How to Make the Most of Your Kitchen Reno

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

It is where meals are cooked and shared with loved ones, where conversation happens across the table, where family memories are made.

So if your kitchen is feeling more irritating than inviting, you may be considering a kitchen renovation. If you have a smaller kitchen, there are a number of ways that you can make use of every inch of space.

My client had a small and crowded kitchen that was really only functional for one person. There was no dishwasher, not nearly enough functional storage, and the dining space was too small to accommodate the family meals they wanted to share. We made the most of their small kitchen, and you can too with these tips.

1 Figure out your kitchen flow.

A well-designed kitchen is one that fits how you use it. When you cook, where do you like to prep? How do you move through your current space? What areas always end up as a magnet for clutter?

I often tell my clients to keep a notepad in the kitchen – whenever something bothers you about your current kitchen, write it down! (Do you hate how there is no counter space beside your sink for drying dishes? Write it down! When you trip over your partner trying to cook because there isn’t enough space, write it down!)

For my clients, their peninsula became the place where mail and electronics got dropped. To alleviate this annoyance, we added storage in the dining area to create a drop zone for those items. 

2 Consider custom cabinetry.

Pre-made cabinetry is often designed best for larger spaces. Custom cabinets allow you to design something that fits in your exact space, and make use of unique configurations.

My client’s kitchen was only 8’5” wide, so maximizing space was of the utmost importance. The peninsula, as well as becoming a clutter zone, also meant that only one person could comfortably be in the kitchen at a time. So we removed the peninsula, and added custom cabinets to create more useable space. Consider your appliances, too, when designing your cabinets. With a counter-depth fridge, my clients were able to gain quite a bit of space in their kitchen.

3 Choose your lighting with care.

Smaller kitchens can often feel dark. Even without large windows, you can create a bright and inviting space through lighting. A light and modern overhead fixture is important in both the kitchen and eating areas. 

To add more light, consider under-cabinet lighting. Not only is it helpful when preparing food, it eliminates dark corners and creates a larger feel. Pot lights in strategic places – such as above windows – bring in even more brightness to smaller spaces.

4 Keep colours light. 

Light and airy colours help a smaller kitchen space feel much larger.

Too much contrast between walls, tiles, counters, and cabinets can chop up the room and make it feel smaller. Keeping colours light and neutral across the major surfaces will create the feeling of space. Colour and interest can be added with a few key accessories (like a coloured pot or tea towels!)

Keep flooring consistent with the rest of the rooms so the kitchen feels like part of a larger space. 

What my Client Said

We engaged Natalie at CPI to help with a complete renovation of our kitchen and dining room space. It speaks volumes about her planning skills and professionalism that we felt no stress through the entire project. It was an 8-week job that went seamlessly – everyone was at our house on the day they said they would be and were on time and the project was completed almost exactly as planned and in accordance with the original schedule. We trusted Natalie with all of the design decisions and she hit a home run – her choices of colours, fixtures, backsplash and kitchen furniture meshed with our vision
and style perfectly.

Kirk & Heather Thomson, Ottawa

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