If you have one of those small kitchens where food preparation and socialization do not go together, then you understand just how difficult working in a small kitchen can be. It is perfect for one person but when you need help around the kitchen, space suddenly becomes an issue. When looking for ways to de-clutter and expand the existing space, priority must be given to the primary function of your kitchen. How often do you cook in your kitchen? If you count a couple of times or more everyday, your kitchen is a coking zone. If you only pop in to make endless mugs of coffee as your friends make chitchat, then you can consider it more of a bonding zone than a cooking one.
The reason why making this distinction is important is to help you get the right furniture for the kitchen. To make it a warm and welcome place, have plenty of space to move around, else all the tables and countertops will make it strictly yours only. Encourage people to keep you company in the kitchen by having stools beside the counters where people can sit. Having a table at the centre is quite impossible in such a kitchen, so plan for bistro tables and chairs; ones that can be pulled in and out from under the countertops. Counters can be used as tables when food preparation is finished.
Maximize on vertical space because it is what you have in plenty here. Rather than having the average wall cabinets, get customized, shelved ones that are really tall, reaching close to the ceiling. They will give you additional storage space. In the topmost shelves, keep the appliances you use rarely. If you are wondering how you will be able to reach the high shelves of the cabinet, stepping on a stool should make it easy for you. Keep some items on the spaces between the top of wall kitchen cabinets and the ceiling.
Convert the empty space under the counters and sink into useful storage space. Get storage baskets fixed under the sink and rolling carts which you can pull in and out whenever you need something stored in them. These in addition to wall kitchen cabinets should provide adequate storage for all your kitchen appliances. Talking of appliances, do you use every single one in your kitchen? If there are a number of appliances you hardly ever use, transfer them to another room where there is more storage space. If you never use them, consider selling them or giving them away. Also replace your old appliances with newer versions which are less bulky, more energy efficient and faster.
Leave counter tops clear. Most of us will keep toasters, the coffee maker and food processors on kitchen countertops. Instead, store these appliances in cabinets and take them out only when you need to use them. With everything hidden away in cabinets and drawers, the small kitchen will look larger. You will also find working in a clear kitchen less frustrating and more enjoyable.