The kitchen is the busiest part of the home, and poor design and organization will make it the dreariest. When clunky pots and pans clatter to the floor each time you open a cabinet and the dish rack occupies half of the counter and leaves no room for prep work, you will dread cooking.
Therefore, kitchens should be intelligently designed-inspiring and efficient. But you do not have to spend a fortune. Here are some useful tips.
1. Break Down the Walls
If you are still renovating your unit, you can ask your interior designer to open up the walls that separate the kitchen from the rest of your home. Instead of a wall you can separate the area with a peninsula or island table, which you can use as a work-space and a dining table.
Open kitchens lets you interact with family or guests while you prepare the food, or do other things while food simmers on the stove-you can still keep an eye on it while attending to other chores or activities like playing with the kids.
2. Go for Display-worthy Tools
“I bought bright red pots and pans that actually look very beautiful against the stainless steel counter. I placed my spices in clear glass jars and printed out labels using a pretty digital scrapbooking template,” says Rowie, a long time condo resident.
You may also want to display beans and pasta—their different shapes and colors are quite charming—or transfer ingredients like flour and coffee into pretty glass or ceramic containers.
3. Get Floor-to-ceiling Storage
Use the top shelves for plates, platters, or appliances that you do not use every day, and keep the middle and bottom shelves for everyday items. If you can, pre-measure your appliances so they fit perfectly into the shelves.
The walls are automatic vertical storage, too. Hang pots and tools you use often, like colanders or cutting boards. Use a magnetic bar for knives, as this is more hygienic than storing them in wooden knife racks, which can harbor bacteria.
If you cannot add shelves, store the things you do not use often—like the big platters or decorative plates you reserve for parties—in another part of the home, like the closet of the guest bedroom.
4.Subdivide and Conquer
Buy cheap drawer separators and flatware organizers to save time when you set the table or need a special tool. When the food is bubbling on the stove, the last thing you need to worry about is how to find the spatula that is buried in one of the bottomless kitchen junk drawers.
5. Organize Items by Use
Shelves and storage bins are great for holding knick-knacks, but they will slow you down if you do not have a system. “Keep the can opener, meat pounder, or sifter, near the table where you will typically prepare your ingredients. This sounds commonsensical, but all too often homemakers find themselves opening every shelf in the kitchen to look for the cheese grater,” says interior designer Elaine San Jose. “Every extra step that you have to take makes cooking more tiring than it should be.”
6. Get a Custom-made Pantry
Ask a carpenter to make a cabinet with shelves that are just the right height for cans and bottles. Wicker baskets or plastic boxes can carry smaller, bulkier items like chips or instant mixes. Ideally, your pantry should be away from a window—most foods are best stored in a cool, dark place. Add a door to keep pests away; tack a white board or cork board so you can instantly list what you need to buy once you notice you are running low on a particular ingredient.
7. Use a Movable Island as a Breakfast and Snack Station
Instead of clogging up valuable counter space with a coffee maker and toaster, place them on a movable island. You can roll it to the dining area in the mornings. This can also hold cereals, oatmeal, and bread (stored in airtight containers), tea boxes, and other items that tend to occupy kitchen counter space.
8. Use the Three-point Flow
The best-designed kitchens have a “work triangle” with the sink, prep space, and stove or fridge places at the three points of a triangle. This has been proven to be the most efficient work-flow and is used to design professional kitchens.
9. Create an Efficient Prep Area
Tidier work spaces give you more room to prepare your ingredients and also help clear your mind. Keep utensils in a drawer, plastic box, or hooks. Keep pots and spices close at hand. “Most people put these near the stove, but you actually need them when you are preparing ingredients and not actually cooking,” says caterer Lila Ambrosio. Store cookbooks in another area, and just keep one book stand to prop the one you need at the moment.
Ginny Scott, vice president of California Closets, say that homemakers often clutter counters with decorative spice racks. “Spice drawers, which let you lay the bottle flat with the label exposed, save space and also protect the spices, which can lose potency when exposed to light.”
These are just some ways that you can maximize and organize your condo kitchen space. However, interior designers and caterers agree that the most important step you can take is being honest about what you need.
“Don’t hoard! Most people do not need 10 sets of plates or a month’s worth of groceries. Streamline before you store, and then store with purpose. The best kitchen is the one that serves your needs and your lifestyle, and doesn’t just display all the tools money can buy,” says Ambrosio.
10. Extra tips from the expat chef
Let say, you just move in a a new studio place to find out that yes there is the usual stuff, plates covers, a kettle and a rice cooker and a very small area kitchen.
No problem, take a close look at the rice cooker as with the kettle this the most important piece of equipment that you need!. A rice cooker by definition suppose to cook rice, but actually it can cook so much staff, starting with your favorites pasta, to your chicken curry, beef stew or any other dishes or steamed vegetables. Just have to be patient and buy the right ingredients.
Same with the kettle, if there is a classic kettle, you do many so many hot soups, and boiled faster the water to cook your pasta. So soups, pasta, salads, here your lunch or dinner, for breakfast you will have to buy a toaster which can be useful for making any sandwiches in the long run.
Additional items to cooking safe on a very small studio area kitchen is to have on the wall a shelf with a microwave which come standard in some apartment complex, but you can add a small roaster oven if there is a room for it but definitely you can buy a electric slow cooker if you prefer cooking your stew separately that your rice.
Also check some of those following links which will give some ideas to DIY, close spaces or storage.
Editorial credentials: Pia Lorraine Yater-Dalmazo, PR and Media Relations, Lamudi
Terry Goldman, Expat Manila Services
Photos: IngImage, Megaworld at The Fort, Buzzfeed