Kitchen Expansion - Making a Kitchen Larger During A Remodel

Kitchen Expansion During a Home Remodel

Even in a perfect house, situations can change. What was perfectly acceptable when you bought the home, can become problematic. For example, many kitchens in older homes tend to be small. Of course, you can make a small kitchen efficient and functional, but at some point, for example, when your family grows, you may need more space to meet your new requirements.

Of course, adding an addition is one option, but it can be expensive, and sometimes not feasible due to zoning or other restrictions. But there are less expensive options when remodeling, and what you don't spend on an addition can be spent on upgrades to improve functionality like better cabinets, lighting, countertops, and appliances – the things that make your kitchen fun!

Here are some alternatives to building an addition that can achieve your goal of adding functional space to your kitchen when you remodel.

Before You Consider A Kitchen Expansion Remove the Clutter

Before you jump into a kitchen expansion project start by removing the clutter. Clutter can make any space feel smaller. Today's modern kitchen includes a ton of small appliances that make cooking easier like food processors, blenders, mixers and more. Often, these items live on the counter because of a lack of storage space in smaller kitchens. This clutter can break up the sight lines and make the room feel small.

Controlling the clutter and learning how to store it can be a big step towards a solution. You may want to consider investing in fixtures and cabinets that make your existing storage more efficient with roll-out shelves, tilt out bins, or an appliance garage. Hanging cabinets, open shelving, and cabinets under the counter (rather than drawers) can provide the extra storage space you need to hide those items out of sight.

With careful planning, storage can be added to hide the mess and open up the sight lines in your kitchen. If you have more stuff than space, re-evaluate your needs, have a yard sale or store the stuff in the basement, attic or garage. Or consider option two...

Bump Out For A Kitchen Expansion!

One popular option is to bump out an exterior wall 24-inches. Two feet is the maximum that a floor can be cantilevered without adding a foundation according to current building codes. While it doesn't sound like much, in a small kitchen it can make a big difference!

This option doesn't work in all homes. First, the floor joists must run in the right direction. In this option, a section of the existing exterior wall is removed and replaced by a laminated header to support the roof. The old floor is cantilevered out, and a new outer wall is built along the perimeter of the new floor. The entire expansion is covered with a small roof, and you have extra space without incurring the expense of laying a foundation. Assuming a two-foot bump out, the new space can house a bank of cabinets and appliances with an extra two feet of floor space!

Grabbing Space From Another Room

In some cases removing or moving a wall can give you the space you need. For example removing a wall enclosing a small breakfast nook giving you extra length in the kitchen. You can add a breakfast bar peninsula or an island with seating which would add storage space, and take up much less floor space.

However, when it comes to adding space, nothing works better than removing a wall between your kitchen and another area. Many kitchens often border the formal dining room in many homes. Removing the wall in between can open up the space and allow you to add an island. Other options to consider when borrowing space are an adjacent porch, mudroom, or small off-kitchen office or pantry.

Removing a wall may sound expensive, but it's not a big deal. The cost can be under a thousand dollars, and the results can be truly dramatic! Make sure you work with a qualified professional if you're planning on this option. Interior walls can be structural, and if removed they will need to be replaced with a header beam to keep your home structurally sound. This can significantly add to the cost. Non-structural walls can also include plumbing or electrical that would need to be moved, and again this is best done by a professional to ensure safety and compliance with your local building codes.

Other possibilities include using the space under stairs adjacent to the kitchen for pantry storage, realigning doorways for better flow and more usable space, relocating windows and adding skylights.

Open Up a Wall for A Visual Kitchen Expansion...

When it's not possible to remove a wall or bump out the space, you can still improve a smaller kitchen by partially removing a wall between adjoining rooms. Removing a wall may not physically expand the space, but it will give an impression of openness, make the room seem larger. You can also improve functionality by creating a “pass through” by adding a shelf to the top of the partial wall. At the very least, it will make the cook feel less confined. If you've ever thrown a party, you know your guests hang out in the kitchen. So consider opening up the wall and letting them in!

Often it's a combination of these options that will provide the best results. For example, a small expansion combined with carefully chosen cabinets and appliances merged with improved lighting and an emphasis on strong horizontal sight lines can not only improve your kitchen's functionality, but it can give the impression that it is larger and more spacious than it is.

If you're planning on a kitchen remodeling project work in close collaboration with your design build firm. They can offer you affordable options for kitchen expansion based on their experience and expertise. Good design can save you thousands of dollars in construction costs!

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.