Design Dilemma: Easy Ways to a Beautiful but Functional Kitchen
Why is it that designing a beautiful and functional kitchen seems so hard?
Let’s see…a myriad of reasons, including space and money limitations. And like it or not, there are usually good reasons why the refrigerator has to go there, and the stove has to go there.
Rest assured, however, there are a few low-budget steps you canÂ take that will substantially improve the look and functionality of your kitchen. For the fraction of the cost of an expensive kitchen remodel, you can achieve a whole new look. Here’s how:
1)Â Change yourÂ lighting. In a kitchen, you don’t need bright overhead lights as much as you need very good task lighting. You want lights over the stove, lights over the sink, lights directed at countertops and working surfaces and lights under cabinets. So replace that big (and ugly) fluorescent ceiling panel with tasks lights that will make preparation and cooking easier. The added benefit of more directed track and spot lighting is that it will lend your kitchen a warmth and drama that bland overhead lighting can’t.
2) Cut the clutter. It’s hard to work on countertops cluttered with keys, magazines, the day’s mail, etc. It ain’t pretty, either. So don’tÂ let the non-kitchen clutter take over your work space. And the same goes for seldom-used cooking gadgets (juicers, mixers,Â blenders,Â and the like). If you’re not using an item on a daily basis, it shouldn’t be out on your counter. If you do have decorativeÂ kitchen applianceÂ that you’d like to display, choose just one. You don’t need 10 canisters for cooking utensils and 5 canisters for dry goods hogging precious counterspace.
3) If you have a large kitchen, look for ways to break up a large expanse of cabinetry. Cherry cabinets can be beautiful but cherry cabinets ad infinitum can get a little overpowering. If you’ve got tons and tons of cabinets, vary your cabinetry style for a little variety.Â Add some open shelves, glass cabinet doors, a few metal racks to keep things interesting. You can get a whole new look simply be removing a few cabinet doors.
4) If you have a tiny kitchen, consider removing cabinet doors. Small kitchens will sometimes feel larger with open shelving rather than closed cabinetry. How well this works, of course, depends on whether you can keepÂ what’s inside the cabinet neat and organized. Â Consider opening up cabinets housing plates, cupsÂ and glasses. (They’re easier toÂ keep organized and will present a uniform, cohesive look.) Keep foodstuffs underwraps as it’s difficult to keep food packaging looking cohesive.
5) Invest in organizers. One of the best starts to a beautiful kitchen is investing in the simple organizers that make cooking a breeze. These include spice racks, racks to hold pot lids, cabinet inserts to plastic bags, sliding cabinet inserts to hold pots and pans, etc. The wonder of organizers is that they free up space in other parts of your kitchen. For example, someone with a small kitchen might consider a cabinet insert to hold trash, thus eliminating the need for a stand-alone trash can.
6) Consider painting your cabinets. Maybe you have the standard issue oak cabinets of the 90s and it feels a bit dated. Paint your cabinets forÂ a whole new look. A high-gloss paint will instantly bring your cabinets into the 21st century atÂ a fraction of the cost of buying entirely new ones.
Image: Fuse Interiors, Dublin, thekitchendesigner.org, apartmenttherapy.com