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Small Kitchens - Big Heart

Most people dream of living in an expansive mansion or sprawling villa with a kitchen suitable for a top chef to create his/her masterpieces in. However, reality often means that our culinary creations will need to be made in the smallest of spaces. But don’t let your tiny kitchen limit your dream creations. While not ideal, a small kitchen simply means that its design must utilize every inch of space in the most effective manner. Smart solutions to create an open, spacious, and functional space are a must when dealing with a small kitchen. It is after all the heart of the home.

Obviously, with any small space, if it is possible to borrow space from a neighbouring room, closet or hallway or add on to the existing layout - that would be the best option. Creating an open environment by removing walls and creating adjoining spaces reduces the issues of the small kitchen greatly. However, in homes where this is simply not an option, there are still ways to create beautiful kitchens with the illusion of more space than the square footage actually allows.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Light - Windows are essential in your small kitchen. Enlarge window sizes, add French doors, a skylight, or solar tubes to usher in more natural light. It is also essential to layer your room with natural, ambient, and task lighting. An appropriate mix of under counter lights, glass pendants and pot lights along with natural light will add function and dimension to your space. If privacy is an issue, then use ultra-light tones and material blinds to allow obscured light in even when closed.
  • Colour & Texture - Low contrast, light coloured palettes from floor to ceiling along with reflective surfaces draw the eye up and out. Integration of some industrial elements in a vintage kitchen, or adding natural elements to an all-white kitchen creates effective and visually interesting spaces. Shiny surfaces, such as appliances, reflect light and add to this illusion. The illusion of space is created by keeping the eye moving. Significantly bold statement colours or patterns may visually fragment the room so keep to light colours such as whites, or subtle elegant shades of yellows, blues, or purples and patterns should be geometrically simple.
  • Cabinets and Layouts - Cabinetry should optimize every inch of space both horizontally and vertically, and symmetry adds to spaciousness. Exploring the many options available for storage within a cabinet or island assists in organization and decluttering of countertops and tabletops and we can’t forget about space for recycling and garbage. Keep it simple but elegant --flat panels or shaker style doors are more effective than ornate raised panels with elaborate handles. Recessing shelving can create the illusion of added space, when it is merely not an encroachment on the existing layout.
  • Islands - Don’t underestimate the function and effectiveness of an island even in a small space. Other than in a galley kitchen, even a tiny island may be feasible. Islands don’t have to match the rest of the cabinetry; they can be distressed, rugged, natural or polished as long as the contrast is harmonious with the rest of the room. They can even be open framed metal, functional butcher blocks, or tall narrow benches, fixed, mobile and/or multifunctional. When space is a commodity, imagination and creativity are the best tools. If the island is also a bar, the stools should be backless to maintain lines of sight.
  • Visual Airiness - The illusion of space can be created using open or floating shelving or islands instead of solid cabinetry doors (but only if you are neat & tidy). Reflective surfaces, fewer visual barriers and continuity expand the visual field both up and out. Incorporating mirrors, framed pieces, and a backsplash helps to gain dimension. If a tiled backsplash is preferred, utilizing a polished finish offers a reflective alternative. Simplicity is the key… less really is more. If open shelving is not appealing, then opting for glass doors instead of solid wood ones will help create that spacious feeling. On a functional level, it also allows one to see what is inside, which may possibly encourage tidiness.
  • Balance - If you have a small kitchen, consider balancing your visual space as well as your working space by incorporating compact (European size) appliances. Installation of appliances into or under cabinetry keeps counters clean and visual lines uninterrupted. Replacing wood hood covers with open stainless steel hood fans gives a cleaner, reflective, open look.
  • Flooring - Large format tiles, simple patterns, and harmonious light colours add to continuity and stretch the space visually. Proper use of diamond patterns or hardwood or wood grain tiles can also help to widen the space horizontally.

A small kitchen can be redesigned to appear spacious and elegant but the most important facet of your kitchen is the working triangle. A true dream kitchen is achieved when there is a balance between aesthetics and function. If you are looking to renovate your kitchen, call the experts at Vanderzalm Construction Inc. at (905) 562-4463 or (905) 684-5823. We understand that balance.

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