Home>Discussions>KITCHENS>HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!
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HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!

My kitchen is u-shaped, too small for more than one person to cook in it at a time, and is driving my family and me CRAZY!! I would SO appreciate any design advice or help you can give, as to what we could do to help solve this problem. My husband and I are at a total loss as to where to even start with this project. Our budget is basically limited to using the existing cabinets and flooring, with the possibility of adding more cabinets, island, or any other useful items or products.

Let me explain what I now have. Take a U and turn it upside down. In the top of the upside down U, I have my sink with a window looking into the garage, in front of it. To the bottom right, I have the dishwasher, with 3 cabinet doors above. The dishwasher has approximately 4 inches of wood on the right side of it, and the U-shape starts down at that point. On the right leg of that section of the U, there are 2, 16 inch cabinet doors. Inside the cabinet, the area to the left, from the front of the dishwasher to the back of it, inside the cabinet, is an area that cannot be accessed because it is so deep in that left cabinet area. On the back side of this leg of the U, there is an overhanging countertop bar area, where 2 or 3 barstools are located. Heading back to the sink to the left, there is 3 inches and the left side of the U turns and has 2 cabinet doors matching the ones on the opposite side of the U, on the bottom, and unlike the opposite side, has an additional 3 cabinet doors on top. At the end of the U shape on the left, there is a door leading to the dining room, and then the fridge, which opens with a right-side hinge into the door opening. To the left of the fridge, there is a 1 door top and bottom cabinet, just wide enough to place the microwave on the countertop. To the left of this, is a free-standing stove, with a top and bottom cabinet to the left of this, which ends at the same place as the U part of the cabinet with the bar. As you can see, SMALL and boxed in!! To the right of the upside-down U, boxed in area, there is a space to walk into the great room, and the right of that a bay window, large enough for a round 4-seat table.

I realize that I have gone into a lot of detail, and I hope that I haven't bored you to sleep with it, but I needed you to get a clear picture of what we are facing when thinking about a remodel. We had considered opening up the dining room area in some way, but don't have a clue how to even start with that, but otherwise, we have NOTHING even coming to mind. I pride myself on my decor and remodeling projects, but this one has me stumped! Can anyone out there offer any advice?? It would mean so much. I have attached pictures for you to get a better idea. Please excuse the mess, I was cleaning when I decided to write!

Re: HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!


I'm at least as guilty as you but de-cluttering would make a HUGE difference
I've been cleaning my kitchen out for a remodel and just having empty counter tops makes the room feel so much larger. :eek:

As for modifications:
With little to no budget this could be tricky. Adding cabinets or an island will just make the room feel smaller. Unless you're a top notch carpenter I wouldn't recommend trying to move any of your existing cabinets. They were made to fit nicely where they are now I don't think it would be easy to get them to look as nice elsewhere.

Turning the U into an L by Removing the Bar would really open it up..

Putting an over the range microwave or modifying the cabinets to hold a microwave would free up a lot of counter space

Try to find better ways to use the space you have. Adding pull out shelves to your existing cabinets can help make better use of the storage you already have. Once again putting things away when they're not in use makes a world of difference

Hope that helps

Re: HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!

I think there a plenty of people now that would come in and help...giving you free estimates and ideas on what you could do. I would take advantage of that. Box stores offer free designs as well.

Looking at it, yes, I would break thru and open things up to the dining room. Even though you might not have the budget, I would still look at all the options before making a decision.

Re: HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!

Well, dedshort was too tough on you but I kind of agree...
No offence but... yes - you do have too much stuff...
I think your kitchen has a good layout, working triangle, enough counterspace...

I would clean everything out and invest my MONEY in a new good quality countertop, new fixtures, apliances. If you do need more cupboards - it is possible to replace just the upper ones - make them similar style to the cabinets, but more modern and ( most importantly) tall to the ceiling - so you will not have excuse for having that "fleamarket" on top of them and get rid of that metal bar... Also if you "undress" those windows - it will only open the space...

My TIME I would invest in organisation, in changing my habits, improving them... And that is the most difficult task...

I am not going to teach you design lessions - after all it is a very personal thing, but do consider looking into literature, watch some design shows... And remember - LESS IS MORE!
Good luck.

Re: HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!

I had the same problem. Try smart shelfing options (cupboards with shelves on top of each other) and decluttering. Try to get rid of items that you are least likely to use. It might sound impossible but everytime I look around I find things that fit the description, LOL
good luck

Re: HELP!! My Small, U-Shaped Kitchen needs to GROW!!


I agree with the others. Your kitchen's not too small for more than one person to work in it. I've seen far smaller kitchens that were quite functional. At least two adults and possibly three could work in yours if the countertops were clear. Why the vase of greenery? Why the birdhouse (that may not be a birdhouse but I'll just call it that because I'm not sure)? Why the rooster statue? I don't mean why do you have them, I mean why are they on the kitchen counters?

Kitchen counters cannot be both workspace and decorating space at the same time. And they can't be both workspace and "space where we put stuff 'just for now' when we feel too busy to figure out where to put it."

And if your family habitually leaves things on the counters, that habit won't change when you remodel your kitchen. You'll have more counters, but there will be more stuff on them. That's almost a law of nature. :) It would really be a pity to put in the money and effort necessary to enlarge your kitchen, only to find yourself right back where you started in terms of usable work space.

One thing I found helpful in the decluttering process was to go through what's on your counters in terms of, "Do I USE this in the kitchen?" If you don't actually use it, as opposed to just looking at it and liking it, it needs to live somewhere other than the kitchen. Maybe put up a little shelf on a wall that you can see from the kitchen, and display it there.

Once you've narrowed things down that way, you can then go through the things you do use in the kitchen and ask yourself how OFTEN you use it. If you use it daily or just about daily, it does belong on the counter. (Coffee maker, toaster, jar of spatulas and other cooking utensils...). If you use it less often than that, it belongs in a cupboard. There might be exceptions--for example, if you have something really heavy that you use fairly regularly, like a KitchenAid mixer you pull out and use once a month, it might be good to let it live in a corner of the counter just because it's so heavy. Rather than storing it elsewhere, which makes you risk dropping it or hurting your back when you get it out of the cupboard, pushing it back into the least useful part of your counter might be a good idea. But basically, it's a good general rule that only things you use daily or almost daily should be on the counter.

And you can do a similar process to make room in the cupboards. For example, when it comes to things you only use a couple of times a year if that--turkey roasting pan, finest china, grandma's teacups that you love but never use, etc.--if space is limited, then those don't even belong in the kitchen cupboards. They can be in an attic or basement or wherever works best for you--as long as you know where they are, you can go get them when you need them and they won't clutter things up--or in the case of grandma's teacups, maybe you could display one or two somewhere in the house and store the rest.

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