There are plenty of designer tricks for making a small kitchen appear larger than it is. But before you and your clients dive into choosing the right colors, appropriate lighting and best appliances, you’ll want to lay the foundation for the kitchen to get the most out of the space. That includes a great layout, the right flooring, and the perfect cabinets. Let’s get started!
Layouts Lead The Way
The layout of a kitchen – regardless of size – is the single most important factor in remodeling a kitchen. The harder a kitchen works, the easier it will be for homeowners to get the most they can from it. There are a few different layouts possible in a small kitchen, most of which are dependent on just how small the space is.
Single Wall. Super cozy kitchens like these require a bit of planning. If possible, center the sink, and flank it on one side with the refrigerator and on the other with the cooktop/range. Ideally, you’ll have four feet of counter space on either side of the sink. Plan on using every bit of wall space: extra tall cabinets and plenty of shelving mean more space for kitchenware and small appliances, leaving the counters free for food prep and clean up.
Two-Wall Galley. A kitchen with parallel walls allows for three workstations. Position the sink and refrigerator on one wall and the cooktop on the other, and try to allow at least four feet of space between the two. Consider adding a narrow island for additional counter space and storage.
U-Shape. Three walls in this layout provide a triangle of workstations two cooks can work in together without too much sidestepping. To get the most out of small U-shaped kitchens, the base of the U should be about eight feet long. Take advantage of the added storage space the third wall allows by incorporating features such as pullout shelves, tilt-out bins and rotating inserts.
L-Shape. Because of the open style of this two-wall layout, even small L-shaped kitchens feel larger than they are. Adding an island can provide more counter and storage space, and serve double duty as an eating area.
Flooring Draws The Eye
The flooring you choose for a kitchen is key. It’s the first place the eyes go when you walk into a room and it can set the stage for the aesthetic you are trying to achieve. The good news about small kitchens is that there is less square footage to cover, so your budget may be able to afford a higher quality floor. Some tips to keep in mind when searching for the right flooring:
Widen The Plank. If you decide on hardwood flooring, consider choosing planks that are at least three to five inches wide. The larger width creates the illusion of space.
For Appearance’s Sake. Have hardwood planks installed in a way that adds to the illusion: lay the floorboards at a right angle to the longest side of the kitchen, or lay the long ends of the planks parallel to the longest part of the room. This way, a kitchen will appear not only wider, but longer.
Continuity Is Key. Choose flooring that matches adjoining rooms. If a kitchen opens into the family room, for example, and has traditional hardwood floors, continue that hardwood into your kitchen to tie the two spaces together and create a sense of unity. If a sliding door leads to a cherry wood deck, choose matching cherry wood flooring for the kitchen. The outdoor space will project through the glass to make the kitchen seem larger.
On The Diagonal. If you prefer tile flooring, choose one neutral color, or even two distinct colors that can be alternated, and install in a diagonal pattern. The visual interest will draw the eye and distract from the small size of a kitchen.
Cabinets Are The Cornerstone
Cabinets set the stage for the aesthetic in any size kitchen but are especially key in small spaces. With all the options available it can be difficult to decide which style is best, and which accessories you really need. If you’re remodeling a small kitchen, keep these tips in mind:
Look Up. Choose the tallest cabinets that will fit in the space or consider a second set of upper cabinets. The added height will draw the eye upwards and make the ceilings appear taller. And all that extra storage will come in handy. Even if you need a stool to access the contents, they’re a great place for homeowners to store items they don’t use every day, such as vases, china, and holiday accessories.
Get Organized. The small footprint of a kitchen means you’ll spend less on things like flooring and countertops. That means there’s more likely a little wiggle room in your budget to splurge on the bells and whistles that take a design from ordinary to outstanding. Cabinet accessories, such as tilt-out bins, pull out spice racks, and drawer inserts fit the bill, and will help to keep the kitchen neat and organized.
While you’re planning a small kitchen remodel, remember to review the kitchen inspiration for ideas, and add favorite images to the myProSource Project Center. When you’re ready, contact your local ProSource Showroom to take advantage of their expert kitchen design services and get connected with the experts who can help turn your design idea into a reality!
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