Big Kitchens vs. Small Kitchens (What’s Your Preference?)

When we first bought our house last August and I was dreaming about the changes I wanted to make, one of the first rooms I started dreaming about and planning was the kitchen.  The original kitchen was just so inefficiently arranged that I knew I wanted to make changes as soon as possible.

One of my first plans was to expand the kitchen into the breakfast room area and into the original dining room (what I now call the music room) to create one really large kitchen, and I wanted the cabinets with the kitchen sink to be located under the wall of windows.

That plan would have required moving walls, adding walls, opening up walls to create doorways, jackhammering up a slab foundation to move plumbing and gas lines, re-pouring the slab foundation, re-building the trusses in the breakfast room to bring the ceiling height to the same height as the original kitchen, and so much more.  I don’t think there’s any way that a plan like that — even if I were to do a great deal of the work myself — would have cost less than $30,000.  And I’m thinking that would even be a conservative estimate.

Over time, that initial plan was revised, and then revised again, and again, and again, until I finally landed on the idea of keeping the original footprint of the kitchen and just rearranging everything inside that footprint to create a more efficient layout.

I’m so glad I decided to go this route.  Not only am I not much of a cook (as y’all know by now), but I’ve come to realize that I just much prefer kitchens on the smaller side.  They generally seem to be arranged in a way that seems much more efficient to me, with clearly defined work triangles.  Our condo kitchen was tiny (a bit too tiny for my taste), but I did love the arrangement with the clearly defined work triangle.  (And you’ll also notice the fridge in the corner.  I lived with that for seven years and never had an issue with it.)

My new kitchen will be arranged almost identically to the condo kitchen (sink on one side, fridge and stove on the other), but there will be a bit more floor space between the two sides of the room, and I’ll have much more usable countertop space in the new kitchen, which is perfect since limited countertop space was my one constant complaint about the small condo kitchen.  Plus with the wall removed in the current kitchen, it’ll feel much more open and spacious.

There’s just something very charming to me about a small, efficiently arranged kitchen.

small kitchen -- Jeanne Finnerty Design, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by Charlestown Interior Designers & Decorators Jeanne Finnerty Interior Design

I like to be cooking at the stove, and then be able to turn around and take just a few steps to get to the sink.  Or walk just a couple of steps to get something out of the fridge.

small kitchen -- Lorna Saunders Interiors, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by West Palm Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Lorna Saunders Interiors

I don’t like the idea of having to walk around an island to get to the fridge.

small kitchen -- Ahmann LLC, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by Dc Metro Architects & Designers AHMANN LLC

In a small kitchen, everything you need is within reach, and you can pack quite a bit of style and stuff into a small space, like this 100 square foot kitchen. (My kitchen is just a little bigger than this one, coming in at 140 square feet.)

small kitchen -- David Heide Design Studio, via HouzzCraftsman Kitchen by Minneapolis Architects & Designers David Heide Design Studio

small kitchen -- Candelaria Design Associates, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by Phoenix Architects & Designers Candelaria Design Associates

small kitchen -- Boor Bridges Architecture, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by San Francisco Architects & Designers Boor Bridges Architecture

Of course, one obvious difference between me and seemingly most small kitchen designer on Houzz is that I could never live with white cabinets. Life is too short to be surrounded by so much white. ;)

What’s your preference? Are you satisfied with a kitchen on the smaller side like I am? Or do you prefer a big, sprawling kitchen?

big kitchen -- Village Architects AIA, Inc, via HouzzTraditional Kitchen by Miami Architects & Designers Village Architects AIA, Inc.

When I see big kitchens like that (many of which are absolutely gorgeous, no doubt about that) I always think about how all of that space…and money…would be so completely wasted on me. I love to look at pictures of big gorgeous kitchens because I can be inspired by them, but I just don’t think I have what it takes to really appreciate and use a kitchen like that. And I still can’t quite grasp the idea of having to walk around an island to get from the sink to the fridge. Do any of you have a big kitchen with a similar layout? And does the island not seem like it’s in the way?  Or is that something you just get used to over time?

So what say you? A kitchen on the small side with a well-defined work triangle? Or a big sprawling kitchen?

Things are moving along on my own kitchen.  I’m hoping to get the drywall done today, and possibly even get some cabinets installed!!  If everything goes as planned, I’m really hoping that I’ll be pouring concrete countertops this weekend.  Eeek!  I’m a bit nervous!  :)

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Comments

  1. Becky says

    I have four kids and a husband. I don’t like cooking but it has to be done. In our last home it was a new construction so the kitchen was huge with a large island. Well we had to move and our current home was built in the 80s. It has a basic u snapped kitchen. I honestly can say my husband and I much prefer the new smaller kitchen. It seems to flow so much better. It felt like there was no room in the bigger kitchen because of the stupid island! I will never have an island again. The smaller on seem some open so all six of us can be in there more comfortably and it really is only about a gird the size of the last kitchen.

    • Becky says

      Ok I just read my comment. I really do speak English I just can’t type it. That last sentence was suppose to say , the smaller one seems more open so all six of us can be in there more comfortably and it’s only about a third the size of he last kitchen.

