Grand Ideas

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For Increasing Small Kitchen Functionality

Story by Jeanie Erwin   |   Photo by Matt Kocourek

A large and spacious kitchen is every home chef’s dream but many are dealing with a compact kitchen reality. Kathy Weiss, owner of Midwest Design & Remodeling in Overland Park, shares some practical ways achieve both beauty and efficiency in a kitchen with space constraints.


KCHS: What is the first thing someone should consider if they want to make a small kitchen space more functional?

Weiss: The first thing I would suggest is to open the space to another area if possible by removing a wall. Opening the kitchen to the breakfast area, for example, will provide more space with which to work, as well as provide an airy feel that makes it look bigger.

KCHS: Some kitchens lend themselves to a functional working space more than others. What do you suggest for someone whose small kitchen is completely dysfunctional?

Weiss: Some kitchens seem to have everything in the exactly least effective spot. If this is the case, one of the best ways to solve the problem is by reconfiguring the space for more efficient usage. Think about workflow and place the stove and microwave in close proximity and the sink and dishwasher together at the end of the work station. Remember to keep the refrigerator close to the preparation work area.

KCHS: What are some options for increasing functionality when reconfiguring the kitchen is not an option?

Weiss: I would consider adding cabinet functionality. Adding options like pullouts can make the back of the cabinets more accessible and usable. A Lazy Susan turnstyle in the corner space can give you greater access to a usually dead space and provide a space to place difficult to store items like small appliances. Also, if you have high ceilings consider replacing your cabinets with ones that reach the ceiling for even more storage space.

KCHS: If you can’t change the cabinets and need a fast solution for increasing the beauty and functionality of the space, what tips would you suggest?

Weiss: First, increase your task lighting. Proper lighting brightens the kitchen and makes working much easier. Choose undercounter options for trash and recyclables to free up floor space. I would also consider painting the wall or cabinets white and choosing a light colored backsplash. For backsplashes, glass tiles are extremely popular right now for the kitchen because they reflect light and make the space feel open. Lastly, I would keep the counters free of clutter. Put away appliances you do not need very often so that you have more space to work, and make the kitchen feel as spacious as possible.

KCHS: What is your way of making kitchens more functional?

Weiss: Personally, I think reconfiguring cabinets and drawers with pullouts is probably one of the fastest and most valuable ways to get more functionality of a kitchen. Sometimes a simple fix yields huge results.

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