Search Results for 'small kitchen'

Great Kitchen Ideas For Small Kitchens – Jim Marrazzo

Jim Marrazzo, Designer at Kitchen Views in Newton, MA

There are many ideas for small kitchens. The main thing to do is to improve the use of space in a small area. Try to cut down on unused material in the room and get rid of unused items. Think about replacing the 1970’s microwave that takes up half your counter, and try to replace old appliances with smaller more efficient units. You want to organize your cabinets and clear up the clutter. These things can help you create the illusion of a more spacious kitchen. Removing a few items and organizing your cabinets will make your kitchen more open and friendly.

In the 1970’s, homemakers were proud to display their brand new microwave ovens. The question is if your kitchen is still in the 1970’s.

Today, the focus in kitchen design is placed on maximizing the use of your space, no matter what the size. Small kitchens can work incredibly well if storage is well-organized and work patterns are thought out carefully by a professional designer. You want the space to work for you, and never against you. If you’re feeling like your small kitchen is working against you, you can contact a professional kitchen designer to help you find the best ways to make use of your space.

Even a small kitchen can look and work great!

Even a small kitchen can look and work great!

Jim Marrazzo
Kitchen Views at National Lumber

15 Needham St, Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020 x 118 phone
617-969-7426  fax

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Versatility to Accommodate Color Palette Changes

Big ideas for small spaces

The general rule is to avoid being outlandish with kitchen design choices, as you yourself may get sick of extreme color choices. But if you are a free-spirit who thrives on change, you may want to be bolder with your kitchen design choices. We recommend that you plan ahead so that you can enjoy making changes, but keep it affordable. An experienced kitchen designer can help you build the right bones into the kitchen, which will allow you to adapt — even annually if you desire — to the latest style trends.

Many kitchen remodels — even as recently as a few years ago — were aimed towards resale value. But now, if you are one of the many folks remodeling for their own personal comfort as they stay put longer, you can focus on the way you would like your kitchen to look. Some people make big changes to the ambiance of their kitchen with the time-honored use of paint on the walls and choices of colorful accessories, which can be changed fairly easily if you want to change up the atmosphere of the room. But we have an additional suggestion, which can be more affordable than you’d imagine.

Start by investing in the best cabinetry that you can afford — in a timeless style that suits the rest of the home. Then choose laminate for the countertops rather than stone. Laminate will provide you with a more economical way to make a big style change. It’s no longer your grandmother’s laminate – the number of color choices are staggering. Some even mimic stone. Laminate is a hardworking surface that now is also quite beautiful. This could be a very good choice for a young family. Laminate will provide a hardworking surface to withstand everyday spills, baking projects like holiday cookies and even constructing science projects like the ever popular volcano!

Custom edges from Wilsonart give your countertop the sculpted look of more expensive materials, like granite, at a fraction of the cost. It’s a beautiful look on a modest budget, a choice that feels as smart as it looks.

As time goes by, you might want to repaint the walls and change the accessories. These are manageable changes for a busy family, but that can make your kitchen feel like new.

Then, when the children have become teenagers, because laminate is so affordable you may decide to update the kitchen with a new laminate countertop to freshen up the kitchen. Laminate will continue to serve you well for everything from cooking lessons to pizza parties.

Good planning with an experienced designer will make your kitchen versatile for style changes as the years go by.

Kitchen Views

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Color Schemes

We’ve previously discussed having natural lighting to illuminate and open up your small kitchen space. Color schemes in your kitchen are also very important. Bright colors, especially white, are even more at home in a small kitchen design. Having neutral or bright colored cabinetry and countertops can help significantly to make the kitchen feel more spacious and welcoming.

Too many existing small kitchens are like caves. If there isn’t sufficient natural lighting, even beautiful dark hardwood cabinetry can make the space can feel cramped and unwelcoming. Adding to the dark theme with dark countertops, and possibly dark flooring, will make it feel as if the walls are closing in on you. This isn’t to say you can’t have dark colors in your small kitchen. You just need to be mindful of selecting perhaps the flooring to be dark and the cabinetry to be white or light-colored. Then, depending on your taste, you could choose a dark countertop if you desire. Having plenty of natural light or brighter colors on the painted surfaces and/or accessories to contrast the darker aspects of your kitchen will provide balance.

There are plenty of galley type kitchens that can employ dark cabinetry as long as they have a much lighter colored countertop and perhaps lighter colored (perhaps silver) appliances to contrast the darkness and keep the kitchen more vibrant, because being all dark colored can be dull. It’s a matter of personal taste, but in general, it’s good to keep the colors varied, without being too starkly contrasting — and include plenty of natural and electric lighting. Ask your designer to help you decide what color schemes will work best for your space and your personal style.

