Have you noticed the trend toward TINY? Tiny houses are everywhere — and, of course, small kitchens have always been par for the course in vacation or starter homes or apartments. What do you do if you’re a born cook who longs for the visual expanse of Grandma’s country kitchen, but your budget will allow only a studio for now? Don’t despair: we at Diamond Kitchen and Bath see this all the time, and we know some “quick fixes” for that minuscule space. Here are just a half-dozen to consider:
Think Bright Color…
Color is one of the best decorating tools you have at your disposal, and it’s décor you can do “on the cheap” with a good paint palette. There’s a reason so many designers’ “go-to” color for a small space is some variation of white or a yellowish white: cream, sand, French vanilla, pale buttercup, ivory, or ecru — especially when paired with light-toned cabinetry — will transform even a shadowy, cramped space into one that radiates warmth and friendliness.
…And Be Brave.
This doesn’t mean that you need to limit yourself to pastels, however. Vivid colors such as cherry red, royal blue, or purple can make a small room “pop” with energy, something you’ll love for entertaining. In a short, square kitchen, a deep accent wall at one end draws the eye forward and elongates the room; black-and-white checkerboard or terracotta tile is a natural “neutral” with almost any other hues you want to use.
Make Space Work for Its Keep.
When it comes to tiny spaces, every surface — including walls — should do double-duty. Consider sliding vertical “drawers” or corner compartments, lazy Susans, circular shelves, and cabinets with either see-through glass or clean-lined wood. Put together a vertical “pantry” with a hanging rack; swap a traditional swinging door for a sliding barn door to give you extra “room to roam” without having to worry about clearance.
Other ideas? Hang pots and pans to make more space in cabinets, or put hooks in handy places for towels and potholders. Investigate rounded “shelf” compartments for bottles of everything from wine to sauces and sodas. And don’t forget the space above kitchen cabinets, clear to the ceiling: it’s a perfect space to display china, pottery, or even your cookbook collection.
Add a Few Frills…
All too often, small spaces intimidate their owners into thinking they can’t use such things as paneling, detailed backsplashes, or ornamental moldings, lest things look too “cluttered.” Well, think again! Yes, you CAN have paneling, and even crown moldings, in a small kitchen; beadboard wainscoting or chair rails are terrific touches of instant style. And don’t forget to browse the trims your cabinetmakers offer. Because they’re designed to go “with” the cabinetry, they add just the right amount of visual interest and “gingerbread” without getting in the way.
When it comes to creature comfort, you can think “plush” just as much in your kitchen as in any other room of the house. Gingham or checked ruffled or tie-back curtains are a “country kitchen” staple; plump cushions to match, added to white-painted chairs, convey a lovely, nostalgic serenity in the heart of your home.
Many of us wouldn’t dream of having a big holiday dinner without a special seasonal tablecloth, even an heirloom — but don’t stop there: extend that special feeling every day with a touch of fabric. Plaid napkins in primary colors “juice up” a pristine white kitchen; rustic chambray, linen, or other textured cloths soften minimalist lines. And, whether it’s a patterned placemat or a simple linen square, any touch of fabric is light years ahead of paper napkins!
Bloom Where You’re Planted.
Chances are, your mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen had an African violet on the windowsill — or maybe some bright begonias. That’s still a great way to decorate even a small kitchen: with a touch of green, whether flowers or herbs. Don’t worry if you didn’t inherit your dad’s “green thumb,” either. Easy-care potted herbs from the nursery are pretty much foolproof (some are even guaranteed!).
Choose a few to start with: mint for your afternoon tea, lemon thyme for your special chicken dish, or basil for fresh Caprese salads. A few fragrant herbs, tucked in a bay window or over your sink, will enhance your kitchen on multi-sensory levels…and just might inspire you to try some new recipes, too!
However, You Roll…
When it’s time to “roll out” a fresh look for your small kitchen, come see us at Diamond Kitchen and Bath. We know how to light up dark corners, put neglected spots to work, and make your dream kitchen come true — no matter how small!