Sometimes when you’re short on space, you have to create it. But what do you do when your kitchen’s layout is long and narrow, with most of its space given up to circulation paths? In this kitchen for a family of four, interior designer Emily Mackie worked with the floor plan rather than against it. The result: a super efficient kitchen/dining/study space that becomes the home’s center of activity. By slightly overlapping the cooking, storage, dining and homework areas, those layout problems disappear. The following design tips show you how to get the most out of your family’s small kitchen space.
Space Plan the Smart Way
First things first: what kind of floor plan are you working with? Your layout can determine what you can or can’t do, or inspire you to knock down some walls and start fresh. Here, Emily kept the footprint the same and still maximized the space. “Instead of one long rectangular island,” Emily says, “we did two islands,” which creates variety and connects the kitchen with the dining and homework areas. It also gives mom a spot where she can chop veggies while keeping an eye on the kids or swoop in for homework help.
Store It in Style
Cabinets are one of the most important elements of a kitchen, functionally and aesthetically, so make each piece count. Inset kitchen cabinets, for instance, were “decked out with interior components that maximize space,” says Emily. The dark-wood pantry and open shelving for baking appliances provide attractive storage. “Kids can grab snacks while she packs lunches,” says Emily. “The open baking storage area breaks up the space visually instead of having all wall cabinets.”
Create a Flexible Dining Area
Be creative with your dining furniture setup to save space and add style. The long breakfast table was an upgrade from the previous round kitchen table, which took up too much space. A banquette squeezes in more diners, while the other side of the table can accommodate extra guests. “If they had guests in town, they could add chairs from the dining room,” says Emily.
Interior designer Emily Mackie, ASID, is the owner of Inspired Interiors, an interior design firm, showroom and home furnishings store in Chicago.
Written by Margie Monin Dombrowski
Styling by Emily Mackie
Photography courtesy of Inspired Interiors