Interiors | 16 September 2015Design Ideas for Cozy Kitchens Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Whether you’re looking to completely remodel your kitchen or simply update it with a few touches, there’s no shortage of inspiration out there, though finding the right place to start for your specific kitchen can be a bit daunting. Luckily, author Chris Peterson has written Kitchen Ideas You Can Use, a new book about how we can highlight our kitchen’s appeal and function with beautiful, on-trend, and comfortable design ideas. Here he shares insights about “styling by size” and getting the most out of cozy kitchens. Bringing your own kitchen design vision to life entails many considerations—the room’s social uses, the practical aspects of how you prefer to prepare and cook food, the home’s overall design style—but none have a greater impact than the physical size and layout of the space. In fact, the dimensions of the room may actually lead you toward one design style or another. For example, modern designs are best suited to an open floor plan and larger spaces; informal country styles work well in more modest kitchens. In any case, unless you’re adding onto your home or spending a small fortune changing the actual layout of the structure, you’ll have to work within the confines of a predetermined space. Start with the practical matters. Installing an island or moving cabinets is a big, expensive change that can alter the “work triangle” within your kitchen and make the kitchen more usable. But you can also make smaller alterations that perk up the look of the room and make it more comfortable for cooking, eating, and just sitting around socializing. The right lighting fixtures can make dark corners of a larger kitchen more user friendly and may even visually expand the space, while updated countertops can give any size kitchen a facelift. You may not own a kitchen that is exactly the size and configuration you always envisioned, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the perfect kitchen for you, your family, and friends. It’s just a matter of making the most of the space you have and focusing on the high points and potential in the room. Photo credit: Eric Roth / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use EXPLOIT THE WORK TRIANGLE. The triangle formed between the stove, sink/prep area, and refrigerator is the core of how efficient your kitchen will be. Experts call this the work triangle, and it should be as compact as possible to limit the number of steps you need to take from one area to the next. This compact kitchen includes an island sink that makes moving from food prep to cooktop as simple as turning around. Thoughtful layout like this is the key to any successful kitchen design, but is especially important in smaller rooms. ………………………………………………….. Photo credit: courtesy of Urban Homes / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use ADAPT TO NARROW KITCHENS. Small, narrow kitchens require creativity to make the most of the limited space. The cabinets and countertops in this tiny room are narrower than standard, to allow for as much open floor space as possible. The stove, refrigerator, and sink are perfectly positioned in relationship to one another to ensure economy of movement in the room. Glass cabinet fronts make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. ………………………………………………….. Photo credit: courtesy of Formica Corporation / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use USE CLUTTER FOR COMFORT IN A SMALL KITCHEN. As this kitchen layout shows, a small space doesn’t necessarily need to be austere to be usable and welcoming. This cozy room uses a mix of open, vertical, and overhead storage to optimize every square inch. Although the kitchen appears to be jam packed, everything has a place, and it’s easy to find whatever the cook might need. It’s also a very homey look that seems both fun and comfortable. ………………………………………………….. Photo credit: courtesy of Canyon Creek Cabinet Company / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use LEVERAGE LIGHT TONES TO OPEN UP A SMALL KITCHEN. The lovely natural wood finish and simple lines of the wall and base cabinets, along with the timeless muted green of the island, help visually expand this modest kitchen. The same idea drove the choice of light pine for the flooring rather than darker oak or other wood, and bright white for the ceiling. It helps that the window has not been blocked by a window treatment and that the countertop surfaces are all light and bright as well. ………………………………………………….. Photo credit: courtesy of KraftMaid / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use BREAK THE WINDOW . . . RULES. In general, it’s not a good idea to block a window with a structural element. But that rule can be bent if not broken, as this kitchen clearly shows. The designer has run open shelving across two double-hung windows. The operable part of the window is below where the shelf bisects the opening, allowing the window to function as it would otherwise. The design creates dynamic lines where you wouldn’t expect them and allows the homeowner to store elegant vessels and cookware fully illuminated by the sun streaming through the windows. It’s an unusual design tactic, but one that works well here. ………………………………………………….. Photo credit: courtesy of Brooks Custom / Kitchen Ideas You Can Use FOCUS ON STANDOUT MATERIALS TO MAKE SMALL KITCHENS SPECIAL. The unforgettable zebrawood countertop in this kitchen provides stunning visual patterns and a rich, deep finish, serving as a centerpiece that contrasts the understated cabinetry and walls. Because the surface only needs to cover a small area, the expense was kept to a minimum while the eye appeal is at maximum. Exotic hardwoods offer a range of exceptional looks and long-term durability, making them ideal choices for special surfaces. ————————————————- Kitchen Ideas You Can Use Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: About Kitchen Ideas You Can Use: The kitchen: command center of the home, headquarters for all things edible, family-member traffic funnel. Whether you’re a bachelor or bachelorette in a small starter home or part of a larger family, if this isn’t the most-used room in your house, you must not be home very often. In the kitchen, functionality and aesthetics go hand-in-hand; the mood is just as important as the machinery, and if you’re looking to capitalize on the space in your home – no matter how big or small – you’re going to need a few pointers. Fortunately, in Kitchen Ideas You Can Use, our home Do-It-Yourself expert Chris Peterson gives you a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of all the kitchen essentials: cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, wall treatments, storage, islands, eat-in areas, lighting, and ventilation. Kitchen remodeling is normally the most expensive home improvement project. But with over 300 inspiring photographs, Peterson’s straightforward insights, and our attention to the latest trends from professional designers, you can skip the cost of hiring a professional and craft your own kitchen–your own way. From choosing between traditional and induction cooktops to drawing up the most efficient layout scheme and landing on that perfect backsplash, Kitchen Ideas You Can Use might finally be the one thing in your house more useful than the microwave. About the Author: Chris Peterson is a professional writer and editor based in the pretty little town of Ashland, Oregon. An expert in home design, repair and renovation and an avid cook, he’s the author of “Manskills”, “When Duct Tape Just Isn’t Enough: Quick Fixes for Everyday Disasters,” “A Man’s Whirled: Every Guy’s Guide to Cooking with the Blender,” and several other books. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.