One of the best parts of getting an ADU for your home is getting to design a whole new kitchen from scratch. It’s exciting to choose all of the fixtures, materials and features of a kitchen. But the downside is that ADU kitchens tend to be small to fit into their maximum 1200 square feet. Some homeowners get frustrated trying to add a kitchen they like with these space constraints. We have some tips for you to make it easier.

Cut the Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands are so ubiquitous in modern homes that we sometimes forget that they aren’t essentials. In a small kitchen, an island can take up too much room. If you don’t have three feet of clearance all the way around it, it will feel cramped. Ditch the island and get inspired with pictures of kitchens that don’t have islands. There are plenty of ways to make the kitchen look great and provide function without them.

Open Shelving

Cabinets add a lot of weight to the kitchen and are quite thick, which reduces the feeling of headspace in the room. Where you can, opt for some open shelving instead. They make the actual wall feel like the end of the space and not the front of the cabinet. Just be careful not to let the open shelving get too cluttered because that will make your space feel smaller too.

When you’re choosing open shelving instead of a whole cabinet, you can usually opt for more expensive materials. One great option is real wood with a live edge. It adds warmth and interest to a kitchen of any size.

Cabinet Features

You will have to have some cabinetry; kitchens all require some. You can use your cabinets strategically to hide away features which would otherwise stand alone or take up a lot of space. Some ideas on how to better use cabinets include:

  • Built-in garbage: Hide the garbage and the recycling in a drawer with custom-sized containers that pull out.
  • Lazy Susan: Fit more of the large pots and pans you need, and maybe even some countertop appliances, in a Lazy Susan. These are shelving additions that spin. They’re very popular for corners.
  • Spice organizers: Don’t leave your spices out on the counter. Get a built-in organizers.
  • Bottle storage: You may not have room for a cellar, but you do have room for a few bottles. Bottle storage, when left open, can also add interest to the space.

Colors and Patterns

When it comes to a small kitchen, the most basic rule is to choose bright over dark. A dark palette will make everything seem smaller. While you can choose whites and bright neutrals, and many do, there is nothing stopping you from choosing bright greens or baby blues. Be wary of adding too many patterns, though, as they can also make your space look busy.

The Extras

Some other good design tips for ADU kitchens include adding the little details that make a space feel bigger and more alive. Lots of natural light from windows, minimalist interior lights, mirrors and plants can all help.