WRITER | JULIE HOLMES
PHOTO| ASHLEY AVILA PHOTOGRAPHY
Small spaces can be challenging to design but rewarding once finished. In today’s housing climate, we see more and more demand for less overall square footage. To make the most of smaller spaces, one must be smart and practical, but smart and practical certainly needn’t preclude good design.
Open floor plans, including a centralized kitchen, are standard now. The challenge, especially in a small space, is to make it feel as though you aren’t always in the kitchen. One way to accomplish this is to consider repeating colors from the surrounding spaces in the kitchen for a seamless connection. For example, use one floor covering or paint color throughout. Mix up your metal finishes in hardware and lighting and repeat!
We are experiencing an industry-wide push for contemporary design. Streamlining interiors works doubly to achieve a modern feel and to maximize space. For example, integrated appliances save space and do not interfere or distract from the aesthetic. Dishwashers, refrigerators, and warming drawers blend seamlessly behind coordinating cabinet panels. Visually speaking, the more color blocking you do with materials, the easier it is for the eye to move from space to space. If a countertop is dark, try a dark faucet and sink as well. It’s bold but has a surprisingly quiet effect.
Designers are using more and more drawers in their kitchen and bath designs. Everything from glassware to plates and food can be stored neatly and efficiently in drawers. The look of all horizontal lines is fresh and clean, not to mention the storage where nothing gets lost in the back! Drawers within drawers are also an amazing space-saving technique; not only do they keep your small space looking more refined, but they also allow you to access a deeper middle drawer while still having a place for small items like cutlery and utensils.
When it comes to seating in a kitchen of small stature, try using a banquette. This creates one free wall where you don’t have to consider traffic flow or allocating enough seat depth. Additionally, you may find that a banquette allows for more overall dining space than a central table. Another space-saving technique is to connect the dining table or booth to the island.
Windows, doors, and ceiling heights can be both artful and architectural highlights in a small space. If the opportunity is available to have high ceilings, take it! Sometimes, however, that luxury is not available. If your small space has low ceilings, make your own interest! For starters, paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. Whether dark or light, this trick makes it harder to see the break of the ceiling and fools the eye into thinking it is higher. Make the doors a feature, too. Try using a deep contrasting color for maximum interest and to turn the focus away from the overall space and into the details. Finally, when it comes to windows, use plantation shutters, especially in kitchens and baths. The wood feature takes up little visual space while adding an interesting and impactful design element. The look of shutters can translate from modern to traditional, and the optional colors make this application relevant in any design.
Small spaces are like jewel boxes; all of the hard work and attention to detail pays off tenfold as you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all at once. Whether sleek and modern or just petite and charming, a small home can pack the same punch and functionality of any of its larger counterparts.