Space Savers Guide: Effectively Placing Appliances in a Small Kitchen

You’ve got a petite kitchen, and you’re not sure how to arrange your appliances in the most space-effective way? We’ve got you! No matter how small or big your kitchen is, all good kitchens have one thing in common. A practical layout that utilizes space and convenience. No longer will you bump into your roommate cooking pasta when trying to open the refrigerator door! Keep reading for tips on placing appliances in a small kitchen to utilize your space.

Photo of a small kitchen: effectively placing appliances in a small kitchen.

A Guide to Placing Appliances in a Small Kitchen

Establish Your Zones

What are zones, you ask? Kitchen zones might sound a little OTT, but they make managing your space in a small kitchen more manageable! If you’re not familiar with kitchen zones, here’s the breakdown: 

  • Cleaning Zone
  • Food Zone
  • Non-Food Zone
  • Food Prep Zone
  • Cooking Zone

By looking at your kitchen (albeit small) and establishing your “zones” you will be able to manage effectively placing appliances in a small kitchen and improve your cooking flow! 

Cleaning Zone

The cleaning zone of your kitchen is where your sink and dishwasher (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) live. The cabinet underneath your sink is where you should store cleaning products and other household items such as:

  • Rubbish bags
  • Tea Towels 
  • Cleaning products
  • Dishwashing detergent 
  • A dustpan and brush

This under-sink organizer is a live saver for utilizing small cabinet space and keeps all your household products neat and tidy. 

Food Zone

Your food zone, more commonly known as your pantry, is where you store your (you guessed it) food. These are items used for both cooking and baking. As well as your pantry, your food zone includes your refrigerator and your freezer. For maximum use of space, your pantry and refrigerator should be as close as possible. Items stored in the food zone include:

  • Canned goods
  • Rice & beans
  • Four & sugar
  • Pasta
  • Snacks
  • Bread
  • Chilled food items 

Baking appliances you don’t frequently use, such as an electric whisk, food scale, or bread mixer, can be stored with your baking supplies.

Non-Food Zone

Your non-food zone is where you store your non-food items. Consider storing your cutlery and crockery close together, and make sure you have a good cutlery tray to keep things organized. This is also where you should store small appliances you don’t use often. Like that juicer you bought years ago but only used once or that air fryer that never made it out of the box! Other items to store in your non-food zone include:

If possible, your non-food zone should be close to your cleaning zone, so you can get those dishes put away ASAP!

Food Prep Zone

The food prep zone of your kitchen is your central work zone where you prepare your culinary classics! This is also where you can store open food items that are regularly used when preparing your meals. You should place appliances such as a kettle and toaster on your countertop to effortlessly whip up toast and tea as you please. Additionally, these items should be placed in the food prep zone:

  • Chef’s knives
  • Various kitchen utensils
  • Other small appliances, i.e. food processor, coffee machine, & blender
  • Spices in a handy spice rack
  • Cooking oils
  • Cutting board

Cooking Zone

This is the heart of the kitchen and where the magic truly happens. Your cooking zone is wherever your oven is situated in your kitchen. Store your microwave in your cooking zone, ideally on a high shelf near your oven. This is also where the items you regularly use for cooking and baking should be stored, including:

  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking utensils, i.e, spatula, tongs & whisk (in a utensil holder)
  • Baking dishes
  • Tea towels
  • Baking paper and foil

Anything you use while cooking should be placed in your cooking zone. If you garnish your pasta with a dash of truffle oil and chili flakes, store them in your cooking zone. That way, you don’t have to go digging through draws while your risottos on the stove!

What to do if you Don’t Have Enough Space to Store Your Appliances

You’ve established your zones, organized your kitchen perfectly, and even become a pro at placing appliances in a small kitchen. Yet you still have kitchen appliances without a home?

This may be one of the hardest steps for most people. But you have to ask yourself: will I ever get around to using that waffle maker or that egg poacher? If you have an appliance that takes up space, and you’ve never used it, considering giving it to a friend or donating it. Save that precious cabinet space for appliances you actually use.

If you can’t quite muster up the courage to get rid of your never used appliances, store them in a box for the meantime. Store the box out of your kitchen, so it doesn’t take up space. Think ice cream maker and popcorn machine. If months go by, and you still haven’t used them, reconsider donating them or gifting them, so they can (hopefully) get some use!

Just do Your Best

Keeping your appliances and cookware in their respective zones isn’t always possible, especially if you don’t have the most spacious kitchen. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have both a food zone and a non-food zone. Or if you have to store your juicer on top of your microwave. While it is certainly helpful to have kitchen zones, they aren’t the be-all or end-all of a functioning kitchen. Whatever you find most effective for your space is what you should aim for! 

To find out how to improve healthy eating habits in small kitchens, check out our article here.

Woman eating fruit, discovering easy ways to improve healthy eating habits in small kitchens.

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