  2. Gail says

    I love big kitchens. Mine have always been tiny. Present one is about 72 square feet and no dining room. I hate it! What wouldn’t I give for an extension? Lol

  3. Krikit says

    I’ve never been blessed with anything but a galley-sized kitchen, and let me tell you, I’m SOooo ready for an opportunity to live with a more sprawling one! ;)

    I think I’d want the best of both worlds: a kitchen where all the prep and cook area was ‘tight’ but then opened up onto a large eating area. I’d want an island-counter, but as a half-wall type of deal and not in the way of any appliance, pantry or cupboard I’d need to get to — I’m *infamous* for whacking myself on stuff that’s in my pathway. :P

    • Jenny Ballard says

      I have something similar to what you are talking about Krikit.
      My kitchen is smallish with a good working layout. It opens to an adjoining dining area, however I use the rooms together as a large eat in kitchen. Food prep and cooking is in the kitchen, with extra storage and display of items that I don’t use all day every day, in the dining room. When cooking for a number of people, I can use my dining table as extra counter space. And I love this layout.

  4. Andrea says

    I can definitely appreciate an efficient smaller kitchen. My kitchen is not gigantic and it doesn’t even have a lot of cabinets, yet I still have empty space. But I do think having a separate pantry helps- I also keep all my little appliances in my pantry. Plus the layout is as you mentioned- the perfect work triangle. My old house had a tiny galley kitchen and what I called a “one butt kitchen”, it lacked efficiency and valuable space was taken up by food storage because I had no pantry. Limited counters because I had to store everything on the counters, which bugged the heck out of me. So yeah- the big sprawling kitchen with tons of cabinet space are gorgeous and all but in reality I don’t even use the ones I have! It’s perfect for us! I do have the sink on the peninsula layout and I am really growing to love it.

  5. sonny says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my galley style 14 deep 10 wide kitchen..
    now if my cabs were just white with huge crown molding, it would be perfect and since I can make both of those things happen- perfect isnt far off:)

  6. Peggy R says

    I like a larger kitchen. We have a small kitchen and when the dishwasher is open you can’t open the refrigerator. If my husband is in the kitchen, we are bumping into each other. I don’t think you have to have an island to have a large kitchen. Old style kitchens were wide open with a dining table in the center or nothing, just space.

    I have to say, you are the most ambitious person ever. I admire your hard work.

  7. Julie says

    I think it really depends on your lifestyle. My husband’s aunt and uncle have a big, sprawling open kitchen. Their home is on a lake and they entertain a lot. It is great that there is enough space for plenty of people to help in meal preparation. We have had as many as 5 cooks in there at a time and never felt like we were tripping over each other or in someone’s way.

    For myself, I just need enough space for my husband and I to cook together. And, we designed a space where everything was close enough that we could “age in place.” We are in our 50’s and this is our last house. When I am decrepit, I don’t want to have to walk 11 feet (that was how the kitchen originally worked – I am not kidding) to get an ingredient from the refrigerator and use it at the stove. I did away with a lot of the high cabinets because I am only 5′ tall and I don’t want to have to be climbing up on stools to put things away when I am elderly either. We planned corridors wide enough to allow walkers or wheelchairs… just in case that is in our future. But, no… we don’t sprawl.

  8. says

    Gosh…I have so many thoughts on this topic! :-) First of all, I think you’re right. There’s something to be said for a small kitchen or at least a small work area. Apparently, some designers have abandoned the “kitchen triangle” for “stations” (cleanup station, work station, etc.). While stations can be practical to some degree, as a hobbyist cook, I think it’s best to have your 3 main appliances close by.

    I’ve renovated a condo kitchen and we now have a house where I’d like to do the kitchen over when we have the money and honestly, I miss my condo kitchen. It was a galley kitchen (sink in the middle of one wall, stove in the middle of the other) but it was SO much more functional than my U-shaped kitchen now. For one, the galley style allows for lots of working counter space on both sides of the sink and stove. U-shaped kitchens usually lose a lot of actual working space to corners. The galley style also basically has the work triangle built right in.

    I don’t know why people get stuck on common beliefs and “musts” when laying out a room that they never question them. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s question everything and consider the functionality (yeah, that soapbox again). For example:

    – Upper Cabinets – I don’t see the value of having wall-to-wall uppers unless you’re short on space. Yet kitchen designers feel the need to stuff as many in as possible. They’re shallow in depth, which limits what you can put in them, and you can’t use the walls for decor, pot racks, open shelving, or windows. Given the choice between a bank of cabinets and some widows, I’d vote for the windows any day to make it brighter and improve the view while you’re standing there. My dream is to have a full corner of windows in my current kitchen someday…if it’ll work.

    – The sink must go under the window. I don’t get this rule. Honestly. Who stands there and washes sinkfulls of dishes anymore? Most of them go into the dishwasher. I spend more time in front of the stove or the chopping board, so that’s where I’d prefer something nice to look at (or a window to monitor kids in the backyard).

    – Pull-out garbage. I don’t know about you, but I’m messy when I cook and the last thing I want to be doing is pulling on drawer handles with chicken-coated hands to throw something away. I like either open trash cans, under-counter trash cans (with an open front), or foot-pedal operated ones. No spin covers.

