Appliances for Small-Space Kitchens

From ranges and dishwashers to refrigerators, here are appliances that fit small-space kitchens like a (rubber) glove

SWEETEN_PallaviKitchenBath-02 (Above) A 24″ Bertazzoni range in Pallavi and Keyur’s Manhattan renovation.

Whatever the size of their kitchen, most homeowners feel it could be larger. But what if your kitchen is really small? Depending on the room’s dimensions—a narrow galley kitchen or even a trim 12- by 12-foot box shape—appliances in particular can seem to overwhelm a space and throw everything out of proportion. Thankfully, manufacturers have responded to this dilemma with smaller-size appliances that still offer the function you want while not overwhelming the space. What’s more, you may find the smaller kitchen, with most everything in arm’s reach, is actually more efficient and thus a happier, more productive place to cook. And with so many major manufacturers on this bandwagon, you don’t have to sacrifice style, either. P.S.: If you have a large kitchen, this is good news, too, providing the opportunity to fit an additional cook surface or fridge, or turn a walk-in pantry into an additional prep space. Read on:

Layout in a triangle

For any kitchen to work well, the layout must be planned for top efficiency. In a small cookspace, appliances in close proximity mean fewer steps and better conservation of movement and energy. Follow the classic kitchen triangle: place the functions of cooking, cooling and washing—stove, fridge, and sink—so that if you draw a line from each one to the other, you create a triangle. This means you will have allowed some landing space next to each of these features, and separation, too, to avoid a collision if two people share the kitchen. Once your floor plan is a go, you can choose the appliances that will do the job you want—and also fit.

Cooking with mini power

If you have your heart set on a range, more than a few manufacturers will accommodate you with a compact 24-inch model that allows four burners and an oven, too, of course. BlueStar makes a range in an industrial style that isn’t the size of an SVU but still packs loads of cooking power. If you’re comfortable with classic style, look for a vintage 21-inch O’Keefe and Merritt, a model created when small kitchens were the only way to go.

Need to go smaller still? You can find two-burner radiant and induction cooktops from manufacturers like KitchenAid or GE in widths starting at 15 inches. Then place the oven on the wall to free up more undercounter space for a slim dishwasher (more on this below). Also check out combo ovens that offer microwave as well as convection (one less appliance!), available from most manufacturers.

Don’t overlook range hoods; these come smaller, too, to top off their cooking cousins.

SWEETEN_John_Kitchen_Bathroon-07-08
(Above) An undercounter refrigerator (left of the sink) and 24″ range in Emily’s Upper West Side renovation

Compact cooling 

Refrigeration of smaller stature has come a long way since the top-mount model in your starter apartment. Manufacturers such as Viking make a model as slim as 30 inches, which can still stow a tray of appetizers. Need to go slimmer still? Bosch, LG, and GE each offer a stainless-steel bottom freezer refrigerator that measures 24 inches wide. If you don’t tend to stock a lot for daily meals, a refrigerator drawer (or two) is an alternative, and can be found from Thermador, GE Monogram, or Electrolux for as small as 24 inches wide by 34 ¼ inches high. Plus, the elimination of another swinging door helps reduce the feeling of clutter, easing traffic jams.

Undercounter fridges that still have a door are also available from companies such as KitchenAid, Frigidaire, Kenmore, and Whirlpool. You can get a nice long run of counterspace if you keep all your appliances under the counter, which will make the overall space look less cluttered and hence feel larger.

Washing in small batches

The standard dishwasher comes 24 inches wide, and that will fit in most galley kitchens. But if you wish to go smaller, Frigidaire, Bosch, and Kenmore make models as narrow as 18 inches—just what you need to handle a day’s dishes. Or consider a dishwasher drawer like those from Fisher & Paykel. Typically available at 24 inches wide, these versions can handle dishware for a party of six, but if that’s not how you dine every day, then it’s not a major issue anyway.

Check out our post on how to live large in a small space for more small-space friendly solutions.

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