Small U Shaped Kitchen I need help please to make it more functional.

My kitchen is a tiny 81/2 x12 U shape. Most of my budget will be spent on new wood flooring for kitchen and adjoining dining room along with replacing all appliances. My cabinet space and counter space is very limited. If it wasn't for an old vintage cabinet i wouldn't have hardly any storage.
Thinking of painting cabinets white, dark countertop and stainless steel appliances. All help appreciated.
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Pick moved the stove here trying for inspiration normally vintage cabinet is here
Pick moved the stove here trying for inspiration , normally vintage cabinet is here.
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Tiny cabinets and counter space No room for microwave above stove
Tiny cabinets and counter space. No room for microwave above stove.
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Microwave taking up valuable space
Microwave taking up valuable space
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Back door
Back door
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, The way cabinets are joined difficult using
The way cabinets are joined difficult using
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Opens into dining room
Opens into dining room
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Door leading into family room
Door leading into family room
q small u shaped kitchen i need help please to make it more functional, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, Help
  29 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 06, 2014
    Small kitchens can be a challenge for sure. You have 2 choices here. Take the space for the vintage cabinet and turn it into a different use. Make yourself a rolling island that can sit in that space...a beautiful flat black with a butcher block top if you don't plan to change out all your counter tops now...or same as you new tops if you are changing them. This will be out of the way and yet can be rolled over near whatever you are working on. I have one and I LOVE IT! Pull it forward...push it back. Small appliances can sit on or inside of it to clear up counter space. (Put in a plug near this so you can use it as a regular counter) Then put in upper cabinets to match. It would not take much effort to paint your entire kitchen whatever color you want. Put up a hanging paper towel bar on the side of the cabinet at sink to clear more space on counter. Look for alternate storage places, i.e., look for some used overhead cabinets for the garage to store infrequently used items such as muffin tins, cookie sheets, platters, etc.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jul 06, 2014
    Go for function & sanity instead of upgrades than can be done later. Instead of spending big $ on ss app & changing kit floor (tile looks nice), change layout to galley kitchen. (Can still do wood in dr by using a transition board.) Reposition stove & cabs to wall opposite sink. (Hubby was on the right track moving stove there.) Spend $ to get extra lowers and countertops. Should be able to get your cab style at a restore or such. Put a mirror or pics, etc. on the wall where stove was. Move vintage cab elsewhere. Will get considerably more counter space and more usable lower cab space.

  • Shari Shari on Jul 06, 2014
    I whole-heartedly agree with @Marion Nesbitt. If your current appliances still work, wait to replace them. As it stands now, pretty, new appliances aren't going to do diddly squat to make this kitchen function better. Additional cabinets and counter space should definitely be your first priority! (You might be successful finding budget-friendly used cabinets on your local Craigslist.) Paint is not very expensive and gives a lot of bang for your buck. It will do wonders for transforming this kitchen--gives everything a fresh, clean cohesive look. I also agree the tile floor is okay for now. The flooring can still be changed later, after you get the (much needed) cabinets in place. Even though the tile may not be your ideal floor, at least it's a nice neutral color and it appears to be in good shape. Consider treating yourself to a steam mop and you might actually find the tile isn't so bad. Anything that makes it easier to clean makes it easier to live with, at least for a while. :) I HIGHLY recommend the Bissell Powerfresh steam mop. It is AWESOME beyond words--truly worth its weight in gold! I love that thing almost more than I love my coffee maker. :)

  • 266335 266335 on Jul 06, 2014
    I would put the stove back, relocate the vintage cabinet to the garage for storage and place a table with shelves above where the stove is now.

  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Jul 06, 2014
    @Patty Stump i would move the stove back and try the fridge over there it looks too cramped by the door,if your vintage cabinet wont fit by the door try finding a hutch that you could put micro wave on to put by the door still having storage on top and under neath, i love your potato mashers i collect them also but have no where to put them in our small galley kitchen you are lucky that your cabinets have space on top of them don't overlook that area for storage you can put seasonal stuff like platters etc you only use occasionally and get baskets to store loose item like Christmas pot holders towels etc giant turkey roaster could go up there also, i love your wall paper and border put the border is making the ceiling seem low i think just all paint in the color of your choice remember don't stress just have fun with it xx

  • Katie Katie on Jul 06, 2014
    Okay so…do you really need a fridge that big? Down-sizing that will go a long way. I would humbly suggest a single door bottom freezer that is counter depth. Leave the stove where you have moved it. Put a shelf above it for you micro-wave (or go nuclear-free; I've never owned one). You can buy stainless shelving at Ikea or Craigslist (look under restaurant equipment). You might want two open shelves and then you put you kitchen implements in a nice container rather then the random floating placement they currently enjoy. For that awkward corner cupboard…you can now buy system that fold into that space (check Ikea again or Lee Valley) and then pull out. Put another lower cabinet where the stove was originally; move the lower cabinet that is beside where the stove was around to beside where the stove is now and get another cabinet for the corner (again Craigslist; Habitat for Humanity Restore, etc.) I would then put a small funky table or cabinet on the other side of the stove. Paint all the cabinetry lower cabinetry one colour and uppers maybe a soft cream.For the cabinets where the stove used to be - put glass in them and some of your lovely china; cookbooks, etc. Remove the wall-paper and paint it a nice fresh colour then sit back and admire all your effort! Have lots of fun. There are lots of great ideas here from everyone!