    – Walk-in pantry instead of hoards of cabinets. If you have the space, this is the holy grail, IMHO. I’d give up nearly all my cabinets if I could have a room with wide open shelving to put everything from food to appliances to large pans and such. Same goes for bedrooms too. I’d gladly give up a dresser for a “dressing room” full of shelves instead of drawers.

    – Two Dishwashers. I know this sounds a bit nuts, but I spotted it in Ina Garten’s kitchen on TV and it’s brilliant. If you have more than 2 people in the house, generally you have some spot on the counter or in the sink that’s filling up with dirty dishes while your dishwasher is running or waiting to be emptied. If you entertain at all, you usually have too many dishes and pans for one load. Two dishwashers is a great solution to this since one can be ready to fill while the other is running or waiting to be emptied. And dishwashers are relatively cheap as appliances go.

    I could obviously go on and on with these, but you get the point. :-)

    • Brad W. says

      You hit the nail on the head with so many things. When you mentioned two dishwashers it reminded me of wanting to have two wall mounted ovens for all the cooking I do for family and friends.

    • Kendi says

      Wouldn’t under counter garbage be just as much work to get to as pull out garbage? If you’re going to be cutting up meat, you just pull out the trash can first and leave it out until you’re all done… Anyway, it’s funny that you say you don’t use upper cabinets because that’s practically ALL I use. Not so much the very top shelf (I’m tall so I do use the top shelf, but not for everyday stuff), but I absolutely hate having to crouch way down and wrestle with things stacked up in the backs of lower cabinets. Lower cabinets should mostly consist of drawers in my opinion =/ That extra depth is good for storing things you don’t use often, but I typically want all my everyday dishes within the front 12-15 inches.

  9. Martha says

    I want half and half. My kitchen is just like the second last picture, pretty small and very functional. I love it for the same reasons you describe – only a couple of steps between my fridge, sink, stove and working island. What I would change if I could is to have more storage cabinets for larger items (which you will have in your wall o’cabinets) a larger countertop on my island because I like to spread out when I’m baking (which you will have with your final island design) and more space for people to hang out because we all know everyone gathers in the kitchen (which you will have in your adjoining breakfast room.) I love looking at pictures of kitchens with cozy seating areas – so welcoming. (http://jeneration-interiors.designshuffle.com/hollywood-hills-7344-7078/t2/photo-59480-1900.jpg)

  10. Brad W. says

    My wife and I have an average sized kitchen = not small but not sprawling. Now that our kids are in their 20’s, they are there with their college friends, one just got married and is with her spouse, our kitchen just seems too small as it has evolved into the universal gathering place in the house. We like to cook and we’d like more space to do it.

  11. angela says

    so people might say that we have a big kitchen but when my mom,dad and i are in it at one time it fells small. so i love BIG kitchens.

  12. rebecksterw says

    We are renovating our kitchen this summer. essentially we are creating an L-shape kitchen to keep the triangle as in tact as possible and then adding a big island. I don`t think it will get in the way, but I love the idea of having that space for entertaining with a buffet or for doing large art projects with the kids…wrapping at Christmas?
    I don’t like it when people put the sink in the island though, I feel like it takes away from the big space you have.
    oh i should mention that our kitchen is probably about a 10×10 so not big at all

  13. Sheila F says

    I am a Mom to 4. (now grown). All of my kitchens have been on the small side, but with a PANTRY! I will never have a home without a closet sized (or greater!) pantry. My current home has no kitchen to speak of. There is a gas line run to the stove and a plug for the refrigerator. The sink is in the butlers pantry with beautiful walnut built-ins. There is also a half-bath sized pantry. I chose to buy a Hoosier and other antique stand alone cabinetry. I find this works well for us. Even when cooking for a crowd. (well I would like to flip the sink into the main kitchen) I love to cook and especially bake. I find that most of my work and prep is done on the Hoosier (all of my spices and baking goods are kept in this cupboard.) I have it near the stove and the fridge is also in the triangle. I then have an old metal top kitchen table that works as my island. In my rental I have a compact kitchen (with a Pantry! LOL) and I just hosted a 3 day weekend with 6 guests. Worked well. I think it is all a matter of preference. I do not think I would like a sprawling kitchen. I like to be able to grab and toss. But no matter the size of the kitchen it is what comes out of it that matters. LOL

  14. Margene Kiefer says

    In a perfect world, just the right size, just the right amount of counter space and just the right amount of storage plus a design that would accommodate any cooking project, and perfect lighting would be my fantasy, but being we don’t live in a perfect world…. I have a nice sized kitchen that isn’t designed very well. Hence, I don’t like cooking in it very much. I had a tea leaf reading once and it said I do something where I walk in circles a lot. I laughed because in my kitchen I walk in circles. The gal who designed my kitchen had a great idea with what she called a ‘baking closet’. Counter space and a place to put all the baking items one would need except water. So I have to traipse clear across the kitchen with egged up hands to wash or get water for a recipe and back again. Everyone who sees my kitchen for the first time says what a wonderful idea. Ya right. No water…I reply. I would say any kitchen regardless of the size would be ‘perfect’ if designed perfectly. If we could wiggle our noses and poof a kitchen would appear and we could work in it for say a month, then choose a different configuration, now that would be grand. Oh and…if we had limitless monies. But, there is no perfect kitchen or perfect anything so what we have is it… Think hard, Kristi, on design.

