Small Kitchen Design

If you are limited on space in your kitchen, then you’ll need to plan well to maximize usable space. A kitchen doesn’t have to be large to be an effective work space. In fact, a small kitchen can be more efficient and easier to maintain!

Smaller spaces often push the designer to the limit as much or more than larger ones, especially when you need plenty of storage in a tight kitchen space. But, the challenges of making your kitchen functional and selecting the right fixtures, whether for a high rise luxury apartment or even a small suburban condo, can be overcome.

Follow these simple tips to make your small kitchen a wonderful place to prepare meals and enjoy eating your favorite dishes.

Keep it open and focus on kitchen functions only. You can make your small kitchen a great work space and a place to hang out with friends while preparing meals.

Focus on Kitchen Functions

While a larger kitchen can easily accommodate many functions, from a work center for doing bills and kids’ homework, to a huge pantry and double ovens, the small kitchen must be designed for one main function; food preparation and eating areas.

Focus on function, designing the stations, planning placement of major appliances like your kitchen range, oven, sink, dishwasher and refrigerator first.

You can really maximize space by selecting scaled-down, more innovative kitchen appliances. For example, choose a refrigerator with freezer drawers, a range with overhead microwave oven built in, a smaller 2 burner range and a single versus double sink.

You’ll have the same functionality without using up so much square footage! When work space is limited, designing your kitchen with a small center island or a rolling kitchen cart that can be stored in the closet when not being used can really conserve on space.

Keep Your Design Open

A small kitchen can feel quite claustrophobic with too many cabinets and doors can be a problem to open and close in tight quarters, so using open storage solutions can help open things up.

Hang pots and pans on an over the range rack, leave upper cabinets open for easier access or to display artwork and decorative items.

Try planning your small kitchen to be as open as possible and you won’t feel like the space is so confining.

Keep Design Elements Cohesive But Interesting

Since you have less square footage in a small kitchen, you can go with more expensive materials like granite counter tops and still keep the budget down.When selecting the materials and appliances for your small kitchen space, try to pick counter top, flooring and other materials that blend well together. Unlike in a large kitchen, where many materials and patterns may work well, the smaller space dictates a cohesive, well integrated selection of design elements and materials.

You can add interest to your kitchen design by incorporating a multi-level island, with food prep station with enclosed cabinet storage below on one level, a small eating space with open storage below on another, and your range on a third level, for example.

Try blending shapes as well; maybe a rounded corner on one side of the island or overhead cabinets to help mix things up and provide that bit of extra open space.

Be sure to gather plenty of swatches, samples and pictures before finalizing your design. You want to be sure that that black granite counter top will work with the maple laminate flooring and cabinetry before you start the project.

Remember that colors, textures and patterns selected will have a huge effect on how light or dark, open or closed your small kitchen space will feel, so try to bring as many of your samples into the space to get a sense of how everything will fit together.

Making Things Visible

Allowing a pass through from the kitchen to the dining space helps open things up. Lighting design plays an important role in making your small kitchen design functional and atractive.Nothing helps open up a small space more than light. Glass is a great way to help add light, since it will reflect and refract natural and planned light sources.

You can use a glass table top, glass cabinet doors or even glass tile counters.

Try adding a pass through window between the kitchen and eating area, which opens the space and allows visibility between the eating area and main kitchen so that you can interact with guests while working in the kitchen.

Opaque, colored or textured glass can add interest to your kitchen design as well.

Window placement is very important to increasing visibility. Try to design your workspace to take advantage of natural window light and give you a nice view from primary work area in a smaller kitchen.

Lighting Design

No room in a home needs adequate lighting more than the kitchen. Plan your lighting design with plenty of general ambient lighting and especially to have adequate task lighting in work areas.

Complete your lighting design with accent lighting to highlight features like open cabinet spaces, that custom designed tile back splash over your range or artwork.

Under cabinet lights make a nice touch, as do rope lights on top. You can use a mix of fluorescent and incandescent lighting to help achieve the right color temperature and make your kitchen as energy efficient as possible.

And, since your space is small, you don’t have to worry as much about the energy use of lighting as much as in a very large kitchen! Use the lighting fixtures and sources that best complement your space planning and design elements.

Choosing the Right Flooring

Since a small kitchen has very little square footage anyway, you can choose a more expensive flooring material without breaking the budget! Marble or granite tile can make a good choice, with pattern and color options unlimited.

Stone can be cold if you like to go bear footed, so wood or wood laminate flooring products are another good option and will complement your natural wood cabinets. Or, if retro is your style, you might try a black and white checkered tile pattern to match high gloss laminate or lacquered finish cabinetry!

In designing smaller kitchen spaces, focus on function, making things open and light and use of color and design elements to maximize space and keep it from feeling too confined.

Smart Use of Color

Color will play an important part in how your small kitchen feels. Wall colors are an obvious thing you need to decide; a white or off white neutral color can help keep things more open, but you may want to consider something bolder like light pastels or even brighter red, yellow or orange. Since you won’t have a lot of exposed wall space anyway, you can get away with wall colors that simply wouldn’t work in a larger space.

Less obvious, but equally important, are the smaller elements in your kitchen that can add color and drama. Stools, appliances, dishtowels, dishware and your toaster are other potential ways to bring your color palette together.

Making It Cozy

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your small kitchen, you also want to think of ways to give it that cozy feeling. Especially if the space is already built or does not lend itself to a major architectural reconfiguration of the layout, relying more on those personal design touches may be your best bet.

Design a custom backsplash, change out your dishware, add a new spice rack; whatever personal touches make sense and bring a cozier feeling into the room. Whether you prefer modern design, French country or old world style, you can personalize your small kitchen the way you want it to feel by adding these small touches!

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