by Kimberly Blackford
New homes designed and built today finally get it. The kitchen is the #1 busiest place in the home and the spot where everyone wants to be. So, most new homes today have been designed to take on all the challenges a kitchen has to face each day. These kitchens include planning desks, center islands, breakfast bars, nearby laundry areas and/or mud rooms and also include multiple built-in appliances. They are equipped for anything and everything it seems. But, for those of us that do not have a brand new home, this may be far from reality. Each day you try to navigate your kitchen space and its tight quarters trying to find ways to cook, serve and dine while also juggling all the appliances, storage issues and other problems. Just face it; your kitchen is too small. And, to make matters worse, it looks as small as it feels. Crowded, dysfunctional and useless on most days! There are many ways to turn a small kitchen into a space to be proud of thanks to some smart design tricks.
So, you think your kitchen is too small to be stylish? That is not so. Small kitchens may have to get creative in order to be considered truly stylish, but often their lack of space affords them the opportunity to use bold elements to make a strong impact. Try scaling down the size of the appliances used in the space. Purchase a sleek, yet smaller refrigerator, a smaller microwave and a stove that includes only two burners. Does anyone use four burners at a time ever anyway? There are also single sinks that offer just as much function as a double style sink. Suddenly, you have the same amount of function without sacrificing square footage.
Another way to add more space to a small kitchen is to open it up by removing overhead cabinets. If you are able to pair down your kitchen accessories and get organized, consider installing open shelving for overhead so the space doesn’t seem as closed in. Not only will the shelving give the area a more open and larger feel, it will also allow you to see what is being stored there. Overhead cabinets are many times hard to access anyway, so use open shelving to show off your china, attractive glassware or colorful platters.
Just because your kitchen may be small, it doesn’t have to be boring. Consider mixing it up a bit with different material choices. Select a unique or bold color scheme and have fun picking floors, countertop material and cabinetry. Add a fun and whimsical backsplash design and soon the eyes of guests will be drawn to the fun and playful space. Adding unique color choices or a bold color scheme will also take away from the fact that there is not a lot of architectural detail in your small kitchen. Also, fun and colorful lighting options can create a kitchen that is functional and fun at the same time.
If at all possible, consider incorporating glass as much as possible throughout the space. Adding glass front cabinets, a kitchen table or other element will automatically open up the space quite a bit. If doors separate your kitchen from the rest of the home, make sure they are glass and suddenly the space will not feel so divided. If your kitchen features a pass-through window into the main living space, keep it open as much as possible. If you don’t have this feature, consider adding a pass-through for an open and modern look. The same goes for mirrors too. Create a gorgeous backsplash with mirrored mosaics or use mirrored accessories to add life and spaciousness to a cramped kitchen.
Create an open kitchen space also by including several types of lighting sources. Lighting above the cabinets and even at floor level creates the illusion of a larger space. Lights directed at cabinetry will increase shadowing of the space and give the area greater visual movement through light and dark contrasts.
Another advantage of a small space is it can be very easy to make it cozy. So, you’ve faced the facts that your kitchen is small. Instead of trying every tactic in the book to make it appear larger, make the decision to embrace it the way it is and enjoy its cozy atmosphere. Choose a dark rich wall color and add sophisticated accessories that offset the rich background and amp up your kitchen’s luxury quotient with high style. Make this a small, yet interesting spot for intimate dining or cozy coffee chatter with friends.
Living in a home with a small kitchen doesn’t have to be a downfall. Make a conscious effort to embrace this small space, accentuate the positive, add elements to deceive the eye and suddenly this area of your home will become a focal point.
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