Design & DIY

Appliance upgrades to help open up a tiny kitchen

For many cottages, space is at a premium—and the kitchen is no exception. You’ve probably got bigger priorities than a major kitchen reno, though. Sometimes, upgrading your appliances—and making some clever tweaks to your space—is all you need to create a sense of openness, even if you can’t actually change your square footage.

Go for combination appliances

Combining your microwave and oven into one unit can help save counter space, and is more convenient than constantly having to transfer hot food across the kitchen from one appliance to another. If you don’t have the luxury of a laundry room, a stacking washer-dryer combo can also be a great space saver when it’s tucked in a pantry.

Clear the counters

Wall- or cabinet-mounted microwaves or ovens can save valuable counter real estate — and, when hidden with a finish that matches your cabinets, can create a seamless expanse that’s restful to the eye.

Scale down

How often do you use your cottage oven? Could you manage with a toaster oven and a cooktop? Can you wash dishes in the sink? Eliminating seldom-used appliances can clear up valuable storage space under your counters. Also, look for appliances that have a smaller footprint—“apartment-sized” compact fridges, stoves and dishwashers are widely available, and may be easier on your budget and your space than full-sized versions.

Hide everything

Nothing makes a small kitchen feel smaller than cluttered counters. For appliances that you use often, like a coffee maker, create a rolling-door “appliance garage” under one of your upper cabinets. By having a roll-top (or roll-side) door, you won’t take up space with a swinging door—but your messy machines will be out of sight.

Roll around

A rolling cart can be a perfect storage area for appliances and accessories that would otherwise take up space on the counter. Roll it up to your workspace when you need it, roll it away when you don’t.

Look up. Waaaaay up.

When you’re planning storage, think vertical. A hanging pot rack can free up space in your cupboards and keep your pots within easy reach. A wall-mounted magnetic knife rack can get that bulky knife block off the counter and onto an otherwise unusable piece of wall. And storing seldom-used appliances on top shelves allows easy access to more commonly used items.

Sometimes, just the right appliance can make the difference between a kitchen that’s cramped and uncomfortable—and one that you’ll never want to leave.


Want to put these tips to use in your home or cottage? Find everything you need to love your space here: