In a small kitchen, the counter is often an underused utility that can free up other space in the apartment. If your kitchen and living area are cramped, putting even the smallest kitchen table in your apartment can waste otherwise usable space. Instead, use your counter as your table.
Making the Counter Serve Multiple Functions
Depending on just how small your small kitchen and counter are, you may have to use the counter for cooking as well as dining. However, rotating the use of your counter will help you keep it clutter-free and encourage you to get the dreaded chores of dishwashing and counter wiping out of the way as soon as possible. It is important that you clean up after meal preparation especially, particularly if you prepared raw meats or eggs, because of the chance of bacteria accumulating on the countertop.
Using a hot plate on which to rest pots, slow cookers and pans will help you avoid burning the countertop and also make cleanup easier, as you can move it and the dirty cookingware into the sink to clean after eating so that you can eat quickly and your food won’t get cold. Likewise, you can pull out a washable or wipeable placemat for your table setting once it’s time to eat.
Get Comfortable Stools
If you’re going to be dining at your counter, you’ll likely need raised stools in order to comfortably reach the countertop. However, many stools are uncomfortable, so be sure to look for ones that offer back support and rungs on which to rest your feet. You can make them more comfortable by adding cushions to the seat and the back of the chair.
Keep Clutter Away
In a small kitchen, the counter can be a tempting place to pile clutter, such as the daily newspaper, the mail, shopping receipts or anything else you figure you’ll just put down for a little while. However, it’s easy for this clutter to accumulate into a mess. Therefore, make a point of dealing with everything as you get it. Dispose of junk mail, put bills in a filing cabinet and recycle the newspaper once you’re done. Likewise, avoid decorative additions to your countertop, such as a vase of flowers, because you’ll need to use all of the space available.
Using a Kitchen Island
If your small kitchen and counter are just too small to allow for the counter to serve as both the place where you prepare and eat a meal, rather than giving up and purchasing a dining table you don’t have room for, purchase a much smaller kitchen island on wheels. You can wheel out the island and prepare food on it (and also use the cupboard below the island for storage) and then keep the countertop solely for dining. When finished, you can push the island toward the back of the kitchen and out of the way.
If you live alone in an apartment with a small kitchen, the counter is even more the ideal place for eating. However, you can make the space work even with a roommate or two, as long as everyone takes responsibility and cleans up after themselves.