How to Add Custom Design Features into a Small Kitchen

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This post is sponsored by Home Hardware. We are thrilled to be working with them throughout our entire renovation process.

Let’s talk DESIGN! Just because you have a small-ish kitchen, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and functional design elements that create impact. 

Going into our kitchen renovation, I had a few non-negotiable, ‘must haves’ in terms of design and function. 

First things, I knew I needed a layout plan that allowed the dishwasher to be closer to the sink. In the old kitchen, the only place the dishwasher could go was in the corner furthest away from the sink. 

Loading it was a total pain in the butt and (before it completely stopped working), we would end up just hand washing the dishes anyway. 

In the new kitchen layout, the dishwasher is directly to the left of the new sink – dreamy and functional.

One thing we had to consider with this layout switch was the finish of the appliances. The dishwasher moving to the sink wall means that it’s on the same bank of cabinets as the stove. We made doubly sure to buy a dishwasher in the exact same stainless-steel finish as our range so they matched. 

Who knew there were so many variations on a stainless-steel finish!?

I also really wanted to keep some open shelving

I’m just not a fan of loads and loads of closed cabinet doors. 

I know there’s a great debate about open shelves and if they are practical or not, but they work amazingly for our family. 

We had two open shelves in the old design, and they were perfect for our everyday plates and bowls.

They didn’t attract dust because we used them every single day. And I rarely worried about how curated they looked because we used them for our matching dishware – so they always looked good. 

The new kitchen design is going to elevate the style of our open shelving by wrapping it into a previously unused corner above the sink. (I love when good design also uses up ALL the available space!)

And with the wall down and the new bank of cabinets going in on the opposite wall, we were able to add in a set of custom open shelves there too! They will run between two oversized upper cabinets and make that new space look super custom. 

The last ‘non-negotiable’ design element for me was a kitchen island. And, to be honest, it was the one thing that required the most creative solution. 

For the past year or so, we’d been using an old, creaky, cart from my craft space as an overflow counter surface and we came to love having the flexibility. So, I really wanted to find a way to build an island feature into the new design. 

While we are effectively doubling the size of the kitchen, it is still a narrow room (not quite a galley style, but almost). And let’s be real, doubling the size of a very small kitchen still results in not-the-biggest-kitchen. 

There wasn’t enough floor clearance to allow for a fixed island in the middle of the room. We played with the idea of a peninsula countertop off the new wall – but even at that, we lost space and function because it bumped into the stove door. 

But there was no way I was getting a new kitchen without my island!

The design solution? We designed a custom piece on industrial wheels! It will mainly live on the back wall of the kitchen for everyday use. But when I want to bake with the girls, or when we are hosting parties with guests and need a buffet surface, we can wheel it out and VOILA! 

I feel like it’s going to be my favorite thing. So much so, that I’m going to devote an entire post to the island… oh and I can’t wait to share what I’m going to be doing along that back wall….it’s going to be dreamy!

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