Kitchen bench space… we’d all like more of it! But what do you do if a kitchen extension is out of the question? What do you do if you have a really small kitchen? Well, the answer is simple enough – You just need to make the most of the kitchen bench space that you do have. Read on if you want to learn about some ingenious ways to create extra kitchen bench space and our top tips for kitchen bench space ideas.
Kitchen bench space: What is it and why is it so important?
First off, we need to clarify what we actually mean by kitchen bench space. The term ‘kitchen bench’ or ‘kitchen bench space’ is essentially a catch-all phrase to cover all countertops, worktops and food preparation areas that you have in the kitchen. It’s the work zone of the kitchen. It stands to reason why extra kitchen bench space is so important and why most homeowners are interested in hearing about whatever kitchen bench space ideas they can get their hands on.
You can never really have enough worktop space. When was the last time you heard somebody complain about having too much space in the kitchen? Exactly. Have you ever heard people say that their worktop is too long? No. Too short, yes. But never too long.
You can never have too much space for food preparation, can you? After all, although kitchens have become areas for socialising, dining, and family gathering more and more in recent years; ultimately, they are still the place where food is prepared and meals are cooked.
Bench space at a premium as kitchens get smaller
Another issue about kitchen bench space is to do with the size of our homes. There are plenty of large and spacious properties up and down the country. However, as the population grows, it’s also fair to say that many of us are living in smaller spaces. New builds tend to be on the small side when compared with Victorian or 1930s properties.
With the size of properties shrinking – especially in towns and cities – kitchens in many homes and apartments are getting smaller too. We can’t all afford to upsize or to fork out for expensive extension work. So, kitchens bench space ideas become all the more important for modern living.
The good news is there are plenty of clever tips and tricks that you can employ to create extra kitchen bench space. All is not lost – even in the smallest of kitchens. There are plenty of solutions that can be used to help you free-up valuable extra worktop space. It’s always possible to create an effective space-saving and highly functional kitchen space.
How do I add bench space to my kitchen?
How much bench space is needed in a kitchen? Well, this is a difficult question to answer and it’s really a bit like the proverbial conundrum: How long is a piece of string? Firstly, a lot will depend on your individual needs. A person living alone will need less bench space than the average family. Having said that, if said person is a budding chef or baker, that might not actually be true either!
You can see the issue here. It all depends on your habits and lifestyle and particular needs. However, the space that you have available will undoubtedly impact on the productivity and functionality of the kitchen space. For this reason, creating extra kitchen bench space is right at the top of many homeowners’ wishlists for improving their kitchen.
Declutter and clear away
If your kitchen is not blessed with a lot of kitchen bench space, things can be tricky. If your kitchen is a small space or has an unusual layout that wastes space or creates dead space, it can seem impossible. Other than a complete remodel or extension, you might be forgiven that there’s little that you can do.
The truth is, we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to wasting the space we have in our kitchens. And the primary culprit is always the same thing: clutter. Appliances on countertops are repeat troublemakers that take up valuable space. Often such items aren’t actually being used all that much. Unless you are using something on a daily basis, or at least a couple of days a week, this is a big red flag waving in the air. It is signifying that you are wasting the space.
You would get far more and productive use from the space if the offending item was taken away and put in a different – easily accessible – place in the kitchen. Similarly, you’d be surprised at how many items we have littering the tops of our counters that get virtually no use at all. When this is the case, you can’t really justify keeping something, let alone allowing it to take up important space in your kitchen.
It’s time for some ruthless decluttering!
Add open shelving and reorganise
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have the items and appliances that we use a lot in an easily accessible spot in the kitchen. This is the reason why kitchen countertops are so often used as storage space. One solution to the problem of cluttered worktop surfaces is to create an extra level. Open shelving above the worktops frees up space on the countertop itself. Another bonus is that the open shelving keeps all the items you need close to hand and still within easy reach. Overall, it keeps everything neat and today. And, as the open shelving can be used to place almost anything on, it can actually help to create a lovely, homely feel to your kitchen too.