  15. says

    I’ve had the same thought processes as you about the small vs. large kitchens and their actual usability. Our house is about 1200 ft^2 and we have a small U shaped kitchen similar to many of your inspiration photos in this post. I love its functionality. Sink, stove, and fridge are on different arms of the U, so it is a cinch to work in. My favorite feature is a huge built in butcher block/cutting board right next to the stove, so I can spread out my prep work and just throw stuff in the waiting cookpots without even moving. The two things I would change are to make the arms of the U a little wider apart since it feels crowded if another person is in the space, and this one is strange but I hate facing the back wall as I prep and cook at the stove I want to face out and see what my husband and kids are doing while I work. I hope we get a chance to change that down the road.

  16. Susan B. says

    First — you have done all that work since August? I am terribly impressed. I was still at the paint color picking at that age.

    I have had both small and large (no island) kitchens. I like well laid out kitchens the most, with storage, lots and lots of storage. My pet peeve is 9′ ceilings and 30″ cabinets, I am not going to display or dust anything up there so cabinets are better. Our current house has a kitchen that looks big, but the layout is so bad, and the cabinets so small that I have one work space that is 18″ wide and no pantry. All food fits in 2 lower 18″ cabinets and one 18″ upper. That is a huge change from a pantry that was 24X24X72, and I have two teenage boys. They require a lot of food. Redoing the kitchen isn’t an option since the cabinets the previous owners installed are custom and super nice with slide out drawers. Plus my hub may explode if I changed the one thing that was new in the house when we bought it.

  17. Bethany P says

    I’ve had a small kitchen for about 7 years and just moved into our dream home about 2 years ago with a much BIGGER kitchen and I am in LOVE. I love to cook and bake so I am in the kitchen EVERYDAY. Plus when family comes over they always come in my kitchen to hang out. It just works for us. :)

    • LynW says

      I agree, Bethany – I *LOVE* my large kitchen. I had a galley kitchen in my first apartment, then moved up to a tiny condo kitchen when I was first married, through a series of only slightly larger U-shaped apartment/house kitchens when the kids were young. My three boys were just coming into their teenage years when we moved into this house, and one of my checklist items was a bigger kitchen – and I am so glad I got it! It’s still one of my favorite things about this house. I don’t know that I’d ever want to go back to a smaller kitchen (although I do like a few of the photos you posted above… maybe if the room felt open and light…).

      But back to *my* kitchen. Coming into the kitchen from the dining room, the doorway is at the corner of the room and the fridge to the right (along the end wall). There’s a short counter that turns a corner (where we have the coffee-prep area permanently stationed!), then a little more counter space and you get to the stove. Generous counter space between the stove and the sink. The sink sits in the corner, at an angle, with windows on both sides of the corner-wall, and looks out over the backyard. Turn to the left, and there’s the dishwasher, basically opposite the refrigerator. There’s a large island in the center of the room that has plenty of storage, and gives me a wonderful 3’x4′ workspace that I absolutely love. (Oh, and Christi – I don’t even notice the distance from the fridge to the sink, and I’m not really having to go around the island – just from one end to the other – and it isn’t a problem in the slightest. The island is often a landing place for things coming out of the fridge, anyway.)

      On the opposite wall, the pantry (about 3’x’5′ – not big enough!) is right there by the doorway to the dining room (where this tour began, lol!), with a short counter next to it where the microwave sits along with a collection of cookbooks, etc.. That wall is shorter, and the whole far corner of the kitchen is open to a small eating bay with big windows & the back door, and the family room. Upper cabinets all the way around the room, with food and prep stuff stored on the stove side, and dishes/glasses stored on the pantry side; a combination of cupboards and drawers in the lower cabinets (I’d never had huge lower cabinet drawers before and have become a fan!). The garbage can and a couple of stools tuck under an overhang on the far side of the island, which keeps them out of the way when not needed, but right there if someone wants to grab a quick breakfast or just sit and chat with whoever’s cooking or doing the dishes. Can I say again that I *love* my island!!

      The builders didn’t skimp on space in the room – there’s about three feet of walkway around the island on all sides, and even when the whole family (and a few friends) are in there, it doesn’t feel crowded. We’ve often had four or five cooks in the room all working and laughing together. The kitchen isn’t so big that I’d ever call it “sprawling” – it’s only 12×15 – but it’s definitely large enough to be one of our main gathering places in the house.

  18. Gloria S. says

    I’ve had very small kitchens, until we moved into my old house where I grewup, then I have the big country kitchen with windows on two sides, cabinets galore, even my washer and dryer! It holds a lot of people and love!

  19. Racheal says

    I have a decent sized kitchen with an island and I love our island. The kids can do homework while I cook and I’m easily able to oversee them. It’s great for holiday baking since my actual countertops seem to be interrupted by so many things the big flat space is fabulous. Our kitchen is fairly large and I store most of our dishes in the island which is located close to our dishwasher, so I love that our island brings most of the storage for commonly used dishes so close to the dishwasher. In the original arrangement I had to walk all the way across the kitchen to store plates and what not. Of course, I’m probably biased because I’ve completely redone my kitchen myself. I rearranged the layout, built all of the cabinets etc. so it is exactly what I wanted. The original kitchen did have an octagon shaped island with a cabinet above it and I hated that thing. I’m tall and would hit my head whenever I tried to use the island surface while standing. We have a huge family so when we have them over our large kitchen is a must so I wouldn’t trade it, luckily the island makes the actual work area smaller and functional so I feel I get the best of both worlds- a big kitchen I can entertain in with a great layout that makes cooking alone feel less like a trip to the gym. I think it’s more about how a space is used than the size in general!