Kitchen Views

Small Kitchen Designs That Work – Storage & Organization Solutions from Schrock and KraftMaid

One of the most important aspects of designing a new kitchen is to consider what tasks you want to accomplish and what storage is needed to support those tasks – general cooking, specialty baking, storage of bulk shopping, storage of special small appliances, etc.

Once you know what you need to store, you can begin looking at the multitude of storage solutions that are available from various cabinetry brands. Shown here are some that you may have seen before, and some that may be new to you. You’ll notice that this specialized type of storage helps you to maximize your available space.

KraftMaid upper cabinet wall filler pullout

What may have been wasted space before can now be useful storage with one of many innovative storage solutions. Cabinetry makers know that designers and homeowners want to get maximum storage per square foot. They’ve taken that need and found many creative solutions. Take for example the spice storage rack by KraftMaid shown above, which is only about 2 or 3 inches wide. It goes to show that cabinetry makers now have storage solutions for every nook and cranny of your kitchen.

KraftMaid base cabinet blind corner with swing out

KraftMaid also offers corner cabinetry options that can be used as alternatives to a Lazy Susan, offering an unprecedented amount of storage space for an otherwise very small corner area.

Schrock also provides many unique and versatile storage solutions. For example, look at the pantry option above. It allows for far more storage than you would expect from a three-foot wide space. Pantries will never be the same!

Schrock Utility organizer holding brooms and cleaning supplies

Schrock has another great narrow cabinetry option, a Utility Organizer that’s only six inches deep. It can serve as a broom closet, or even a small pantry. What could you imagine storing here?

The Kitchen Views Design Team has product knowledge of all the options available for you, and the real-life experience to help you find the best storage solutions for your new kitchen.

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Kitchen Appliance Placement

Whether you have a small kitchen that is U-shaped, L-shaped or galley layout, appliance placement is extremely important. A certain amount of space needs to be allowed for opening and closing appliance doors so that accidents don’t occur. When you open the oven to take out the Thanksgiving turkey, you must have elbow room and a safe place to put it down nearby. When you open the refrigerator or freezer, it should be convenient to the task involved.

Think through typical tasks such as putting away groceries, making a meal, or getting a snack and/or beverage. The few extra steps to keep walking around to the open side of the refrigerator door add up and make tasks take longer. Plan to have the door open on the side where your work space is located. When the room layout places elements in the most convenient location, kitchen tasks feel easier and daily frustrations are minimized.

Work Triangles in Various Kitchen Layouts

The old workhorse of kitchen design is the work triangle. It’s the starting point of placement because it works. The three points of the triangle are at the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. The work triangle as a rule should total less than 26 feet and no single leg of the triangle should be shorter than 4 feet or longer than 9 feet. In a small kitchen you probably have no problem in keeping the work triangle small. The challenge is allowing the minimum of 4 feet between work areas. You’re looking for balance so that work areas aren’t too crowded together, but you want the key points on the work triangle as close together as possible to be most efficient.

As you’re well aware, refrigerators come in many shapes and sizes. But there may be some new options you haven’t considered. Both refrigerator and freezers are now available in drawer configurations. These are usually used to place such units in special places in very large kitchens, but perhaps it would solve a space issue in your small kitchen. Once you determine the space available, what options are possible in your particular situation? You may only have a choice of right-hand or left-hand door opening. Or you may be able to have a freezer drawer that pulls out. Some people prefer a side by side refrigerator/freezer, if your space can accommodate it. Other people may want the refrigerator to blend in with the cabinetry by using panels, such as the small refrigerator in “The Gift” from our True Stories section. You also want to be certain to keep the refrigerator away from the main work area, ideally near of the entrance of the room. This way, someone looking for a snack or beverage won’t be in the way of someone trying to prepare a meal.

As for cooking appliances, you can choose a traditional stove or split the tasks with separate cook-top and wall oven. The best way to decide is to think about how cooking is done in your home. Do you mostly use the stove-top? Is the oven only used on special occasions? Let’s not forget the very popular microwave – now available in drawer configuration, or the better known under-cabinet or countertop versions. We do not recommend putting a microwave over the stove-top. When put over a stove, ventilation is diminished and sometimes one would have to reach over a hot stove. Planning for long-term use, reaching can become difficult for some people, while an under-counter microwave is always accessible to everyone.

