Hidden Spaces in Your Small Kitchen

Employ these designer strategies to make a petite kitchen feel roomier and more user-friendly.

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Bold Red Kitchen Cabinets

Go Vertical

This kitchen takes a page from the musical chairs notebook and goes one better by maximizing the vertical as well as horizontal possibilities. Los Angeles designer Mary Broerman, CCIDC, reconceived the spatial arrangement in this roughly 9'x9' kitchen by installing high-gloss red and gray laminate cabinets. "The view in this photo is from the adjacent dining room," she says. "Before, you were looking at clutter that was very unappealing, not to mention underused space. Now, your eye is drawn to the beautiful glassware the owner keeps in her display cabinets near the ceiling."

The footprint of the room did not change, nor did the eight-foot ceiling height. But because the couple who own the kitchen prefer dining out to cooking in, Broerman was able to economize on appliances: the drawers to the left of the lower bank of gray cabinets are a compact refrigerator and freezer. The cooktop was moved underneath the combination microwave/convection oven/steamer and the traditional oven was jettisoned.

Broerman notes the color combo as an important part of the vertical transformation. If the cabinets had been all red, your eye wouldn't know where to land. "You don't have to have the same color on your base cabinets as your upper cabinets," she says. "In this case, the gray cabinets on the bottom allowed the red ones on top to give punch and drama. You have a sense that the ceiling is higher because the red is taking on so much power."

 

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