  20. Susan Tofteland says

    I don’t cook much either. I have a mid size kitchen. I love it. It is u shaped, and one side is open. That side has cabinets underneath and a wider overhanging counter on top. We love it! We do have two lower stools with backs where we sit for projects sometimes. That big counter is the best! We use it for lots of things having nothing to do with cooking: sewing, craft projects, etc…there is so much to do on this counter! It is granite, so we just cover it when we need to use it for potentially messy projects. It’s open to an eating area and “great room” type living room. So, it the the best of both worlds. Small enough to be effecient, but adjacent areas open it up to guests…good luck!

  21. Jean says

    I much prefer a small, efficient kitchen, too. Like you, I’m not fond of cooking (or cleaning up the mess that cooking makes!), but my husband likes to eat so I do it. :) My present kitchen is just under 90 square feet, but every each is used and organized, and I have no storage issues, everything fits well. BTW my refrig has been in the corner in my last two houses and has not been a problem for me, either. I loved your condo and can’t wait to see this kitchen finished. Loved your painted floor.

  22. Josephine says

    Having lived in NYC for several years in my twenties, I have experienced the tiniest of kitchens. I am comfortable in a medium sized kitchen, if there is enough storage, and if I also have a pantry. My fiancé and I do both cook, and we grow our own food and can, freeze and dehydrate the harvest to last the winter. So we really need a REAL pantry. My dream home would have a good sized kitchen, with a formal dining room, a food storage pantry and a butler’s pantry. I know dream on right? A good friend of mine in Boston (in an area that people who don’t know better think is the slums) has an old mansion with all of the above, plus a 3rd floor servant’s quarters and 7 fireplaces! Because of the misinformation about the area I bet she paid next to nothing for it.

  23. Rose L says

    I like a kitchen with around 110-120 sq.ft. but would love to have a nice walk in pantry to go along with that. I require lots of storage because I love to cook from scratch and I do a lot of baking and canning so a very small kitchen is out of the question because they lack storage. The kitchen I have now is great, a lot more sq footage but in reality 1/3 of it is take up by the laundry area and a vestibule at the back door. There is no pantry and will never be one, but I’m getting by with a few free standing cabinets and cupboards until my remodel happens in another FOUR years!

  24. Naomi Williams says

    Remember the movie The Shining? (Jack Nicholson version.) It stunk, but I remember the scene near the beginning where Shelley Duvall is getting a tour of the kitchen that she’ll be using, with multiple ovens, work areas, and a huge, walk-in refrigerator and freezer. I was drooling over that scene.

  25. Mary says

    I like a smaller kitchen that can be closed off. When we moved into the house we now live in people were surprised that I did not want to remove the wall between the back hall and the kitchen which would have nearly doubled the space. Nope, I want to use that area for a pantry, and if I took out the wall, that would reduce the pantry size. More importantly, I have doors that I can close to keep animals out, and I like to close off the kitchen when we are having guests for dinner. To me, there is nothing worse than an open kitchen where the guests can see the dirty dishes from making dinner. What are you supposed to do? Serve dinner and look at the mess, or clean up and serve cold food? Neither appeals at all.

  26. Sylvia says

    I live in an RV year round. This is the second RV we have lived in… The first one had a horrible layout with everything except the kitchen, which had room for my partner and I to cook together comfortably. This one, where we have been for just over two years, is exactly opposite. The rest of the house is a good layout, the kitchen is horrible. I have no counter space, and most of our kitchen stuff is in storage, with just the stuff we need on a daily basis being inside.
    He is a truck driver, and makes it home about once a month. During his home time, we enjoy going to his parents house and cooking Sunday dinner for them. They have a really nice kitchen, and compared to ours, it’s HUGE. It’s actually only about 10 X 12, though. We REALLY enjoy all the counter space and having room for both of us in there.
    We are planning, within the next couple of years, to move. Most double-wide mobile homes have decent layouts in the kitchens, and some of the smaller single wides do as well. I am in my 50’s, we won’t need to worry about kids coming along, so why buy more house than we need? I liked the comment above from the 50 something who said they were planning to age in place, that’s exactly what we have been talking about.
    I like the LOOKS of the large kitchens, but my sister has a huge kitchen, and I hate cooking in it. And with all the money you spend, I think it’s a waste. I am more in favor of smaller kitchens.

