Space-saving ideas for kitchens

Small kitchen owners can learn a lot about the economic use of space by studying the insides of caravans or boats. But to make more space, you may have to consider moving certain appliances to another part of the house – such as the washing machine to the bathroom.

Consider, also, what you want out of the kitchen. Decide whether your worksurfaces will all be required for food preparation, or whether some of the space can be used for eating or for display purposes.

With a small kitchen you may have to make some compromises, although there is no reason why it should not still function as well. As far as appliances are concerned, it is worth shopping around for these, not only because you may get a bargain, but also because you may find smaller versions fairly easily.

Upright, four-burner gas stoves and plug-in, electric stovettes with a two unit hot-plate and half-size oven are ideal space savers and ample for two people.

Half-oven stoves can stand on a formica bottle rack or cupboard, giving you extra storage space instead of an oven which is never fully utilized. The stove top can be fitted with a hinged cover to provide another worksurface when the burners or rings are not in use.

Think about whether it would be best to have a fridge with a left-hand or right-hand opening door and try to position it so that you can open the door completely. Decide also whether your family needs call for a large fridge-freezer or a small model that will fit under the work bench. Similar space saving can be achieved by siting a dishwasher under the bench.

A front-loading automatic washing machine takes up less space than other types, but must be positioned where it can be plumbed in easily – the object is rather defeated if you have to drag the machine into the middle of the room to use it. Check, though, whether your local authority permits a clothes washing machine in the kitchen… quite a few do not.

If your washing machine is set at right angles to the sink unit, put a hatch on the worksurface which covers the ‘dead’ area and use this space for storing such things as a washing basket or shopping bags.

If you have to site a heater in the kitchen and floor space is at a premium, consider opting for- one of the wall-mounted types. You can also save floor space by using a waste bin which is small enough to fit in the cupboard under the sink.

Pull-out or fold-away boards, providing they are stable and solid, make space-saving alternatives to the kitchen table. The foldaway type of table, hinged to a wall bracket and matched to fold-up wooden chairs is particularly efficient.

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