Renovation Advice for Small Kitchens
Smaller Can Be Better
Some kitchen companies and suppliers of modular kitchens will tell you that a small space means big compromises when it comes to designing your kitchen. Our vast experience gives us the edge in customised kitchen designs for small spaces. We know how to achieve a stylish, functional outcome, regardless of how much space you have to work with. All of our kitchens are made-to-measure, ensuring we maximise the space you have available.
Small kitchens actually offer some design advantages over their larger counterparts. For example, cleaning and maintaining a well-designed small kitchen requires less effort. Additionally, a small kitchen is generally more time-efficient as everything you need is within close reach. To achieve equivalent time-efficiency in a large space, kitchen designers must concentrate on the ‘kitchen triangle’ (the distance between the sink, stove/cooktop, and the fridge). When you speak to our designers you’ll be amazed at the options available to make the most of your small kitchen.
Style vs Clutter
For some people the way their kitchen ‘looks’ is almost as important as the way it functions. Modern kitchens feature a seamless look and flow, with the kitchen an essential zone in today’s open-plan homes. Even owners of older homes often aim for an open-plan design when renovating. There’s no doubt that this style fits well with our lifestyles, and the look is very pleasing when everything in the design is carefully planned and executed. Key to achieving the stylish look you’re after is to avoid clutter. Here are some tips in avoiding clutter.
Avoid bulky tapware that overpowers the space. Larger, ‘chef’s kitchens’ often feature tapware that has evolved over the years to become increasingly bigger, featuring vegetable-sprayers, and adjustable heads. While this type of tapware may be perfectly suitable in commercial kitchens or very large spaces, a much more aesthetic look can be achieved with modern, streamlined tapware. Tapware is a small, but important part of achieving proper proportions in the overall design.
What type of handles do you like? Well, the best answer for small kitchens may be no handles at all. While many people still specify handles on doors and cabinets, a sleeker look can be achieved by combining ‘handle-less’ cabinetry with soft–close hardware for your drawers and cabinets. If you’ve decided to include handles we suggest you select a style that is slim and understated, rather that chunky and industrial. We have hundreds of styles to choose from, plus showroom kitchens featuring handle-less cabinetry, to help you make an informed choice to suit your taste. Check out the photos in our kitchen gallery for examples of the look that can be achieved using handle-less cabinetry.
If you intend replacing appliances, and you can afford to spend a few extra dollars, there’s no doubt that integrated appliances will give your kitchen a sleeker, less cluttered look. There’s a range of appliances that can now be integrated into cabinetry, including fridges and dishwashers. When these appliances are closed they look like the rest of your cabinetry. Talking of appliances, you should always allocate sufficient space for a fridge that is large enough to suit your needs. There’s no point expecting a slim-line fridge to cater for a house full of hungry teenagers!
Do you really need a full-sized dishwasher, a 900mm oven with matching cooktop and range-hood? Or would a single-drawer dishwasher and a 600mm cooking package suit your needs just as well? How about sinks? Do you need a double-bowl or would a one-and-three-quarter bowl be equally useful? Carefully consider the size of the appliances in your design as the space you save can be used to increase bench space and storage, without compromising the functionality of your kitchen.
Clutter – the Enemy of Sleek
If you’re targeting a sleek and stylish look, your kitchen design must address the problems of clutter. Microwaves that sit on top of benches can be integrated into kitchen cabinets, liberating valuable bench space and removing an eyesore that otherwise spoils the look of your kitchen. The range of modern storage solutions available to home renovators is extensive and means that almost everything you need in your kitchen can now be stored out of sight. Bins for rubbish and recyclables can slide out of the cabinet next to your sink. Deep, inaccessible corner cabinets can be equipped with slide-out wire ware that will reward you with loads of additional storage. Similarly, pull-out pantries and lazy susans could all be put to good use in your small kitchen.
See-through Looks Bigger
An emerging trend in contemporary kitchen design is incorporating some glass doors to overhead cabinets. The glass can be clear or opaque, depending on your preference. Clear glass also enables you to put beautiful crockery and tableware on display to add character to your kitchen. An alternative to cabinets is open shelving which also opens up the space and allows areas for display; however, most of our clients prefer closed cabinets to minimise cleaning.
Light and Bright
It’s generally not advisable to experiment too much with dark or bold colours in a small kitchen. While black and white can look very stylish, solid colours and busy patterns can be overwhelming and really work against the look you’re trying to achieve. If you’d like colour in your kitchen we recommend using cleverly-placed accessories or selective colour-blocking, for example coloured splashbacks. Apart from the kitchen cabinetry, light-coloured walls and plenty of natural light are worthwhile objectives in a small kitchen, giving the illusion of more space.
Somewhere to Eat and Meet
If your small kitchen has room for an island bench, you may consider incorporating a breakfast bar that can double as additional bench space. A well-designed breakfast bar could serve as a dining table if space in your home is really at a premium. When planning your breakfast bar it’s worth remembering that you can store bar stools underneath, removing clutter without compromising convenience.
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