Kitchens For Small Spaces
KITCHENS FOR SMALL SPACES
Tiny living is the new luxury phenomenon. It’s no longer just an imposed lifestyle because of space or budget limitations. People are choosing to simplify their lives by creating spaces that are smart, innovative, energy efficient, easy to maintain, and even mobile. In these small spaces, the kitchen takes center stage. Small kitchens are even harder to plan than large ones. The challenge is how to make the aesthetics work while balancing the kitchen’s functionality and maximizing its purpose in the small environment.
The kitchen in a small space needs to fulfill several functions. It will be primarily for cooking and eating, but it may also be used for serving, storage, laundry, working, and studying. Much creativity must be put into the kitchen planning. For instance, a drawer can double as a worktable extension or a chopping board area. The sink bowl can be covered with a wood or stone cut out so that it can serve as additional counter space when the sink is not in use. The back of the cabinet doors can have hanging tracks so small items can be stored there. The open toe kick area can have drawers to maximize the storage space. Organizer accessories can be placed at the back splash area or underneath the wall cabinets. Each component should have at least 2 different functions to make it worth its space.
SAFETY, CLEARANCES AND EASE
The most common mistake in planning a small kitchen is neglecting to consider the measurements required for the components to be functional and safe. Cabinet doors need swing space to open, corner or end wall solutions need gap fillers for the drawers to be smoothly accessed, countertops should have prep space between cooking and washing, and overhead cabinets need to be positioned at the right height. It’s not just about packing every available inch with cabinets. An ideal small kitchen is a space where you can make precise movements in the limited area with confidence and ease. Adding motion hardware in your cabinets can make hard to reach areas also useful. Corner pull out mechanisms can be installed so that even blind spots can be used for storage. Internal pull out drawers can be placed at the lowest area of the cabinet so you don’t have to bend and reach deep into the back. Just a few investment hardware pieces can go a long way.
OPEN OR HIDDEN
Clutter and dirt are the ultimate enemies of small spaces. Nobody wants to enter a home and see dirty dishes or splattered oily walls. Nowadays there are many ways to conceal the mess of the kitchen. There are full sliding doors that hide the cooking area, appliance garage cabinets that store small appliances, handle-less cabinets that blend seamlessly into the interiors, and even faucets and range hoods that disappear into the countertops. Another new trend is freestanding kitchen elements. These are designed to look like furniture and makes it seem like it is just part of the living décor. Of course, keeping the kitchen organized and clean is still the best design solution. The key is to manage your choices of finishes to suit your living habits. Polished or glossy surfaces need to be wiped down often, but these finishes can create a very crisp and modern atmosphere. Dark colored materials reveal dust and fingerprints more than than light colored ones. Although wood and stone absorb liquids and stains faster than their synthetic or engineered counterparts, they have grains and natural textures that have warmth that can’t be matched. It’s alright to have glass front or open cabinets, just make sure the contents are constantly arranged neatly. Try as much as possible to design the kitchen with materials that will make your life easier, and not just focus of the overall look.
ILLUSIONS OF SPACE
The mind can be tricked to make the space look bigger than it actually is. The usual technique is to use reflective finishes for the doors and material accents such as mirrors, colored glass, lacquer, and polished metals. Another very effective way is to raise the ceiling height of the room. When the vertical space is highlighted, the eyes are drawn upward and that gives the kitchen an open cathedral feel. Add to that proper lighting integrated inside glass cabinets, under open shelves, or above the kitchen island and the small space becomes a vibrant visual treat. Limited space does not have to limit the function or design impact of the home kitchen.