Apartments usually have tiny kitchens. Learn to love yours with a few simple tricks.
If you find the perfect apartment – great location, close to work, plenty of parking, great shopping, beautiful parks, walkable downtown area – and you love everything but the miniscule kitchen, go ahead. Take the plunge. Small kitchens can be loveable, too!
Lights and mirrors are a great way to make any small space feel larger. Use under-the-counter lighting and decorate with mirrors – your kitchen will instantly open up. Think outside the box when decorating your tiny kitchen and decorate with what you love best, even if you normally wouldn’t consider it for a kitchen – an antique chandelier instead of the usual overhead lights, for example.
If you don’t have a pantry, convert a nearby closet into one. Find a shelving unit to fit the space or install shelves. Line the shelves with bins and put seldom-used appliances on the top shelf, then use the bins to sort like items (such as all spices in one bin). A pull-out table and a shelf for the microwave can turn this closet into a mini cooking area.
Most design articles you’ll find will tell you to keep the furniture small, simple, and clean. Even clear – it will disappear in a small space. But if you prefer the ornate and fancy, the best rule in decorating small spaces is – break the rules! As long as it fits and you can move around it comfortably, it will work in your kitchen space.
Hang utensils. Install a rack and keep them handy yet off the counter. A pot rack is also a great idea – suspended from the ceiling, it is focal point as well as a practical place to keep your pots and pans (freeing up valuable cabinet space).
Speaking of cabinets, carefully remove a door or two (saving all of the hardware) and tuck it away on a closet shelf. Use paint in a contrasting color or use patterned contact paper or fabric (use this great tip: spray starch will adhere fabric to the wall – it peels right off when you have to remove it, then just wash the wall clean) to decorate the inside of the cabinet, and display your favorite dishes in this space. The doors can quickly go back on when you move, and the look of open cabinets will instantly open up your small space.
Organization is very important in a small space. Once things become jumbled, you’ll never find anything. It may seem like an oxymoron, but small spaces can swallow up your stuff. Use bins, baskets, and shelves and keep everything in its place. If you don’t need something, throw it out. Go through the kitchen every so often and toss whatever you don’t use.
If the kitchen is where you fling your keys, mail, sunglasses, and various other objects that don’t belong in the kitchen, then find a new “junk” spot. A small table by the front door with a basket for keys and change, a hook for reusable grocery bags, your purse, hat, and coat, a decorative box for mail, and shelving for things like your phone charger will help free up the kitchen counter.
If you lack counter space, get rid the kitchen table and chairs – instead, get a rolling kitchen cart with a butcher-block or stainless steel top. Find one with storage underneath and perhaps a towel rack on the side. Roll it into the kitchen for prep work, such as chopping vegetables, then roll it back when you’re done. Keep a couple of bar stools in the corners and convert the cart into a dining table when it is time to eat.
Don’t let a small kitchen stop you from getting the apartment you want – with a little creativity, that small space can be fabulous!