It’s no secret I am lusting after a new kitchen. The kitchen we have is horrible – dysfunctional AND super ugly. It is a tiny galley style kitchen, with exactly 90cm between each bench. If there is more than one person in there, it becomes claustrophobic. The storage is not very well thought out and there is not enough room for our stuff, so it ends up piled on top of cupboards and takes up valuable space on the benches. We don’t have a stuff problem, we have a storage problem!

I wasn’t joking when I said the kitchen is ugly! The cupboard doors are a really unattractive green laminate, the bench is a darker flocked green laminate that is indestructible (except where we cut the edges off to bring the stove in). The tiles on the splash back are an absolute eyesore. To make matters worse, we live in a very busy street that produces a lot of dust, and without a working range hood, the dust becomes a sticky grime that coats every surface. Have I made you depressed? Are you wishing I had a new kitchen too? Good, I need all the new kitchen vibes I can get!

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I adore looking at new kitchens and if my kitchen dreams came true, I’d be enjoying a kitchen just like one of these. As nice as these are, I have to live with reality and deal with what I’ve got. I can’t get rid of any walls and there is no room to expand the space anyway.

Let’s explore what we need to fit into this tiny space, shall we?


  • A large pantry with storage shelves built into the doors, large drawers for tea towels and other linen, smaller drawers with lots of compartments for different sets of cutlery (don’t ask) as well as all the other weird kitchen things I need. Perhaps a bench space in the pantry? Maybe a pull out pantry? I dream of a walk in pantry, with lots of shelves…
  • Large drawers for saucepans. I like the idea of a pot rack to hang things off, but fear that the pots will get too dusty if they are stored in that way.
  • I don’t need a full on cleaning cupboard, but I would like a drawer under the sink for cleaning products, dusters and so on.
  • Drawers with dividers for baking trays and muffin trays, cheeseboards, chopping boards, and large serving platters.
  • Storage for wine (Hahahahah, wine is stored in my glass!) and cookbooks. Seriously, I don’t need a wine fridge!
  • Top shelves must go ALL THE WAY TO THE CEILING! I cannot stress this enough. I know I need a ladder to get up there, but there are some things (i.e. the punchbowl, heirloom silverware, clearly NOT the wine) that I need to store but don’t need every day, or even every year. Knowing they are safe, and not cluttering up the top of the cupboards collecting dust, is actually very important to me!
  • Appliance storage. Not just the toaster and the jaffle maker, but the food processor, the slow cooker, the pasta maker, the juicer, the mixer, the coffee maker we never use, etc. Most of these are used regularly so they need to be accessible.
  • Somewhere integrated for the microwave to go. It’s used all the time, so I’d prefer it wasn’t in a cupboard but I don’t want it taking up room on the bench.
  • A hygienic, hidden solution for the rubbish bin and the recycling.
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You can see I have a lot to fit into a smallish space. Kitchen Design is going to be super important. I adore kitchen islands, but it’s just never going to happen in this house. There isn’t even room for a chopping block on wheels!

The tiny, ugly kitchen has some good things going for it, so let’s celebrate those, shall we?

  • The hardwood floors are lovely. I would like to have a nice rug in front of the sink, but I’m concerned it would get very dirty very quickly.
  • There is a very large window giving excellent light during the day. The window is old and ugly, but it certainly brightens the room and has a great view of the back garden. I would like an extra wide window sill to sit some herbs on and have been thinking of turning it into a bay window, which would give the illusion of extra space. We will need some kind of window treatment as well; privacy isn’t an issue but the sun glaring through in the morning does give the impression of an alien invasion, such is its blinding light. 
  • The appliances are fairly new, they were bought and installed in the last few years so do not need replacing. We have a new range hood ready to be installed as soon as we remove the shelves blocking the way.

OK, that’s it for good points! Back to the wish list! Of course there are other things we need to think about besides storage.