Other ways to clear your bench space: Hooks, Racks and Inserts
If you use your bench tops to store utensils, pots and pans, you will probably find that there is a better and far more effective way to do things. Using the wall space with open shelving is just one of the many solutions at your disposal. Hooks are another excellent way to still have all your most-used items on display, but instead of cluttering up your kitchen worktops, you have freed up vital space. Decorative containers hung on these hooks could also accommodate other essentials such as oils and spices. Indeed, the hooks don’t even have to be fixed to the walls. Another solution would be to fix hooks onto the backs of cabinet doors.
Dishes can take up a lot of space when they are drying – but there is another way. Wall-mounted drying racks are a great solution. The rack can be installed above the sink. This way, it leaves your dishes to drain in peace, without cluttering up your bench space.
How about a sink insert?
Still on the subject of sinks, it’s important to try and make best use of all available space. If you think about it, when not in use the sink area is something of a wasted space. This is why removable inserts are such a good idea. These inserts fit over the sink to create extra space – space that can come in handy as an additional area for food preparation. There are a great range of inserts available too. The most basic ones simply create an extra flat surface. The smartest and most ingenious inserts can even include mixing bowls and integrated chopping boards.
Similarly, if you currently have a double-bowl sink in the kitchen, and you find that you actually don’t use the second bowl all that often, it might be better to ditch it altogether. Single-bowl sinks take up less space and will give more bench area to work with.
Induction cooktops and pull-out bench solutions
If you are a fan of gas stovetops, you need to look away now…
Induction cooktops have genuinely revolutionised kitchen design in recent years. First off, they provide a fully equipped stovetop, but they also double up as an extra food preparation area. Even if you are a gas stovetop purist, it’s hard to argue about the practical benefits of the bench space that induction stovetops provide when not in use.
So, if you often find yourself struggling in the kitchen, juggling utensils and items around in an inadequately-sized space, an induction cooktop could be the ideal way to create extra kitchen bench space.
The design of induction cooktops is discreet. If you simply glance at one from the right angle, you’d never know that they’re cooktops at all. They cool down quickly too, so you won’t find yourself having to wait around for too long before being able to adapt their function. What’s more, as they sit virtually flush to the profile of the existing worktop, they provide a seamless look. There’s no clunkiness here!
Why not get a kitchen island?
If you are lucky enough to have plenty of kitchen floor space but the problem of not having enough kitchen bench space, a kitchen island could be the ideal solution. These days, kitchen islands come in all shapes and sizes. They have the added advantage of adding considerable extra bench space to your kitchen, as well as providing you with valuable extra storage. What’s not to like?
If you add a few bar stools to your kitchen island, and you have instantly created an extra dining area – or a space for the kids to do their homework. A kitchen island is really what you make it and what you want it to be.
Contemporary kitchen design trends have transformed the humble kitchen island into something else altogether. They can now be the focal point and genuine centrepiece of the kitchen. Not only that, they can also house sinks, drawers and all sorts of ingenious storage solutions.
Find out more about kitchen islands here.
Alternatives to kitchen islands
Unfortunately, not all of us have the necessary floor space in the kitchen to make a kitchen island a practical and viable solution. A wheeled butcher block could be a clever alternative, however. It offers the extra space that an island bench provides. However, you also get the flexibility to move it around as you see fit. This makes a wheeled butcher block a great addition to small and large kitchens alike. As it comes on wheels, you can bring the additional space into wherever you want it in the kitchen, whenever you want it.
There’s also a very welcome added bonus… as most wheeled butcher blocks also contain cupboards and drawers, they provide an extra storage solution.
Do you want another great kitchen storage idea? How about a butler’s pantry? This is a cunning way to find a new – and better – designated home for the kind of small appliances that often clutter up your kitchen bench space. A butler’s pantry helps the decluttering process and frees up valuable space around the stovetop and sink.