  27. Mary says

    I agree with Julie that it boils down to lifestyle. If you entertain a lot, the kitchen ALWAYS seems to be where everyone congregates….we moved a year ago and our old house had a fairly standard sized U-shaped kitchen that was perfectly fine for our family but when people were over, there was just never enough room and it drove me crazy. No matter how much we’d try to herd them to other areas, they would always gather either in or around the kitchen. When we found our current house, it had this gorgeous gourmet kitchen that we absolutely fell in love with but after actually living in the space, I have to admit walking around an 8 ft island to get from stove to sink is not the most ideal set-up, esp when I’m cooking pasta and go to strain it! I’ve never cared for a sink in the island and always wondered why people did that when there was the main sink just a few feet away but now I totally get it! But even with that annoyance, I’d still go for the large kitchen because when we have people here, there is more than enough space and no one is tripping over each other. There are trade-offs to everything in life I suppose! :-)

  28. designdreamer says

    I have a HUGE kitchen, and I love it!!! I also have/had 4 children (the youngest will be soon me 18, sob) and I do/did a LOT of cooking. I’m actually pretty spoiled with my situation. Large eat-in breakfast nook (that seats 6 comfortably) as well as a large dining room. I have an island AND a peninsula (with a higher bar height counter – that I meant to tell you I’ve been thinking about lowering) . My cooktop is on the island, with the fridge on one side of it, and the sink on the other. Sometimes, YES the island kinda gets in the way, but it doesn’t bother me enough that I’ve considered (re)moving it.

  29. karen says

    I have had both large and small kitchens; I really think it basically comes down to how efficient they are. That is really what is important to me, so I would say either one as long as there is good use of space.

  30. Janae says

    I feel like the layout is so much more important then the size. I have had BIG kitchens, tiny kitchens, and now an in between kitchen. My favorite was the BIG one but not because of the size but the layout. It was sink and range on one side, fridge directly opposite. I had several empty cabinets I never used in that one. My current kitchen is a great size but is more of an L layout which bothers me a little. Just not as functional as I would like.

    Great job so far. I love your condo cabinets!

  31. Marcia says

    My kitchen is not big and not small; not galley, no island. Cabinets and sink on two walls, refrig on third wall and a separate pantry. I don’t cook much and this is plenty big for my needs. Don’t reinvent the wheel. You’ve done such a beautiful job so far. and the layout you already have is very workable. You’ll have beautiful green cabinets, a cool painted wood floor and it will be OUTSTANDING!! As for me, I’m envious in advance of what you are going to do!!

  32. Loxie says

    I agree – a small kitchen can be very efficient. My kitchen is 13′ x 11′ – the perfect size for me. It’s a “U” shape – cabinets/counter and sink along 13′ wall, refrig and cabinets to the left, and stove and cabinets to the right. There is plenty of open space for more than one cook, and room for others to walk through without getting in the way. We have a fairly large family and it’s worked well for us. It’s also my favorite kitchen in all of the homes we’ve lived/redone.

  33. vi says

    i would just LIKE a real kitchen, what i got is a mess and a nightmare and doesn’t even have counters.
    i cook from scratch, i bake, can, dehydrate, and freeze food
    so while there are only two of us most of the time, i cook big and put things away in season.
    for me i would like a slightly larger then 140sqft kitchen but i would really like a HUGE pantry
    and my dream is soapstone counters

  34. Becky Butler says

    I’ve always had a nice size kitchen. It got a little crowded when we had parties or holidays. After 32 years, we bought a new house with a much bigger kitchen and an island. I walking myself to death in it. When I’m at the stove and I need water, I have to walk around the island. My cutlery is in a drawer by the dishwasher, so my I can’t reach it from where I’m cooking. Now that I’ve done this a few months….I say to myself…how many parties do we really have?…and Christmas and Thanksgiving only come once a year. I think if I was starting over, I would still want counter space, but not a big kitchen.

  35. whimary says

    can hardly wait for the concrete counters. i want to pour some in my kitchen too. waiting to see how yours turns out!

  36. C.B. McDuff says

    When we were looking for a new home after the hubby retired and we moved out of state – my ONE thing was a “bigger” kitchen. Not Sprawling but Not tiny and definitely not a galley kitchen –

    On my wish list were the following things
    1. I knew without a doubt that I wanted an island.
    2. A walk in Pantry
    3. A double wall oven (I bake a LOT) – and have a back disability – so a wall oven was NEEDED for saving my body!
    4. As much counter space as I could get!
    5. A Gas fed Stove – not electric

    When we moved into our new house, the kitchen has an eat in counter area, a full cabinet area with a desk/office type area, and a bay window to allow for a smaller kitchen table set up. This desk/office area collects junk beyond imagination. We didn’t get the walk in pantry – but I got a full laundry room, so that made up for the loss. I got my Double Oven!!! Man ‘O Man do I ADORE this set up!!! Everything that was on my wish list, (except for the pantry & the Island), was there,,,Although I could not add a pantry, I did step out the dimensions when we looked at the house and knew that an Island could be added. As a matter of fact, the first thing that I ordered from Amazon, was my island!
    The Island is probably my favorite item about the kitchen – I love knowing that all I have to do is turn to place food onto it from the fridge,,,,as it gets prepared, it goes to the stove. When I bake, I prepare on the island, (I especially love my granite as I can roll out dough and such, right onto them). After baking, the hot pans go right to the island. The island ONLY is allowed to hold my knives – NOTHING else gets placed onto it. Following this rule, keeps it from hoarding items that are unwanted. If I could change something – I’d bang out the desk area and turn it into ALL pantry space! As for me, a nice “Medium Sized Kitchen” works perfectly!! Especially since it’s only my hubby and I – in our “forever home”.

