Too little counter space has been the biggest annoyance in every kitchen of every apartment I've ever rented. They've all been either super small or awkwardly shaped, which means choosing between appliances and prep space. You either live with it or learn to adjust.
There are a lot of little things you can do to make it seem like you have more kitchen countertop space than you really do. Here are 5 of the best workarounds for maximizing the work surface in tiny kitchens.
A cutting board that fits across your sink instantly adds to your counter space and makes rinsing and draining produce much quicker. You can buy special cutting boards made to go over the sink, but if you have one that's wide enough, a regular cutting board works just as well.
Attach a fold-down shelf to the wall or the side of your fridge for extra prep space when you need it. It's simple to do and stays out of the way when you're not using it. Best thing about them is that they're relatively cheap for what they add to your kitchen, and fairly easy to install.
Gray countertop table image via Hammer Like a Girl
Finding a new home for appliances that live on your counters is a quick way to free up space. It may be a pain to take your toaster out of the cabinet every time you want to use it, but it's worth it to not be crowded when you're making dinner. Also, if you have a block of knives, consider storing them on magnetic wall strips instead.
Image via IKEA Hackers
A cutting board that pulls out from under your countertops gives you more prep space that's easy to hide when you're done with it. This is probably the toughest DIY option out of any of these, since it requires you installing it into one of your existing drawer slots or cutting a hole out in-between a drawer and the counter.
Image via Peter Bales
The DIY Network has instructions for installing one in an existing drawer.
If you're up for a project, cutting boards make great burner covers that double as extra prep space. For gas stoves with an always-on pilot, it's important that the cutting boards are elevated since the burners stay warm. You can buy boards with feet already attached, or add them to the ones you already have.
Check out the tutorial on The Kitchn to learn how to make your own.
Got another trick for adding counter space to a tiny kitchen? Let us know!
Want to master Microsoft Excel and take your work-from-home job prospects to the next level? Jump-start your career with our Premium A-to-Z Microsoft Excel Training Bundle from the new Gadget Hacks Shop and get lifetime access to more than 40 hours of Basic to Advanced instruction on functions, formula, tools, and more.