Small is beautiful, or so they say, but what do you do when faced with a tiny kitchen in need of refurbishment or redesign? Rising house prices are resulting in more and more people not being able to go straight to the larger properties they might have had in mind and so having to opt for a smaller house for the short to medium term.
Yet despite downsizing to a smaller house to fit the budget, many new home owners are not willing to compromise on their wishes entirely – and they are indulging their desire for their own dream home by redesigning certain rooms, such as the kitchen to make them give designer kitchens look or designer bathroom.
Narrow or compact kitchens do not always have to mean limited design choices. Clearly, installing vast eating areas or sprawling kitchen islands is out of the question. However, with a bit of imagination and some clever storage solutions, a savvy designer can make the most out of the reduced space. Food cupboards can be installed above sinks, work surfaces etc. to allow extra room at waist height. Many knife hooks, spice and wine racks come wall-mounted, and cupboard doors slide and glide into the smallest of areas, allowing them to fit into narrow spaces without any problem.
Dishwashers and washing machines are available in slim-line versions, as are fridges, freezers and other electrical appliances. You can get clever oven hobs that are fully integrated into work surfaces and fridges that dispense ice. The trick here is to look for appliances that do more than one job, thus saving on space – and cleaning time. Finally, taps that dispense boiling water do away with the need to find space for a kettle, while built-in waste disposal systems get rid of at least one bin in the room.
Designing for a small kitchen doesn’t mean that there is no room to have some fun. You can still allocate one wall, or part of a wall to be a feature in its own right, with bold wallpaper or paint to highlight it. Clever positioning of mirrors will bring in extra light from the window, while light fittings can be sleek and achingly fashionable – as well as incorporating a fan within the same body to provide an extra function.
The secret is to always keep an eye on using space economically and double up appliances’ functions wherever possible. Yet in the midst of all this practicality and prudence we mustn’t forget to have some fun with some wacky wallpaper, an oversized clock or a beautiful radiator. Plus, there is always the floor and ceiling – two blank canvasses just waiting for a fresh new look.