    • LynW says

      C.B. – I think the short counter where we have the microwave and my cookbooks was intended (by the builder) to be one of those “kitchen desks.” I’m so glad the original owners of the house realized just how silly that was, and put great storage drawers in the base and cupboards above it. The only “desk-like” feature to it now is the charging station for cell phones & such that I put at the far end, near the entry to the family room.

      Maybe you could convert your “kitchen desk” into a more useful part of your kitchen somehow?

  37. Sue says

    My first kitchen was a huge farmhouse kitchen that was totally inefficient. It was a big sqaure room but it had two huge windows and 5 (yes 5) doors in it. We had a small bank of cupboards and appliances in 1 corner and our table was in front of the windows. We squeezed 7 people at that table every day and I cooked in it for 20+ years. Ugh.

    My current kitchen needs updating but I like it. It’s a galley kitchen with an eat-in dining area at the end of it. It’s medium sized but set up efficiently. I have plenty of cupboards and an easy work triangle. My kitchen sink has a window over it that overlooks our backyard with bird feeders and our garden.

    While the huge kitchens look great with the islands I don’t like to clean that much and kitchens require a LOT of cleaning so I prefer smallish and efficient to large. : )

  38. Mary Anne Looby says

    Hi all, first and foremost, I don’t think a kitchen size really matters to someone who loves to cook. I have had small kitchens and I guess some would consider my current kitchen large. I don’t really think about it , except when it is time to wash the floor, then it doesseem big! Ido have a large island, but I don’t walk around it per se. I have my fridge on one wall, my cooktop on another and my sink is inthe middle in the island. If I stand at my sink my DW is on my left, with drawers and cabinets on the right. I can turn right around and unload the DW into the cabinets on the wall behind me or to the drawers and cabinets below the back countertop. Between the back countertop and the connecting wall with the cooktop is a custom cabinet with a space for the microwave and a built in 30 ” (full size oven) below the microwave. This cabinet is angled. Additionally on the back wall of cabinets, there is another 30″wall oven under the counter. My cooktop is 4 burners and a grill which can be converted into two burners when needed. If I am cooking or baking i can reach everything by just putting things on the island. No need to walk around, get the stull and come back with it. It sounds confusing but if you saw it you would get what I am trying to explain. Antway, i don’t think size matters, ax long as you have enough storage space, and one continuous section of counter top to work on. I love my kitchen the way it is, but that is because I set it up to work for me. The biggest problem most women have, is having tok much stuff. If you have 4 good friends, does everyone reallyneed to have 2 or more oversized serving platters? What happened to god old fashion saring? I have a friend I do it with. It is rare that we would both neec something on the same date. We were at at outlet store 20 some years ago. They had the prettiest plain white bone china plates for .50 a piece. We each bought 25. The plates go back and forth at least once a year. Parties,showers, christenings and if we need more than 50, I now only use whie dishes so we stick some of mine at the bottom of the stacks and no notices that they are different. For me sizedoesn’tmatter, it is the way you utilize the space and I think you’ve got it covered, Kristi. Blessings all~

  39. margaret says

    In the past I had a U shaped kitchen which was efficient unless three people were in it at the same time. Now according to my cousin I have a “5 butt kitchen”. I love it! We live on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley in Oregon. One wall in the kitchen is all windows. We enjoy the view, birds and squirrels every morning while eating at our center island. Our stove top in in the island which makes it great to cook and serve people. The kitchen also has a good sized pantry. The only change I made to it was to have all the lower kitchen cupboards made into pull outs drawers. Now I don’t have to get down on the floor to pull out all the canned goods to see if I have something. The kitchen is open to the family room, separated by another bar. These two bars function well for setting out a food buffet when having lots of people over.

  40. Krikit says

    OK… after reading what other people consider a “galley” sized kitchen, I need to re-state. I have a coat-closet sized kitchen: 52″L x 23″W. :D

  41. Genelle McDaniel says

    My small kitchen is very efficient, except there is no counter space or storage. I also have to use what precious little counter space I have to set my toaster, mixer, George Foreman grill, and Foodsaver, which I use daily. I would never want a large kitchen where you walk yourself to death. All I need is a couple of feet of open counter, and a walk in pantry for storage. I’ve searched for a place to build a pantry, but it just doesn’t exist. I love the way your kitchen is arranged, and I envy the large bank of cabinets on the end wall. Lots of storage without it interfering with the work flow.

  42. Dennis says

    I have built and designed many kitchens through the years. Hands down the best kitchens, the ones my customers loved the most and delivered maximum return on investment, were smaller, not larger. I am the primary cook in my house and I am happy with my 160 sq ft kitchen. After 14 years I still receive compliments on it. The only thing I would add is a large pantry. Unfortunately that function had to be housed in a cabinet in the garage (two steps from the kitchen).

    I have designed and built large kitchens, I have sold high end appliance packages well over $30,000 a pop not to mention the $70,000 in cabinets. But in my kitchen i just have medium and low end appliances with Ikea cabinetry and it works and looks just fine.

    I was watching some kitchen remodeling show a couple years ago. They showed a professional chef’s condo and the new kitchen he put in for himself. His new kitchen was absolutely tiny but perfectly designed to his specs and tastes. This man could easily whip up a feast for 30 people in a kitchen that would almost fit in an RV. So whenever I see those 600 sq foot monsters in the mags or on TV I chuckle thinking of the incredible food that man produces in his tiny condo kitchen.

