10 Common Small Kitchen Mistakes

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May 20, 2024
Common Small Kitchen Mistakes

Image Source: Canva

The kitchen – a haven for culinary creativity. A place where the nutritious magic of ingredients gets made into delicious meals to nourish your body. But if your kitchen space is small, this sacred space can quickly turn into a culinary combat zone of overflowing cupboards and countertop chaos.

From extra cereal boxes crowding the countertops to the trash can liners awkwardly placed near the door and refusing to stay hidden, it's easy to make small mistakes that can snowball into a cluttered mess. These errors reduce functionality, compromise organization, and diminish the cozy atmosphere of your kitchen.

Whether you're renting or planning a remodel of your small kitchen, knowing these design errors can save you frustration and money in the long run. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the 10 common small kitchen mistakes you better avoid to make your kitchen an inviting space.

Not Zoning the Kitchen

Efficient kitchen layout is essential, especially in smaller spaces. Not having designated zones for prepping, cooking, and cleaning can lead to a chaotic kitchen experience. Organize your kitchen into zones by grouping items accordingly. This organized flow keeps everything moving smoothly.

Zoning your small kitchen creates dedicated areas for specific tasks – prepping vegetables near the sink, a designated cooking zone around the stove, and a plating station near the counter. This is more in line with traditional kitchen work triangle design. The "kitchen choreography" minimizes wasted steps and keeps the culinary chaos at bay.

Modern kitchens now mostly follow a five-zone layout. This layout determines where the sink, refrigerator, and stove go, as well as where the dining and entertaining areas will be.

Dim Lighting

A poorly lit kitchen shrinks visually and makes meal prep a chore. You should layer your lighting. If there’s little or no natural lighting in your kitchen, you will need lights installed in key places for a more inviting aura.

Adequate lighting also prevents you from crashing into things in the kitchen, keeping kitchen accidents at bay. It also enhances how functional your kitchen space is. Consider installing LED strip lights inside cabinets and a pendant light over the sink or breakfast table for adequate lighting and a less cramped space.

Overcrowding the Countertops

Countertops are the real champions in a small kitchen. They are where almost everything happens. Yet, they often become cluttered with appliances, utensils, and miscellaneous items. To keep your counters clear, only leave out daily essentials. Store less frequently used appliances in cabinets or pantry spaces. A tidy counter not only looks better but also provides the necessary workspace for meal prep.

Consider a toaster oven that combines functions or a coffee maker with a built-in grinder. Retractable pot racks or hanging pot holders free up valuable space.

Overlooking the Decor Debacle

Tiny kitchens don't have room for excessive decorations. Keep it simple! It doesn’t in any way mean that you should strip your kitchen of any sense of personality and style. A few well-chosen plants or a strategically placed mirror can add personality without overwhelming the space. You can even grow herbs instead of getting decorative plants.

The color scheme of your kitchen, as part of your decor choices, can make or mar how spacious your small kitchen feels. Darker colors overwhelm and make your kitchen space feel cramped. Meanwhile, lighter colors brighten up the room, giving the illusion of openness.

Not Being Storage Savvy

One of the biggest mistakes in small houses without proper designs, and kitchens, in particular, is not utilizing vertical space. Often, the area above cabinets or walls remains empty, missing out on valuable storage opportunities. Consider installing shelves or hanging pots and pans to free up counter and cabinet space. Utilize vertical space with tall cabinets and install organizers to maximize every inch.

Think of under-shelf baskets for tubers or even a pull-out trash can. Magnetic knife strips and wall-mounted spice racks can also help keep things organized and within reach. Randomly storing items without a clear system can lead to constant frustration.

Falling for the Appliance Bait

Oversized appliances can dominate a small kitchen. Opt for compact or multi-functional appliances that fit better with the scale of your kitchen. For instance, a smaller fridge or a microwave with convection capabilities can save space and reduce clutter.

When it comes to appliances, think small and mighty. Standard-sized refrigerators can create a cramped feel. You can also explore stacking appliances.

Your microwave taking up valuable counter space when you can place it on the refrigerator is not exactly an optimal small kitchen hack. That mixer you use once a month will find better comfort in a cabinet or cupboard. Remember, with appliances, measure twice, buy appliances once.

Image Source: Canva

Buying into the Furniture Charade

Small kitchens don't have room for bulky furniture. They eat up precious square footage. Don't get tricked by the traditional chair charade. Sure, they have a classic style to them but they are suitable for bigger kitchens that have the space. Think outside the box for clever seating solutions such as:

  • Folding Chairs: These are space-savers that tuck away neatly when not in use. They are perfect for occasional dining or extra guests.
  • Stools: Stools that can be tucked under the counter or breakfast bar are lifesavers. Look for stools with adjustable heights for added versatility.
  • Banquette Bliss: Built-in banquettes maximize seating while providing storage underneath. Plus, they add a touch of sophistication!

Embrace the flexibility of these options and reclaim your precious kitchen square footage. Remember, comfort and functionality can co-exist in a small kitchen.

Ignoring Corner Spaces

Corners in small kitchens are often underutilized. Reaching into deep, dark corner cabinets can be frustrating. Corner shelves and pull-out corner drawers can transform these awkward spaces into valuable storage areas. There will be no more digging in the abyss for that elusive can of beans.

Corner shelves can be a charming spot for displaying cookbooks or decorative items. Properly utilizing corner spaces can help distribute storage more evenly throughout the kitchen.

Underestimating Pantry Panic

Don't underestimate the power of a pantry, even a small one. Utilize a narrow space beside the fridge or behind a door with clever pull-out shelves or hanging organizers. This keeps your dry goods within reach and frees up valuable cabinet space.

Overlooking Flooring and Texture

It's easy to get fixated on countertops and cabinets. However, don't overlook the impact a good flooring plan and factoring textural designs can have on your small kitchen.

  • Choose light-colored floors that reflect light and create an illusion of spaciousness.
  • Spills are inevitable in the kitchen, and you want them wiped off easily from the floor. So, get tiles, especially brightly colored ones.
  • Large floor tiles with finer grout lines expand the look of your kitchen space.
  • Play with texture to add visual interest and depth.
  • A textured backsplash can elevate your space without overwhelming it. Think natural stone or even textured metals for cabinet handles.

By incorporating these flooring and textural elements, you can create a visually dynamic and functional space.

Bonus Pro Tip

Go for sliding or pocket doors that maximize space and prevent acrobatic maneuvers. This is a small change with a big impact on functionality. By outsmarting these space-stealing mistakes, your small kitchen gets optimized for full functionality and efficiency.

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