  • Lighting. Our current lighting needs are not being met by a desk lamp on top of the cupboards and a boob light. Although the room is small with a tight fridge-stove-sink triangle, we still need some task lighting that will also light up the bench. Perhaps a combination of down lights and a multidirectional ceiling light would do the trick?
  • Our current bench tops are surprisingly resilient, and capable of any punishment I dish out to them; but…you guessed it! Ugly. Originally we thought about stainless steel bench tops but are now thinking of mixing it up a bit and having one butchers block bench, and one stainless steel. Juries out. 
  • Splash Back. The current tiles are dated and the grout is just hideous. We have decided on white gloss subway tiles. I know they are so 3 years ago, that’s how long we’ve been talking about the kitchen remodel! I love them, but I’m thinking of going with grey grout rather than white. It is easier to keep clean and I’ve grown to like the look. The splash back section behind the stove will be stainless steel up to the range hood. Shut up! I like industrial!
  • The stainless steel section behind the stove will have a small shelf and bar to hang things from. Not ALLLLLL the things, just a few select things I use a lot. 
  • The bottom cupboards and drawer fronts will be traditional in a very dark grey, with hardware in a nickel finish. I don’t mind flat packs and to be honest, we will probably keep the majority of the cupboards and just change the doors. We tried painting the lower green doors white and while we haven’t been very happy with the finish, it’s also highlighted to us exactly how dirty white can look in a small, well used kitchen. The top cupboards are less man handled, and will be either white or have frosted glass fronts – probably a mixture of both.
  • A Control Centre. This will need a magnetic white board, a place for recharging devices, a key hook, and storage for homework folders and so on. I’d prefer not to have a blackboard, we used to have a smallish one on the wall and the floor was constantly covered in chalk dust.
  • Art. Yes, ART in my kitchen. Maybe a quirky print, an op shop find or a framed tea towel. I spend a lot of time in this tiny room, and it needs to be beautiful as well as functional.
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So many things to think about! What would you do with this tiny, ugly kitchen? (Don’t say detonate!) Should we bring in some professionals or tackle it ourselves? Have you renovated a kitchen before? We’d love it if you could share some advice or inspire us with your success stories.

This is a sponsored post, bought to you by The Kitchen Place, one of Melbourne’s most experienced kitchen designers and kitchen renovation experts. As usual, all words and ideas are my own. If I lived in Melbourne, I would totally get onto them to create our dream custom kitchen.

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12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Kitchen Design

  • 06/03/2014 at 2:27 AM

    I am actually kind of shocked that the abundant, amazing looking food that you so constantly produce is coming out of that space. My god woman you're a miracle worker! I do love a good kitchen, my new place has a bloody fantastic one. I hope you get the kitchen you need, you spend so much time in there providing delicious things for your family you really deserve it!

    • 06/04/2014 at 5:21 AM

      Oh, Sheri your comment made me cry! You are so right, I DO deserve a new kitchen!

  • 06/03/2014 at 12:30 PM

    I would absolutely knock out some walls and put that kitchen in the last collage, top right image in your place. Why not, you love to cook, go for it. 😉

    • 06/04/2014 at 5:22 AM

      Miss Suger, you've seen my house – if I knocked out a wall we would just have a kitchen and bedrooms! Hmm, maybe not such a bad idea…

  • 06/04/2014 at 8:51 PM

    Both my neighbours have Ikea kitchens I was surprised with all the great storage ideas they have. I just go to Ikea to dreammmmm about a new beautiful kitchen and a much better organised house. One of my neighbours has used a green glass splash back instead of tiles. It looks lovely but not sure if it's expensive though. Good luck I can't wait to see your new kitchen. Very exciting!

    • 06/06/2014 at 3:20 AM

      I love Ikea kitchens! Actually I love anything from Ikea, and I'm lucky they are quite a hike away from me – although one is scheduled to be built a 15 mins drive away in the next few years! I'm so excited about it. I love the kitchen planning tool they have, I might need to make use of that…I like that glass splash back, and you are able to write on it like a white board, which is nice.

  • 06/05/2014 at 3:32 AM

    Last year I finally got my dream kitchen. I found that the thing I find most useful now is a big pantry and large cupboard to easily fit the mixmaster and crockpot and things. We have a hidden bin, but actually it is really annoying because the bin gets used all of the time (with 5 kids!) so we have a free standing bin at the end of the island. At least that is how it works for me at the moment. #teamIBOT

    • 06/06/2014 at 3:22 AM

      You are right about the bin, we put it on the inside of the cupboard under the sink and it took everyone the longest time to get used to it. Before that we had a freestanding bin but it just seemed like the worst fung shoi, you know? Thanks for stopping by!

  • 06/05/2014 at 10:25 AM

    I would get a designer if you can afford it. That way I reckon you will get the most out of our space.
    I thought our kitchen needed work, but now I think it's wonderful! You're amazing to cope with that space!

    • 06/06/2014 at 3:23 AM

      Thanks Jess, I'll take that compliment and tell my husband! It is a hard space to deal with, especially for someone that loves cooking as much as I do.

  • 06/12/2014 at 2:40 AM

    I jazzed up our crumbly, manky tiled one a few months back. Just better storage and newer, cleaner space. Didn't have to do too much. The thing I love most is my pressed tin, powder coated splashback – to the ceiling – I love industrial too! Cost $160 including powder coating and is a whole wall. We have coloured glass at lake. Great but needs good glass cleaning. Ikea sounds the way to go for fresh, storage and budget. Best of luck sweets!

    • 06/17/2014 at 2:28 AM

      Your kitchen is gorgeous, I hope mine turns out half as nice!

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