Try These Small Kitchens Ideas
Focus on Function
A small kitchen cannot accommodate homework, mail storage, laundry duties and recipe hunting. Unless you don’t cook at all, 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. If workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled into a closet when not in use.
Go for Glass
One of the easiest ways to visually expand a kitchen is to incorporate glass. Try a glass counter or tabletop, tile, door cabinets or kitchen doors that lead to the outside world or to the next room. Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around a room, or pass-through windows into the next room, also lighten up the look.
Visually Expand With Lighting
A small kitchen requires a combination of task and atmospheric lighting. To counteract the bluish cast of fluorescent lighting and add drama, install pendant lights in the eating area, incandescent lighting underneath upper cabinets and incandescent spot lighting above cabinetry. Lighting can also be installed under base cabinetry so it shines down onto the toe plate.
Invest in Flooring
Where does the eye go when one walks into a room? Often it goes down — right to that dust bunny or scuffed floor. That’s why flooring in a small kitchen is so important. Linoleum in a checkerboard pattern can be really eye-catching and relatively inexpensive. Since square footage is small, you may be able to afford a beautiful tumbled marble. Marble tends to be cold and hard underfoot, but the impact may be worth it. Or try cork, a beautiful and eco-friendly choice.
Go Bold With Color
The color of walls, appliances, counters, stools — even the dishtowels — can change the atmosphere and perceived size of the kitchen. Pastels or light colors, with good doses of white, reflect light and draw the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold colorations can be very effective in smaller kitchens. How about some Porsche red metal cabinets with celery green walls and a banana-colored concrete countertop?
Embrace the Space
Rather than using tricks to visually enlarge the space, consider embracing your kitchen as-is. Instead of going light or sleek, opt for country cozy. Make sure there is a little nook where you can sit with a visitor knee-to-knee. Or choose a rich dark color that creates a sophisticated feeling — and use accessories that emphasize that look. The kitchen is small, yes, but it sure is inviting.
In an effort to maintain the period look of this 1932 Cape Cod remodel, close attention was paid to details like the intricate bracketed molding and drawer pulls. It is the robin’s-egg-blue cabinets, though, that really grab attention and create the illusion of space in the small room.
The old cabinet doors that were once in this galley kitchen couldn’t take another coat of paint, so the homeowners brought in a design pro for a complete overhaul. The new layout called for the removal of a wall between the small kitchen and family room to open up the space. Scraped maple floors and simple cabinetry with river-stone hardware give the room a clean, uncluttered vibe. The glass-tile mosaic backsplash twinkling beneath undercabinet lighting is a bold focal point that draws the eye.
Light and Bright
This kitchen packs every homeowner’s most-wanted features into a small space: a storage-filled island with seating, double wall ovens, pendant lights, and a beautiful mosaic backsplash. Light English sycamore and dark maple trim play nicely in the custom cabinetry, creating a striking but natural balance. Recessed lighting and open shelving above the cabinets create a perfect home for collectibles.
The owners of this American bungalow wanted to make their small kitchen more exotic. Dark cabinets with brown-and-black tiger striping makes for a sleek, contemporary look, while the pale solid-surface backsplash creates a bold contrast. The design makes the most of very little countertop space with a wenge butcher block that slides over the sink. A dining table on casters allows an eight-seater to slide under the island when not in use.
Open Up Cupboards
Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when cabinets are towering overhead. Many cooks can’t reach what’s in them and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. Get organized and trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Your kitchen will look more spacious and serve up display space for your favorite dishes, shiny pots and pans, or artwork.
Mix Up the Materials
Because your kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it’s up to you to add the all-important style via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. To ensure a cohesive look, create a mix board with samples and swatches of materials under consideration. One tip: Using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.
The wall between tiny kitchen and an adjacent living space was removed to make room for more storage. Visual separation between the rooms was maintained with an island-breakfast bar. Placing the sink in the corner of the room made for more food prep space, while brushed and polished stainless tile forms a standout backsplash.
Designer: Areti Tanya Rentzos, Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Room for Two
Small kitchen boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the place with natural light, opening up the space, so the design of the once-cluttered kitchen—in which the refrigerator door hit the dishwasher or stove when it opened—was planned around them.
Reorganization of the footprint and a few clever island design tweaks allowed for counter-height seating. Rich, stained cabinets and dark granite counters form a bold contrast with light porcelain floors.
This homeowner, a top Realtor in the area, wanted a unique small space to show off to her clients. That’s just what she got with the dark shoji-style cabinets and custom round butcher-block table on casters. The cooking range is flanked by floating shelves, which help to open up the tiny kitchen.
This 1800s Federal style home features a contemporary white kitchen. The smallness of the room allowed the homeowners to splurge on luxurious materials. Crystal cabinet pulls and knobs, a Turkish marble subway tile backsplash, and taupe silk wall coverings make for a classic, indulgent space.
Space-Smart and Sleek
Though her old home is old as well as tiny and traditional, this homeowner requested a contemporary cooking space. The clean design makes the perfect backdrop for collectibles. Mother of pearl granite countertops and frosted-glass tile contrast with dark cabinets, while a custom-built, space-saving table on casters nests into the back of the island when not in use.
This hardworking small kitchen features two space-smart pull-out pantry units and hidden stepladder storage for upper cabinets. The use of butternut wood, copper, hickory, and antiqued bronze give the room warmth, while a rich blue beadboard backsplash delivers a shot of color.