  • Liz Baldwin Liz Baldwin on Jul 07, 2014
    I have a tiny kitchen so I bought an over the stove style microwave and installed a cabinet above that.

  • Colleen Knight Colleen Knight on Jul 07, 2014
    Put the stove back where it was, remove cabinet above the stove add microwave there. There are self venting microwave hoods. You can also add a shelf above the microwave to store cookbooks or rarely used items. Add slide out shelving to some cabinets and a recycle/trash can insert to "lose" the trash can from floor space. I have a teeny tiny (9.5 x 8.6) kitchen, I had some wall space to build in a niche' for our coffee pot, put shelves above and around it to make more storage for less used items. Is the bulk head above your cabinets part of the duct work? If not remove it for more storage on top of the cabinets.You could also use the vintage cabinet for a coffee, toaster nook.

  • Anenna Enborg Anenna Enborg on Jul 07, 2014
    Go look at larger RV'S and boats. A world of ideas and they pack world of function in no space at all. Also pintrest tiny kitchens

  • Diana H Diana H on Jul 07, 2014
    I have a microwave above my stove with an exhaust fits very nicely with my cabinets above. Move your stove back get one of those microwaves make a wall of bottom cabinets with the countertop and open the wall up next to your family room

  • Barbara Rotella Barbara Rotella on Jul 07, 2014
    I Would move the Fridge To Where The Stove Was And Open The Familyroom wall And Put A Island With Your Stove. This Will Open Up The Dinningroom. You Can Put Your Hutch There Where The Fridge was.

  • Hannah T Hannah T on Jul 07, 2014
    I'm with Barbara. Open up that wall and put either a huge oven island in there with some open storage above and cupboards below. Move the fridge to where the oven was with a downgraded fridge. Ugh. Ss appliance run so much money when you can more top of the line with black or white and look just as good. Leave the floor. Hw isn't advisable for kitchens with high traffic areas and kitchens.

  • Melissa Mader Bulger Melissa Mader Bulger on Jul 07, 2014
    Put stove back, remove two cupboards above for microwave freeing up counter. Put vintage cupboard somewhere else, not kitchen. Move fridge to empty wall freeing up cupboard space. Can also downsize fridge a bit, upgrade everything later. Also, for SM appliances/lg bowls etc that are not used on daily basis put on very top "shelf". Utilize that space. I have LG metal bowls, and even holiday"cookware" up on mine. Get a quaint step stool for whenever you do need something from there or top cupboards.

  • Tina S. Tina S. on Jul 07, 2014
    first question, how many people live in your home? if there are only 2 of you, then i suggest this...get rid of all of the large furniture pieces..table, hutches,ect...sell them..use the $$ to help redo the kitchen..paint the cabinets, add nice pulls to doors/drawers...if you really want to remove the tile, then do so, but take it off the walls too...and paint the walls. Do you bake alot? if "no"..then ditch the big stove/oven and put in a counter top range instead, buy a 2-door frig/freezer and put it where the stove was.

  • Vsw344996 Vsw344996 on Jul 07, 2014
    I see you love country, but the border and decorative "clutter" make this kitchen seem even smaller....the plate rack is a great space saver if it is actually used for your everyday dishes and not just decorative, clear off the fridge of all pictures and the top will make a world of difference.....I have found as I have gotten older and more wise (ha ha) that less is really will get the feeling of more space without doing a great deal of change.....not a criticism, just some heartfelt advice.

  • Barbara Drummond Barbara Drummond on Jul 07, 2014
    just for fun go to home depot or lowes and " look at designs for new cabs.. " they have kitchen designers and CAD software to plug it all in and you can get a good ldea of how it will look.. Just have your kitchen measurements done when you go including space between any windows.. Mind you moving plumbing and venting is where you can run into big $$$$

  • JOANN F JOANN F on Jul 07, 2014
    If you had the $$ I'd knock down that wall the stove is sitting on (separating the living room and do an island or half wall…that would open the space up and you could still have cabinet space under it as well as maybe add your stove there… if you had the room you could even push it out just a foot or two which would give you more room as well. Hold off on the appliances and use the additional cash to do that to the wall… just my humble opinion… have fun with it and post some pics of your final creation!! So exciting!!

  • Tim D. (The Retro Den) Tim D. (The Retro Den) on Jul 07, 2014
    You're on the right path... I sprayed mine with Rustoleum Satin White.. Three very light coats... You can actually sand it the next day... I don't like latex paints at all as they do not stand up well to everyday wear... Let me know if your fridge is up for grabs ;-)...

