Open up your narrow kitchen the easy way

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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A lot of us know the feeling of being squeezed into a tiny apartment. It is the price we pay for living in the hustle and bustle of the big city, unless, of course, fortune smiles down on us and we upgrade to a five-star penthouse overlooking the city lights below. 

For the rest of us, we must make do with what we have, and most often than not that includes a tiny kitchen. Modern kitchens in smaller apartments are usually quite narrow, providing us with sufficient drawers and shelves to be practical, yet lacking a bit in the beauty department. 

But all is not lost, for with a little careful planning and creativity, even the narrowest of kitchens can be transformed into a stylish culinary corner. Herewith some smart tips on how to squeeze some more space (and style) out of your narrow kitchen.

Out of sight

modern Kitchen by ZERO9
ZERO9

the blue kitchen

ZERO9

Call it OCD or call it uptight, but a lot of us experience an angry sensation when entering a kitchen and seeing cutlery and utensils all lying in a disordered mess. Here’s a hint: your kitchen doesn't like it either, as this serves to make it look even smaller. 

Don’t overload your kitchen space with cluttered cookware. Rather opt for a fancy pull-out modular shelf to effectively store them out of sight. Not only does this create more storage space for your cutlery and spice collections, but it also frees up a lot of surface (and visual) space. 

The kitchen’s worktop area needs to be clean and open, and storing away embellishments and/or utensils or using smaller cookware goes a long way in accomplishing this. 

It is simple: the less cluttered your kitchen is, the less claustrophobic it will make you feel.

A clear vision

A very simple way of visually expanding your narrow kitchen is by incorporating glass, which allows you to see through objects. This enhances the feeling of spaciousness (or what designers call “negative spaces”). 

This can work with a glass counter or tabletop, or cabinets with glass doors. Glass kitchen doors, leading either to the outside or the next room, can also visually expand the space. One can even opt for a highly reflective glass tile that can give the kitchen an extra sparkle. 

homify hint: Who says mirrors don’t belong in the kitchen? A mirror, in a backsplash or strategically placed around the room, can also lighten up your kitchen look.

Subtle (coloured) furniture

Colours are very important in any space, and they certainly translate visually what we want to say or experience in a room. Although we have nothing against your love for a deep charcoal tone, you might want to consider bringing it into your space-pressed kitchen. 

Light shades allow for more light reflection, thus it makes a room look more open and spacious. Colours that are light, bright and happy will exude the same vibe onto your kitchen walls and cabinets, and will make your culinary work area look wider and taller. 

But feel free to move outside the safe zone of neutral tones – light shades of blues, greens, yellows and other hues can work equally well to inject some lightness and cheeriness into your kitchen.

Have a happy floor

You might think that a patterned floor can make a room look tiny. This is both correct and wrong – it all depends on the type of pattern you choose. 

Interesting patterns, like diamonds or chevrons (arrow shapes), force your vision into a certain direction, creating an illusion of space. This is a unique way to make your kitchen floor look open and wide. 

But your colour choice is also important, for a room that pops with some optimistic colours will make your entire kitchen look roomy as well as interesting. Opt for a pastel-type hue for your cabinets, which will minimise the weight of the furniture. 

This is most definitely a great way to add visual space, and all it takes is some clever colour (and shape) combination!

Stick with shelves

A kitchen is certainly going to have shelves or cabinets, or both. And with a small and narrow kitchen, we want to stack away those utensils and cooking gear to save up on the visual space, right? 

However, a lot of cabinets tend to look quite big, filling up wall space and blocking our views. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to replace your cabinets with open shelves. Open shelves reduce visual bulk, and the higher they are placed, the better they contribute to enhancing space and eliminating clutter. 

We would suggest going with floating shelves instead of shelves with brackets, as the floating kind tend to break the monotony a bit and inject some visual cuteness into your kitchen. Opt for a variety of floating shelves for your different pots, pans and other cooking tools, as this can look ultra stylish.

Let your walls work for you

Your kitchen’s countertop area tends to be the busiest section. Not surprisingly, considering that is where food is prepared and numerous items get placed. The best way to clear this area is to add storage space to your walls. A good tip would be to use as much of that wall space as possible for shelves or hooks (or a cabinet that doesn't take up too much space in your tiny kitchen). 

Chic hanging arrangements can serve for your utensils, such as spatulas. And when it comes to shelves, they should be placed just above your visual line in order not to distract from your focus on the countertop. Corners are usually underutilised, so see how inserting a shelf in there would look.

Place those items or utensils that you don’t use on a regular basis on your highest wall shelf. And suddenly, your narrow kitchen might not seem so narrow any more.

The right light

Why would we settle for kitchen lighting that is anything but perfect? After all, it is a place where we work and focus, like the study. A lot of kitchens have just one central light which lights up the area just below it beautifully – leaving the rest of the room (like the corners) looking dim, small and congested.

There are several different lighting methods to consider. Natural lighting means having windows or a skylight through which to welcome some sunshine. Task lighting is the main source of light with which you work. Accent or focused lighting is used to highlight a certain area or element, and ambient lighting creates an overall glow for the whole room. 

Enjoy playing with different lights to create an illusion of space. Once you get the balance right and everything is well lit, you might find that you actually enjoy spending time in the kitchen. 

After all your hard kitchen work, you must be exhausted. Let’s take a look at some: Bedroom Colour Schemes to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Which tips are you going to try? Can you think of any other hints that might make a narrow kitchen look bigger? Let us know...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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