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Must-Have Features for a Small Kitchen

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Must-Have Features for a Small Kitchen

by JSW Blogger |February 29, 2024 | Blogs, Countertops, Kitchen Trends

Not everybody wants or has space for a sprawling kitchen. And a compact kitchen doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style and functionality. As a Countertops salesperson, I often advise clients with small kitchens on how to maximize their tight layouts. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for making the most of these small spaces.

1. Invisible Hardware

It might not seem like a big deal, but protruding cabinet knobs and pulls can take up a consequential amount of visual and physical space.

A “handleless” kitchen features cabinets with a lip or touch latch. This approach creates a seamless, minimal look without visual interruptions. And that’s important in a compact space where you want to feel more open.

2. Open Shelves

If your kitchen feels cramped, removing all or some of your upper cabinets might be the best option for you. This is a sure way to open up the visual space around the room, making the kitchen appear much larger than it is.

Plenty of light is important in a small space, and upper cabinets can sometimes cast a shadow over the countertops, making the workspace feel darker than necessary. So skipping those uppers can really open a space up. Running tile on the backsplash to the ceiling can also help visually heighten the look of the room.

If you’re worried about losing the storage from ditching upper cabinets, consider a hardworking island, if you have the space, or consult with a design pro to really maximize your lower cabinet storage with pullouts, drawers and other high-functioning components.

Open shelves are another option. You want your shelves to have a depth of at least 10 inches. This is important if you want the shelving to hold dinner plates or other wide items. Open shelves also allow you to easily change your decor with the seasons, giving you a dynamic focal point that will keep your small kitchen feeling new and fresh.

Choosing the same color for your shelves and walls can help the shelves visually disappear, creating an airy vibe and letting your stylish dishes and decorative items pop. But keep in mind: With open shelves, be prepared to stay a little more organized, and plan to do a little extra dusting.

3. Pattern

Bringing in a large design statement like a bold pattern can help detract from your minimal square footage and give your tiny space a big personality.

Plus, a little goes a long way. Using a dramatic pattern often works better in a small kitchen than in a large one because a small area of pattern can deliver just the right amount of style. With a larger area, too much pattern can overwhelm the space.

4. Corner Storage

Every square inch counts in a small kitchen, and that means you can’t allow dead corners.

Designing a corner is often a tricky affair that requires a delicate balance between form and functionality. Notice how the open shelves in this Seattle kitchen wrap around a corner to maximize storage and display space while maintaining an open feel. Also note a few of the other tricks mentioned in this article, such as using light colors to visually recede cabinets, playing with pattern,s and running backsplash tile to the ceiling to add visual height.

A corner countertop cabinet is another idea worth considering. Extending the cabinet all the way to the ceiling maximizes storage but also makes the room feel bigger by drawing the eye up. A win-win.

Or consider a corner sink. Since work at the sink is often stationary, corner placement leaves space for another person to move freely, putting away groceries, preparing ingredients, accessing the fridge or tending to food on a stove.

One thing to keep in mind before making this decision is that corner sinks tend to be smaller than standard ones. If you use a lot of big dishes and utensils, this may not be the best option for you.

5. Stylish Countertop Appliances

If your kitchen is small, you’re going to need to make the most of every spot, including your counter surface. This means some of your day-to-day items may need to be kept visible, especially if your cabinet space lacks room for small appliances.

Investing in items you love and that look good is worth it, as they’ll be on display for everyone to see. The white toaster shown here looks at home amid the stylish white-and-wood design.

You’ll also find a lot of practicality in having appliances out because they’ll always be accessible when you need them.

Always consider the best-performing appliance for your needs, but do a little extra research to find those that fit the look of your space.

Your turn: What tricks or tips do you have for making the most of a small kitchen? Add your thoughts to the Comments.

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