    By the way, how often do you see anyone actually cooking in those huge kitchens on TV? Also, look at the kitchens on the cooking shows, they aren’t all that big. And remember that they need to fit two or more people in there all the time and leave room for camera angles, lighting and sound.

    So if you’re thinking or planning your own kitchen my advice is to just relax, think about how you like to work in your cooking workshop. Save your feet and your time and your money. Get the layout right, pay for top quality installation and get the appliances that will give you good value for the way you cook.You will be so happy and you might even find you like cooking,,,,,at least occasionally.

    Dennis

  43. says

    Call me crazy, but I love the idea of efficiency. To me, the more you can get done in less space is dreamy. Also, the less items you need to get the same thing done is beauty to me. I hear angelic choirs singing as I picture small, efficient spaces in my mind. Ah. :)

  44. says

    I love a big kitchen!! My husband was a chef in the Coast Guard and we both really enjoy cooking together. It’s not unusual for our kids to come in and hang out while we’re preparing a weekend meal. It truly is the heart of our home. Now that being said, our present kitchen, while large and spacious, was also poorly planned. We’re getting ready to do a re-do in another year or two and make it a better working kitchen. I think that’s the key, big or small, it has to be functional to your needs. I had a galley kitchen in our first home that I loved because of the miles of counter tops and cabinets, but I hear people complain they feel closed in. Everyone’s needs are different :)

  45. Kathy Jo Buzzard says

    My kitchen is an apartment size galley, very similar to your condo kitchen. There is a tiny 3-cabinet pantry that I use to store food. Unfortunately, there is no room for any storage other than dishes. No room for bakeware or appliances. I hate a cluttered countertop. So my husband installed 4 pantry cabinets in the garage. Basically tall bookcases with doors. They hold everything but I have to go to the other side of the house and out into the garage before most meals to gather the supplies and gadgets I need. I do love to cook. For years I grumbled about the inconvenience until I started watching the Pioneer Woman show. Her pantry is pretty far from her prep space; so I just pretend I have a big fancy pantry like hers and remember to be grateful for what God’s given me. I love your blog.

  46. Barbara @DIY Home Staging Tips says

    Give me a smaller kitchen any day. But with a large pantry. Cooking in a small kitchen is like a ballet. Cooking in a large kitchen is a bunch of wasted steps.

  47. Mae says

    This is our last house so we made a kitchen that we would enjoy. We remodeled our kitchen 6 years ago. It was a tiny L shaped and had a poorly design island that was 2 levels. We now have a 300sf kitchen (20×15) and love it. Both my husband and I love to cook, bake, and canning.

    When we were planning the kitchen we wrote down everything we thought we would like. 2 dishwashers are great and both are always in use, we put in a gas 6 burner, griddle and indoor grill Bluestar stove, it has 2 commercial size ovens That was the best investment. We also have a commercial fridge, 24 cubic feet on both sides and it cost close to what a really nice side by side would, however, they don’t have icemakers in them so we bought an under the counter one. In the island (6×8) we added a small prep sink which gets almost the same amount of use that our main one gets. Also a warming / proofing drawer that is across from the stove, a trash compacter and small drink fidge and a whole lot of storage. Also, a pot filler over the stove, which is very handy for filling big pots when canning.

    We did all the work ourselves and shopped around for all the appliances, reused the existing cabinets and made the others to match.We entertain quite abit and the kitchen is where everyone gathers so we have 4 1/2 feet between the island and the perimeter cabinets, stove and fridge. So when everyone is in the kitchen it doesn’t feel tight. The kitchen also is open to the family room, which makes for good circulation. We waited a long time for our dream kitchen and we enjoy it everyday. :-)

  48. Jaybird says

    Well, I have a galley sort kitchen…not too bad, not too good. It’s all white and pretty blah, but I do have an assortment of “good stuph” in it, so it isn’t too boring. It IS handy to nearly be able to reach from the stove to the sink and fridge, and I do have a nice breakfast nook with a big window. I do NOT have a pantry, and there-in lies the problem.
    I also have a sweet hubby who likes to “help” sometimes, and things get a little tense upon occasion :^)
    So…I said all that to say…..small kitchen, large pantry…yes!!
    Blessings,
    J

  49. Chris says

    My small kitchen would have the PERFECT working triangle. If I’d, after 7 years, get off my butt and switch the orientation of the fridge door so it opened opposite how it currently does. Grew up with a small kitchen, also, along with then living in an apartment. So, needlesstosay, I can use a small kitchen. I like a small kitchen. But I would love my current kitchen to be just a tiny bit wider.

  50. Laura says

    Huge doesn’t mean usable. I have a large kitchen – and it’s almost completely unusable. Yes, we have lots of space to walk around. But walking around doesn’t a meal make. I would trade 3/4 of my space for a better design.

  51. says

    Hi, first, I don’t think a kitchen size really matters to someone who loves to cook. I agree – a small kitchen can be very efficient. I much prefer a small, efficient kitchen. You will have beautiful green cabinets, a cool painted wood floor and it will be OUTSTANDING! I love your condo cabinets and painted floor. Great gob

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