Best Designs for small Kitchens
Greg Premru Photography Inc.
Small spaces can sprain a design brain as much — sometimes even more — than large spaces, especially when you add storage and style in tight quarters to the typical kitchen challenges of fixtures and function.
Face it, in a small space you can’t have a kitchen that is a jack-of-all-trades — accommodating schoolwork, mail, laundry, recipe hunting and cooking duties. Unless you don’t cook at all (in which case, feel free to store your out-of-season clothes in the kitchen cabinets!), the small kitchen’s main chore is meal prep. So focus first on function, making sure you have the appliances and work areas you need. You may be able to save a bit of space by using scaled-down or innovative appliances, including refrigerator and freezer drawers and pint-sized microwaves, stoves (some with just two burners) and single sinks. The function is there, without all the square footage! If workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled away into a closet when not in use.
2. Open it up
Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when overhead cabinets are towering over your head in tight spaces. Many cooks can’t reach what’s in them (and there’s not a lot of room for a step stool or ladder), and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. If you can get organized enough, trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks, and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Not only will your kitchen look more spacious, it’s a great way to show off your favorite dishes or shiny pots and pans — even artwork.
3. Mix up the Materials
You may not have wide-open spaces in your pint-sized kitchen, but you do have lots of choices. In fact, these choices loom larger in a small space than in today’s basic Taj Mahal-sized kitchen. In a big area you can more easily hide flaws or separate competing styles; in a small space everything really has to work, including the mix of wood and metals and other surface materials. And because your petite kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it’s up to you to add the all-important style in compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. Is there any place you can add a pleasing curve? Will your granite countertop (more affordable in a small space!) coexist with your cabinet color? Your best bet is to create a mix board with samples and swatches of everything you’re considering. One tip: using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.
4. Look Into it
Jason Kisner, 2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved
One of the simplest ways of "expanding" a kitchen is incorporating glass, which lets you see through the objects, thereby enhancing the feeling of spaciousness or what designers call "negative space." Try a glass counter or tabletop, or glass door cabinets. Glass kitchen doors, to the outside world or to the next room, can also visually expand the space. There is even highly reflective glass tile that can give your kitchen sparkle. Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around the room, also lighten up the look.