Last but not least, the kitchen sink is the real workhorse of any kitchen. Depending on the available space, do you want a single sink or a double sink? Will you have a dishwasher? If so, it is traditionally placed near the sink. Think through the way you use the sink work area – rinsing vegetables, filling pots, and washing dishes are the basic tasks to consider.

All of these factors will affect how your work triangle functions in real life. Once you’ve thought through all of these factors, you may still benefit by consulting an experienced designer. The Kitchen Views design team is innovative in finding solutions for small kitchen layouts.

For further insight, you can read Lee Turner’s blog posting on choosing kitchen appliances. Also, you can read Brandy Souza’s posting to learn more about work triangles.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and EfficiencyMatching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home, Natural Lighting

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Natural Lighting

Natural light, if at all possible, is a great thing for a small kitchen. Not only does this save on energy costs as far as lighting is concerned, but it also makes the space feel more open. If you can put an outside window into a kitchen that did not have one before, by all means do so. White cabinetry also helps to make a room brighter, especially in conjunction with natural lighting.

There’s also the option of using skylights, perhaps even a vented skylight to offer fresh air – just be sure to remember to close the vents when it rains. If you’re looking for something a lot smaller than a conventional skylight, you could try a tubular skylight, such as the Sun Tunnel skylight from VELUX.

VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylight in Small Kitchen

An example of VELUX Sun Tunnel skylights in a small kitchen

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and EfficiencyMatching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Matching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home

Last time in this series, we began discussing how style and efficiency are paramount in any small kitchen design. Now that you have considered how to make your new kitchen efficient, you’re ready to work on the style aspects as you select materials and appliances. You want to make sure that color schemes, materials, and other design elements like mouldings and even the type of appliances fit in with the atmosphere of your home. Kitchen Views designers are very experienced and knowledgeable in this aspect of kitchen design. Our designers have worked wonders with many small kitchens over the years.

In determining what style will be best for your kitchen, consider the style of the entire home. Too many kitchen remodels from several decades ago did not take this into consideration, and this is why so many people look to remodel today.

Even if you plan to be in this home for many years, considering cohesive style from a re-sale perspective can be helpful. In the extreme, an ultra-modern kitchen will feel out of place in an antique Victorian house. So let’s stay away from such extreme differences of style. That said it’s absolutely possible to have all the modern conveniences integrated without compromising style. Whether your home is traditional or contemporary, one way to conceal appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers is to use cabinetry panels. An experienced designer knows all the options available and will see that you find the right elements to meet your practical and aesthetic needs.

Here is a beautiful example of a condo in Boston where the home had been brought up to date in every room but the kitchen. When it was time to remodel the kitchen, a skilled kitchen designer re-imagined the space, bringing in the style of the homeowners and transformed their home.

From the True Stories section on the Kitchen Views website, The Gift:


This otherwise stylish condo had a kitchen with old basic cabinets and white appliances in a narrow galley kitchen. A designer from Kitchen Views was able to transform this tiny closed kitchen into this:

With a wall opened into the living area, the newly formed island serves as a casual eating area on one side and kitchen work area on the other. Notice that the refrigerator is hidden behind cabinetry panels, all the more important since this is seen from the stylish living room. The mosaic backsplash makes a strong artistic statement, conveying the homeowners’ style with a functional element of the kitchen.

Here is a view from the kitchen into the living area showing how the shared style of the two spaces now work together beautifully.

On the Kitchen Views website, you can see a video of the homeowner discussing the transformation.

One of the major trends in kitchen design is incorporating green materials. As the kitchen is used every day, the materials need to stand the test of time. An experienced designer will show you choices in materials that are not only environmentally-friendly, but durable. The green cabinetry and countertop lines carried by Kitchen Views are proven to be durable and the cabinetry is manufactured in ways that are good for the planet. Omega and Irpinia are excellent examples of cabinetry brands that have an amazing selection of styles, colors, and materials all durable and good for the environment.

When it comes to countertops, there are plenty of durable options that will beautifully enhance the room’s style. Granite is often everyone’s dream choice, like the Polished Absolute Black Granite used in the kitchen shown above. But there are many brands made with recycled materials that require far less maintenance. Quartz countertops like Cambria actually have patterns that look nearly like granite, except without the sealing and maintenance necessary for granite.

Bearing all this in mind, look around your home and try to incorporate as many design elements as possible from other parts of your home into your kitchen. Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice style for efficiency, no matter what style you prefer. Just find the right designer to help you make your dreams a reality.

Since the kitchen is such an important part of the daily activities in your home, it’s important that its style be an extension of your own personal style. When your surroundings bring you happiness, and the space is well organized, your daily chores won’t seem like work.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and Efficiency

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Style and Efficiency

Small kitchens work best when the space is streamlined down to the essentials for efficiency.

