Last week, I was featured in an article in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine about secrets to small spaces. This is a topic that designers and contractors like me have been speaking to since everyone in America had avocado green kitchens. Thank goodness not all things retro make comebacks, huh?
Well, at a party at my home this weekend this topic seemed to take over much of the conversation around -- where else? -- the kitchen! I happen to be very fortunate and have quite a large kitchen. I remember when we were house hunting, the size of the kitchen was always, unfailingly, the thing the energetic real estate lady went on and on about. "Wait till you see the kitchen!"
Yes, big kitchens are nice. But so many of us do not have them because we live in big city apartments or older homes. I grew up in a home with a galley kitchen and I turned out just fine. Meals were prepared in that kitchen that created memories I carry with me still today. Most of my single girl days were lived in Manhattan and Miami apartments with small kitchens. They never stopped me from having great parties or meals with friends. So while I love having a sitting room and a Persian rug in my kitchen today, a small kitchen is equally as fabulous if you know how to maximize the space.
Go Up And Down!
Most kitchens have so much unused space, often up to 25%. Make sure you get tall cabinets that go to the ceiling and store the items there that you never use, like the slow cooker your mother gave you and the fondue set you bought for the fondue party you never had. Below, you have tons of space too. Go all the way down and install toe kick drawers to store linens and place mats.
For less than the cost of a large pizza you can buy racks that literally double your cabinet's interiors. There is nothing lazy about a Lazy Susan. She is a kitchen work horse! Get one if you don't have one! The least expensive tip is often the most valuable.
Lighten Up Already!
I am not talking about the colors of your walls. I am talking about all that unneeded stuff you have! Do an inventory and get rid of all the items you would like to convince yourself you will someday use, but in reality never will. Let me help get you started. The eighteen pieces of serveware your mother inlaw gave you (in orange!), popcorn maker, meat grinder, 48 pieces of Tupperware, three Bundt pans... need I continue? Unless you're a diner owner or you're some weird kitchen hoarder, let it go. I did it and got rid of two large garbage bags of old pots and pans and rusty utensils. You don't need four spatulas, just one!
Just Hang Out
Pot racks are chic, classic and save a lot of space. I love them. When you add some lighting, they become the focal point of the kitchen-a fabulous focal point, I might add. Hang your lighting and get rid of any existing fluorescent lighting, please. That pasty blue hue is not a good look. There are tons of other options that look better and conserve more energy. That means, they save money, too.
Go High End If You Can
If you're doing a full remodel, than do it the best you can afford. It is highly likely you will say "Never Again!" when you complete your renovation, so trust me here. A small kitchen, well done with high end appliances and top of the line materials like glass tile, granite countertops and nice flooring speaks volumes. The kitchen is the one place in the house you are almost guaranteed to make every penny back you invest, often more. Don't scrimp here.
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