3 design ideas for a small kitchen

Considering a reno of your cramped kitchen? Here are some helpful hints you should keep in mind.

IKEA white small kitchen Photography courtesy of IKEA.


1. White is always right. I track colour trends as closely as the next kitchen connoisseur, but a small kitchen is simply not the place to indulge your passion for fashion. The bones of a kitchen have to stand the test of time, and that means a neutral foundation. And by neutral, I of course mean white. White, white, white. I know it’s become common for design “experts” to recommend “breaking the rules”by using dark colours in small spaces, but you have to keep in mind that often times, these “experts” consider a 2,000 square foot home to be cramped quarters. Hardly a realistic reflection of how we really live. If you’re still doubtful, consider this: When we interviewed Jillian Harris and Todd Talbot from W Network’s “Love it or List it: Vancouver” for a recent issue of Canadian Living, they actually agreed (shocker!) that white kitchens were the way to go. That’s gotta count for something!

2. Choose one style of cabinetry. Sometimes, in a mid- to large-scale kitchen, you’ll see a designer install contrasting cabinet finishes on the wall and kitchen island. Occasionally, they’ll even mix-and-match the style and finish of the upper and lower cabinets. This doesn’t work quite as well with a small kitchen, where the aim is to minimize the number of visual “breaks” in the design. To break up the monotony of a single style of cabinetry, consider subbing in a few pretty glass-panelled cupboard doors, as in the IKEA kitchen above.

3. Add character with textiles. In a room that’s filled with hard, cold surfaces, it’s vitally important to add an element of softeness. And that’s why I’ll always make room for a rug in the kitchen—even if it’s a simple two-by-three foot rag-rug mat in front of the kitchen sink. I absolutely adore the Persian-style runner in this narrow galley kitchen above, not just for aesthetic reasons, but also because it draws attention to the length of the room—which is, frankly, the only thing that’s making this pint-sized space feel less-than-claustrophobic. There are some great bargains to be had in the Persian runner category at eCarpetGallery. Alternatively, you might consider some pretty printed tea towels to add a bit of spice to the small space. My go-to source is this category is an incredibly talented Canadian designer by the name of Avril Loreti. I  met her at the One of a Kind Show several seasons back, and her creative kitchen textile designs never fail to impress. Check it out!


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