Make the Most Out of a Cramped Kitchen

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ July 5, 2010

When faced with a small kitchen, too many people settle. They stuff plates and cookware into tiny cabinets. They suck in their bellies when other family members try to squeeze past toward the sink or fridge. They dream of someday moving to a house with a spacious kitchen where they can once again prepare sumptuous meals for family and guests.

But you don't have to settle. Award-winning designer and author Susan Serra loves small kitchens. That's because she tells her clients about the many options for organizing a tiny kitchen space, combining utility with charm. Among her suggestions--raise cabinets up to the ceiling and down to the counter; buy small appliances; buy extra deep cabinets with roll-out shelving; hang knives on the wall and store utensils in bowls or crock pots already on the countertops.

Paint Your Small Kitchen to Open It Up

Using light color paint can open up a narrow space, and so can skylights and bay windows. Notice the use of spot lighting in the example photo here. White paint on cabinets and the countertops also help lighten the room. Serra recommends, where possible, to install the sink at an angle to create additional countertop space. Leaving the space over the stove and windows can remove the potential for additional storage and cabinets, but the sacrifice pays off in additional roominess.

Before your kitchen remodel begins, consider all the activities and potential uses you'll need. If it's too much to handle, why not spend a little on hiring a professional designer and get the sizing right the first time?

Designers consider the kinetic requirements for your chores. For example, do you know that it's a good idea to organize your routine kitchen utensils and supplies above your waist to minimize bending or having to drag over a step-stool?

Using glass doors on your cabinets also create openness. Flooring and floor coverings are essential to creating the right effect. Notice how the stripes on this kitchen rug run the length--rather than the width--of the narrow floor? Using the deepest sink available for a small kitchen also helps with prep and cleanup without compromising counter space.

Better Homes and Gardens suggests adding reflective surfaces (on your fridge and appliances) to magnify the space of the room. Above all else, make sure your plans are for a kitchen makeover you can afford.

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