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Cool Homes

Get Cooking With These Ideas For Small-Space Kitchens

By Michelle Hopkins Oct 5, 2015

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The kitchen has long had the distinction as being the epicentre of the home. It’s a gathering place for family and friends alike. When it comes to condo-size kitchens, the lack of storage can be a real problem. It doesn’t have to be! It’s actually an opportunity for condo owners to think outside the box in order to make the most of the space they do have.

There are many ways to create storage solutions for homes that lack storage space according to Huong Nguyen, founder and creative director of The Spotted Frog.  

“First off, you can create the illusion of space by keeping your colour palette light,” says Nguyen, who has designed numerous condominiums including for local hero Rick Hansen.

“White kitchens are really hot, so go with white, cream, light gray or taupe (the red-hot hue in Europe right now). North America is in love with grey right now, but go with a light- to medium-toned grey, not charcoal.”

Lighter woods, such as maple, walnut or bamboo, also create the appearance of more space.

“Keep your tones soft with not a lot of contrast,” she adds.

Now that your kitchen appears more spacious what do you do about that lack of storage? With a little creative brainstorming and a good dose of DIY elbow grease, it’s amazing what can be achieved.

Nguyen’s list of clever ways to add extra storage

  • Many kitchens have that awkward dead space that typically collects dust. You know that space between the top of the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling? You will be surprised at how much more storage room that gap can generate. You can either add wicker or wire baskets up there to stash items you don’t use every day, or you can use that extra space to display your favourite cookbooks.
    “You can even make your own wooden wine rack and keep your wine bottles up there,” says Nguyen.
    Or head over to your local hardware store, buy some lumber cut to size and build a couple of shelves to stack dishes on. (All you need to do is paint them).
  • Maximize your cabinetry by taking it right up to the ceiling. “By removing the dead space, the soffit, you can add extra cabinets.” If you have older cabinetry, you can paint or stain them all the same colour for uniformity.
  • If you have nine-foot ceilings, you can extend your cabinetry by stacking two on top of each other. “You can add glass doors on some of them so that you can display your collection of nice glasses or dishes.”
  • You know that corner cabinet sometimes dubbed the Bermuda Triangle or blind corner – the one that you can’t even remember what you’ve stored in there because you have to get on your hands and knees to reach to the far back? Well, trending right now is smart storage, the brains, if you will, of corner cabinetry.  “Kitchen cabinet manufacturers are finding great new ways to use this often seldom-used storage space by adding inside cabinet organizers.” Think pull-outs, swing-out drawers or Lazy Susans.
  • Another bane of kitchens is underneath the sink. You can make it work harder and better by adding glide outs or pull outs which are ergonomically designed for ease. Your bottom shelf glide out can be a great place to put two or three organizers that can play host to your recycling, garbage, etc.
    Then, add adhesive removable hooks to the inside door to store light items such as dish cloths and sponges.
  • Your countertops are prime real estate – use them wisely. If you clutter your counters it will only make your kitchen appear smaller. “We have installed an appliance garage in three condos recently. It looks similar to a mini roll-down desk. It is built into your cabinetry (but it touches the countertop) to stash away your small appliances, such as your toaster and coffee machine.”
  • Another countertop hog is the knife block. You can purchase a magnetic strip that mounts on your backsplash to store your kitchen knives.  
  • Talking about your backsplash – hang racks for your favourite coffee mugs or anything else that is taking up precious room.
  • Can’t accommodate a kitchen island? Consider a rolling cart. “You can buy really nice, small rolling carts (or tea carts), which have shelving below to store lots of small items.”
  • Empty walls are also valuable real estate. Use some of your walls to hang pots, spice racks or to organize your display-worthy kitchen gadgets that you love.
  • If you have it in your budget, consider putting in a built-in kitchen banquette. Banquettes are a great solution for smaller kitchens because you can fit more diners into the space that might be too tight for four chairs and a table. Pocket-size banquettes also offer tons of storage in the seats. “Lift up the seats and you have tons of room for those big serving platters that don’t fit anywhere else.”
Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.
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