Small Space Solutions: Microwave and Hall Closet

Do you ever feel like some projects will never be finished?  I am starting to feel that way with our kitchen makeover.  I have been sharing my small space solutions for the kitchen with you as we have been doing them.  With two small children, I am finding it extremely difficult to make quick progress with anything.  We are chugging along though, and I am going to share a few projects with you that are in the process of being completed.

The first project we are working on involved moving the microwave from a shelf by the refrigerator to the cupboard above the oven.  You might remember from my last post that I put a row of coat hooks in the space beside the refrigerator, so the shelf with microwave had to find a new home.  My first thought for the microwave was to try to build it into the wall beside the fridge because there is a big pantry/closet space right behind that wall (which you can see in pictures at the end of this article).  We decided against this mostly because we aren’t totally in love with the microwave and don’t want to commit to having to find a replacement that is exactly the same size as the hole we would cut into the wall.  Since a new microwave isn’t in the budget for a long time, I needed to find a different solution.  After measuring to make sure the space was large enough, we decided to sacrifice the cupboard above the stove as the new home for our microwave.

My husband worried that it would be too tall for me to reach, but I actually like the new height, and it saves me from worrying that our button-happy 2 year old will play with the microwave.  We did have to place a board under the feet of the microwave because it extends out of the cupboard a bit.  We have plans to frame in the base to disguise the bottom of the microwave and to put the cookbooks on an even plane.  I am also going to paint the cupboards, so that will make everything blend a bit more seamlessly.  For now, I am loving that the top of the microwave doesn’t get piled with junk, and it is off of the counters and out of the way.

The second project involves repainting the walls.  When we moved in a year and a half ago, the kitchen walls were a (not) lovely shade of pinky beige.  I happily chose an avocado green color and quickly painted those flesh-toned walls.  After living with the green for over a year, it definitely feels a bit too dark for our teensy kitchen.  This past week I painted the ceiling with a fresh coat of crisp white, and I am planning to paint the walls a very light gray.  I am going to experiment with mixing a few colors of paint that I already have (you know I hate to waste things, and I love to save $$), so wish me luck!  After the walls are painted, I will be turning to those orangey colored wood cabinets with a can of sparkling white paint.  I am hoping all of the white and light colors will give the illusion of a bigger and more open space.  Because all of our large appliances are white, painting the cabinets white will keep them from visually chopping up the space.  I will definitely be writing more about this and will be sharing many more photos of the process and of the finished kitchen.

 Our third project deals with useable storage.  In the hallway between our kitchen and living room, we have a closet that I have been using as a pantry of sorts.  It is not just any ordinary closet, though.  It is above the basement stairs, so it has very large steps that go back quite a distance.

When we first moved in, I organized everything really nice and neatly.  About a month later, we had a big dinner that involved climbing clear back to dig out the ‘fancy’ dishes.  Then we just started tossing things in to get them out of the way.  The closet became one of those black holes that just kept swallowing up more and more random items.  When I started talking with my husband about getting our kitchen organized and more efficient, the one thing that always came up was to make the pantry closet a more usable and user-friendly space.  I wanted a place to put cans of food and supplies bought in bulk from Costco, a spot for our mop and broom (and vacuum?), and room for those fancy dishes and infrequently used appliances.  Our small space solution was to use the 6 inches of space on either side of the door frame for shelves that attach to the side walls.  This past weekend, my husband quickly attached some shelves to one side so we could see how they would work and decide whether it is a good solution for us.

I really like it so far, because it puts the cereals and canned goods within easy sight and reach.  I hope to can a few things from our garden this fall, so I can see how these shelves will be nice for storing jars, too.  We are still contemplating whether to attach the broom and mop to the door or to make a framed-in space on the right wall for them.

Just having shelves on the left side has already freed up more space in the center for those larger items and has made them much more accessible.  We plan to add shelves on the right side and create more convenient storage for the mop and broom (and hopefully vacuum).  Then I will clean out more junk, organize, and paint the entire closet!

Hopefully these space saving projects inspire you to take a look at your own home with a fresh eye.  Instead of adding square footage, you might just be able to make better use of the room that you do have!  Follow along as our quest to downsize and create usable and efficient living spaces continues.

2 thoughts on “Small Space Solutions: Microwave and Hall Closet

  1. Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do? Pays to make good friends with that brush! (I have been lately too). Enjoying watching your progress!

  2. We did the microwave in the cabinet thing in one of our houses. It worked really well. As far as that closet goes – what a goofy one! I have to admit I’d be tempted to wall it off in order to have vertical, reachable storage.

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