Here is the first of a few I will be sharing:
6 Design Details to Avoid in a Small Kitchen
by Stephanie Gibson
There's no denying that spacious kitchens are fabulous. But if your reality is a kitchen where the refrigerator and oven doors can't be open at the same time and you frequently have to use the breakfast table for prep space, then you know just how cramped a small kitchen can feel. The good news? By avoiding a few common design foibles, you can make your tiny kitchen feel just as generous as the wide-open kitchen you're currently coveting.
1. A Built-In Island
Just about every kitchen can benefit from the extra prep and storage space of an island. But a big built-in island will overpower a small kitchen, taking up precious floor space and preventing movement in an already tight area. Do what the designer for this kitchen did and opt for a moveable, freestanding island instead. Williams-Sonoma's version (link below) includes a shelf below to hold bowls or other prep tools, and the cart folds up neatly so it can easily be stored when not in use.
2. Solid-Front Cabinets
Small kitchens need all the storage space they can get, but we guarantee you won't love the extra storage when it feels like your tiny kitchen is closing in on you. To keep things unobstructed, choose open shelving for at least one wall, and group necessities like plates, mixing bowls and glassware by color for a cohesive look. Not ready to put your kitchenware completely on display? Try cabinets with glass doors instead, and fill them with neatly stacked dishes and mugs. The glass fronts will lend an airy feel and increase the depth of the space.
3. One Big Light Fixture
Relying solely on a large central light fixture means you'll illuminate the workspace directly below it, but won't brighten the surrounding areas and corners. Installing several recessed can lights with dimmer switches is a better solution. Bright, well-lit roooms give the illusion of spaciousness, and soft white bulbs will eliminate any harshness. Install strips of under-cabinet lighting for additional task illumination, and don't block your kitchen's natural light, either: Leave windows bare, or hang simple bamboo shades that can be raised all the way up during the day.
4. A Matte Backsplash
Brick or thick ceramic tiles might be gorgeous in larger kitchens, but heavy materials like these will immediately weigh down a small space. Instead, choose a reflective material that will create a seamless line between the countertops and cabinetry. We love the look of glass tiles, which are also a snap to wipe clean. Light-colored countertops paired with white tile and cabinetry creates an especially airy feel in a diminutive kitchen.
Try this: 2x2 sheet-mounted staggered
Try this: 2x2 sheet-mounted staggered
5. Mixing Countertop Materials
Once again, this concept might make sense in kitchens were there's more space to go around, but in a smaller kitchen, you're better off with a smooth surface that provides a continuous element, which will trick the eye into elongating a space. Choose a large, seamless slab of light-colored granite, soapstone or engineered stone. Pair it with an undermount farmhouse sink that won't break up the line. Instead of cluttering countertops with gadgets and storage containers, hang magnetic strips, hooks and racks on the wall to corral spices and utensils.
6. Tile Floors
Practical as they might be in a kitchen, the geometric blocks and grout lines of a tile floor will break up a space, making it feel choppy and small. Instead, go for finished concrete or wide-plank wood laid in a horizontal pattern. The stripes will widen a tiny kitchen, visually stretching the boundaries. Add more interest by throwing down a striped rug.