s the perfect place to sit and chop vegetables. Add some drawers below the tabletop and you can store place mats and napkins to make setting the table a breeze.
Having pets at the cottage is a given. Don’t forget it is also one of their favourite places to go. Unless you have rude, anti-dog neighbours down the lane who make your pets feel unwelcome like I do, but I digress. Having pet food bowls sitting on the floor in a small kitchen is a disaster, and a messy one at that. Give pets their own food station just outside of the kitchen commotion—they will thank you for it!
If you have the luxury of pot drawers in your cottage kitchen, please do not take them for granted. You can even maximize their use by putting in some dividers, so you’ll never have to rummage for the cookie sheet again.
Certain dining hutches allow for the display of your nicer serving pieces, as well as closed storage below for things like silverware, place mats, napkins, etc. Having these things stored in the dining room instead of the kitchen allows someone to set the table while someone else is cooks in the kitchen.
Dining table in kitchen
There is nothing wrong with blending your formal dining area and kitchen. In fact, it allows you the opportunity to increase the size of your kitchen and creates the casual vibe we love about cottages.
If you have a separate dining room, why not use a large dining hutch like this one to add to the kitchen real estate. It’s the perfect place to store everyday dishes and serving pieces, leaving the kitchen storage for food and food preparation items only.
Hidden counter space
Sometimes you just need an extra bit of counter space. This chopping block on top of a bank of storage drawers is the solution. It still functions as storage, but can be pulled out for a guest who wants to help out in the kitchen, then tucked away nicely.
Cup hooks are a cottage kitchen’s best friend. Cups don’t need to go into a cabinet—they are used so frequently that they won’t have time to collect dust. So save the cabinet space for something else, and attach a bunch of cup hooks to the bottom of a cabinet to increase your storage capacity. And yes, it’s only by ten mugs, but a little saved space adds up quickly.
There is often a hidden or under-used space that some baskets can be fit into—even at the end of the run of cabinets. Having the vegetables close at hand makes cooking in the kitchen a snap.
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