    • Judy H Judy H on Jul 09, 2014
      @Tim Dooley (aka The Retro Den) Tim - you mentioned the inside of your cabinets being the old particle board. I have the same stuff, those old builder grade cabinets. I had the cabinets re-faced quite a few years ago, which looks really nice, but the insides of the cabinets are awful, and in a few spots contact paper won't even stay down because the particle board shelves are a bit grungy. Did you seal/paint your shelves? Thanks....

  • Lee Lee on Jul 07, 2014
    I too have a smaller kitchen. Move stove back to original location(microwave will not fit ,unless you pull out the upper cabinets and it appears like me you need those cabinets). That will free up that wall. Turn vintage cabinet around on the wall. Place microwave on the open space on the cabinet. If that is not possible get a different hutch that is what I did and it works great. I have microwave and storage jars in the hutch opening up more counter space. I also painted cabinets white and put new pulls on them. Looks great for a inexpensive renovation. Good luck!

  • Patty S Patty S on Jul 07, 2014
    I also worked with a very tight budget and it was hard to know what to do first. 9 years later, not real happy with the process, but not sure I would have done it differently. So will pass on to you what I learned from that. Can the kitchen flooring wait? If you are going to open up walls in the future, or change configuration of your cabinets, move appliances or whatever, how will this change or alter floor pattern. Are any of the appliances not working- I wouldn't change them out until they aren't! I just months ago got all my appliances to match, literally buying one about every 2.5 years- the last one this past spring and ended up buying it used! Check used appliance stores. Your frig looks too big for the kitchen, go smaller. Think about a kitchen island. I looked and looked for one- finally like 2 years ago found one the exact size I needed on craigslist, and even though it doesn't have a granite top on it, (it has a butcher block one) it is the right size, and very functional. That will give you a lot of cabinet space and counter space. Think about some shelving on your bare wall, some wood, L-brackets and you will be set. Paint the cabinets, and you will be set for awhile.

  • Karren Brunell Karren Brunell on Jul 07, 2014
    i would look on craigslist for cabinets, and then find some lazy susans for the corners and put cabinets in the wall where your stove is now....

  • Irene S Irene S on Jul 07, 2014
    check the restore store for what you need for the floor

  • Elizabeth P Elizabeth P on Jul 08, 2014
    Maybe you are really anxious for new floors, but your floor is not bad. I would opt for new cabinets. You can get unfinished solid wood cabinets at wholesale stores, and reconfigure your kitchen so that it works better for you, I would hesitate in getting rid of the vintage cabinet, it could work beautifully in the kitchen. If you are planning on new appliances, check out the micro wave/hood options, which will take the microwave off the counter top. If you get new cabinets, they have a wonderful corner cabinet that has a lazy susan that will give you a lot of storage that would normally be lost. We bought these cabinets for a bathroom in a new addition and stained them. Our next project is another bath, with similar cabinets, but they will be painted. They are so budget friendly, it won't take long to have the money for a new floor. p.s. The appliances look to be in good condition, so why replace them if you are going to paint the cabinets. Right now, you can have a beautiful kitchen, I think, with new cabinets and counter tops. Add a few bright rugs in front of sink and stove. Then later do the floors, then the appliances. Just my 2 cents worth thrown in.

  • Val Val on Jul 08, 2014
    If it were my kitchen I would add cabinets and counter space on each side of the stove and put the micro wave above the stove- off the counter. to free up space. Light colors on the walls will make a space look bigger. Sparse things on the walls too! There is a site on how to paint cabinets, lighter works all the way around. Good luck!

  • Kelly Miller Kelly Miller on Jul 08, 2014
    How about some wallpaper on the open wall and open shelving

  • Teri Teri on Jul 08, 2014
    I think you are on the right track, painting the cabinets white will make the space feel bigger. I would put the stove back where it was and remove the cabinet above it to make room for the microwave. Lazy susans in the corner cabinets will help make them more useful if you can't afford to replace them. Do you have an Ikea near you? They have some really cool inserts for corner cabinets that are fairly inexpensive, might be worth checking if they have something in a size suitable for your cabinets. The wall where you have your hutch could have some open shelving added to it to give you more storage space without closing off the room further. I don't know how fond you are of your wallpaper, but a lighter color on the walls would also help to make the space feel larger.

  • Marline L Marline L on Jul 08, 2014
    Perhaps those Lazy Susan cabinets that make more room for items. Remove wall paper and brighten up the walls to make it bigger looking Good luck.

  • Deb370543 Deb370543 on Jul 11, 2014
    There are a lot of great ideas above so I don't need to add my two cents. Just wanted to pass on this idea...Walmart (and probably any home store) has a spray paint made for appliances. I've only seen basic colors, white, ivory and black. We sprayed our fridge using the black and it looks great. And has held up for a couple years without any scratches. Good luck

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Apr 30, 2022

    Go look at larger RV'S and boats. A world of ideas and they pack world of function in no space at all. Also pintrest tiny kitchens