While you are in the planning stage, separate your existing kitchen items into four groups:

  1. Essential items used everyday – pots, pans, dishes, glassware, etc. You will want these within easy reach.
  2. Occasionally used items – party platters, punch bowl, etc. You can plan to store these in harder to reach cabinets, or even move them to a storage area somewhere else in the house.
  3. Items with sentimental value – your grandmother’s mixing bowl reminds you of times you cooked together, but you never use it now. Maybe a display cabinet can be included in the new design to showcase such items.
  4. Never used items – whatever these may be they are taking up valuable space. Let them go. If the item is in good condition and someone else could use it, donate it to a local thrift store. If it’s broken and you kept meaning to get it repaired, just throw it away. If it’s been broken and taking up space for a long time then you don’t really need it.

Make a list of new items that you believe you must have in the redesigned kitchen. Writing them down can help you to evaluate whether they are essential or wish items. Essential items will need an easily accessed place designed to hold them. Wish items may turn out to be only used occasionally. You will have to evaluate whether they need to be in the kitchen, or if possibly a work area just needs to be available for various tasks. For example, baking – you may want special baking equipment and a work area for this activity. But does this task happen often (weekly) or occasionally (for holidays)?

Figuring out how the kitchen design will work in real life is the most important part in any design, but especially with smaller spaces, the placement of everything is extremely vital. Below is a fine example of a small galley kitchen designed by Kitchen Views. But what you cannot see in the photo is how items are organized for use.

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Once you’ve sorted your kitchen items, think about how you use the kitchen. Walk through a task such as preparing a meal and make note of your movements plus how many times you return to a particular appliance or the sink. What items do you use for the task, you want those items to be near your work area. That will help you to visualize the changes that will make things easier in the redesigned kitchen.

For example, perhaps you start at the refrigerator to get ingredients, then prepare them at the counter. Are knives and other prep tools handy? Do you frequently need to rinse vegetables in the sink? Maybe you reach for a pan next and put in the ingredients. Is there counter space near the stove? Are spices handy? Use this method for other tasks such as serving meals, doing dishes, and so on. Take note of how you perform these various tasks, and then you’ll have a good idea what you need in your kitchen remodel when you go to work with a designer.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Design That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen and Small Kitchen Designs That Work

Next in the series: Match the style to be an extension of the rest of your home.

Make a Small Kitchen Remodeling Budget Go a Long Way – Lee Turner

Very few people can afford to say that money is no object when remodeling their kitchen. Most of my clients want to know how to stretch their kitchen remodeling budget to get the most things they want for the least amount of money. My bottom line answer: When budgets are tight, design experience is even more valuable.

A knowledgeable kitchen designer is your best budget stretcher. Experience is the best teacher, so a homeowner cannot hope to learn it all even through online research. You should find an experienced designer to guide you through the planning process and the selection of products. If you cut the wrong corners, the cheapest option won’t hold up in the long run.

First of all, keep an open mind to what the expert suggests. If you have your heart set on something that is particularly expensive, it could swallow your whole budget. A good designer will help you to include all the necessities while working within your budget, and sometimes even a wish item can be included. Finding the right products is essential, and you need to trust your designer’s knowledge and experience. Also, don’t feel that you have to follow a trend; your kitchen should meet your needs and reflect your style so that you will enjoy it for years.

You should spend your money on the bones of the room – the cabinets. But you need to select the right cabinetry for your specific situation and budget. For example, money can be saved by staying away from painted cabinets, appliances that take matching panels and very specialized cabinets. That said, there are still a lot of choices and an innovative designer can show you how stock cabinetry can be used creatively instead of purchasing a specialized cabinet for a particular task.

The Kitchen Views design team is renowned for innovative, cost-saving solutions. Call 1.508.DESIGNS (337-4467) to make an appointment with a designer in your area.

Lee Turner
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St, Newton, MA 02461

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Small Galley Kitchen

There are many things you can do to make a small kitchen space feel more open. Previously, we’ve discussed knocking  a wall down to a suitable height for a countertop. However, this is not always a suitable option.

One alternative is to have a “window” into an adjacent room. This is particularly good for a galley kitchen design, as you can see from the picture below. You could also put storage cabinets both above and below the opening, which would maximize storage space.

Galley Kitchen Design with Open Wall "Window"

This opening keeps anyone in the kitchen from being isolated from the living area. Conversations can flow easily between the rooms during family time together, or when entertaining guests.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Design That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

First in the series: Small Kitchen Designs That Work

Kitchen Views

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