How to create more space in the kitchen
In a similar way to how sink inserts work, you can also install working zones that pull out and fit over your bin. This is another great way to create concealed extra kitchen bench space. You can even find some that come complete with a handily positioned hole, so that rubbish can be scraped directly into the bin – an absolute godsend when you are preparing food! Other designs simply feature bowl inserts or a straightforward chopping board.
You can be even more adventurous too. Almost any drawer can house concealed bench space that pulls out.
More space-saving solutions for your kitchen
Another excellent way to make the most of the space you have in your kitchen is to conduct an impromptu audit of your kitchen as it stands right now. Are there any corners, nooks, or surfaces that aren’t currently being used?
If that’s the case, there are plenty of ways to transform this dead space into functional storage areas.
And don’t forget the space on top of your existing kitchen cabinets. Providing they are of sturdy construction, there’s no reason why you can’t store those infrequently-used items on top of them. With a busy modern home, it’s important that you make best use of every inch of available space in the kitchen.
Find a suitable place for your appliances
Sometimes, it can feel like your appliances are taking over your kitchen. They certainly take up an awful lot of space. And when it does, it only uses up space that could be used more effectively elsewhere.
The solution is to be ruthless. If you don’t use a particular appliance regularly, move it – or bin it altogether.
Another alternative is to find a dedicated, designated space to accommodate all these items.
Can your kitchen furniture double-up?
As we have shown with the likes of sink, drawer, and even bin inserts, there are so many ways you can cleverly create a bit of handy extra kitchen bench space. Another possible solution – especially if you have no room for a kitchen island – is to look to your dining table. Could it double-up as an extra kitchen bench?
Most dining chairs suit a table height of around 750mm. Bar stools are typically used with higher benchtops (usually 850mm to 1050mm tall). Consider whether you will be doing more sitting or standing (while cooking) and make your choice accordingly.
Consult a professional designer
Although the vast majority of these ideas to make the most of your kitchen bench space are self-explanatory and common-sense, sometimes it’s simply best to consult a professional kitchen designer. Of course, you are perfectly capable of decluttering yourself. You can easily move things around and reorganise to create more space in the kitchen, making it a more effective and usable space. However, especially if your kitchen has an awkward or unusual layout, only a professional designer will be able to suggest how best to make the most of what you have.
Make the most of kitchen corners with a breakfast corner nook
Saving space is of the essence if you want to create extra kitchen bench space. A folding table is a good way to create temporary extra bench space, and a ready-made extra place to eat – or an impromptu desk to do some work at. However, you can simply tuck it away when not in use so that it doesn’t take up valuable floor space.
Corners can be problematic in any room. Typically, a lot of space can be wasted in corner areas.
A small breakfast corner nook could be the perfect solution to make best use of a corner. More importantly though, it could be the perfect way to start the day. A corner nook is cosy and homely – and this feel is accentuated by the fact it uses a small corner area. Just think – you can transform an empty, neglected and wasted corner into a space that is both comfortable and intimate.
Breakfast corner nook furniture sets come in all manner of styles and designs. If you want a corner nook with a contemporary and modern feel, choose one that combines stainless steel, chrome, and gloss white. If you want something that is ultra-modern, clean, and streamlined, a breakfast corner nook can be the perfect pick. To ensure that it doesn’t look too clinical, it’s a good idea to combine subtle and vibrant colours.
Alternatively, if your taste is more traditional, look for a solid pine breakfast corner nook set. Perfect for the classic country-style kitchen look, you can add bright cushions to create extra visual impact in the corner.
Final Thoughts: How much kitchen bench space do I need?
To be honest, only you can answer that question. It really depends 0n your particular needs. However, as we have shown with this blog, there’s always a way to create more space in the kitchen – and who doesn’t want more space? If you would like to discuss your plans with our friendly team of experts, feel free to get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team today. We are always on hand to guide you and to answer any questions you have.