Home and lifestyle magazines are filled with pictures of grandiose kitchens replete with hand-carved chandeliers, walk-in refrigeration rooms and dining tables big enough to seat a football team.
Those gargantuan rooms are great, but a lot of folks are cooking, dining and washing dishes in rooms a fraction of their size.
Small kitchens can be cramped spaces filled with plasticware that shoots out whenever you open a cupboard. Or, they can be super-efficient spaces in which neither style nor functionality are sacrificed.
Want to transform your kitchen into a petite version of paradise? Put these tips to work:
An efficient layout can help your small kitchen live large. The traditional work triangle, with the stove, sink and refrigerator placed at points of a triangle, allows for efficient movement in the kitchen. In fact, this layout generally works better in a small kitchen than it does in a large one.
Be careful not to crowd a small space with oversized appliances. Many manufacturers make smaller-scaled appliances that shine in small kitchens. A number of manufacturers offer 18-inch-wide dishwashers. When considering finishes, remember that stainless steel appliances reflect more light, making your small kitchen feel more spacious.
Specialized cabinetry features, such as pullout pantries, spice drawers and recycling bins, ensure that there’s a designated spot for everything in the kitchen. Open shelving helps to visually expand small kitchen spaces while providing easy access to items during prep, cooking and cleanup.
Choose simple profiles to open up rooms. Flat-panel cabinets, for example, don’t have distracting details, so they’ll make your kitchen feel airier.
Create the illusion of more space with lighting. Upper cabinets can provide much-needed storage, but they can also make your kitchen dark. Solve the dimness problem with under-cabinet lighting; it will make food prep easier and improve the kitchen’s overall appearance. You might also consider glass-front cabinets with lighting inside.
Color and finishes
Paint both the walls and ceiling the same light color to make the room look larger than it is. White walls, countertops, cabinets and ceiling can work together to create a seamless, more expansive-looking space. Use contrasting textures or slightly different shades to keep an all-white room from feeling too hospital-like.
You can also install a mirrored backsplash to help create the illusion of more space. Mirrored not your style? White or light-colored tiles can also brighten the room and make it appear larger.
Think you can’t have a kitchen island because space is too tight? Think again. A rolling cart or small island can provide much-needed workspace and can be moved out of the kitchen when the room is crowded.