One of the simplest ways of "expanding" a kitchen is incorporating glass, which lets you see through the objects, thereby enhancing the feeling of spaciousness or what designers call "negative space." Try a glass counter or tabletop, or glass door cabinets.
Country kitchens are an obvious choice for those who love comfort. Who wouldn’t enjoy sitting down to a meal and feeling as though they’ve been transported to a charming farmhouse?
Face it, in a small space you can’t have a kitchen that is a jack-of-all-trades — accommodating schoolwork, mail, laundry, recipe hunting and cooking duties. Unless you don’t cook at all (in which case, feel free to store your out-of-season clothes in the kitchen cabinets!), the small kitchen’s main chore is meal prep.
Think about what kind of design (whether custom or prefabricated) is going to provide the most utility by asking the following questions: What will it be used for the most? What particular features will enhance the existing kitchen? What does the space need? If the room lacks cabinet space, you’ll want storage. If you don’t have a kitchen or dining room table (and even if you do), extra seating might be a priority.
A good general rule for enclosed kitchens is to place it in the center of the room. That way it’s equally accessible from all sides and won’t be an obstacle for people walking through. That placement might not work best for all kitchens, however. A perimeter island, for example, might work better with open floor plans.
You may not have wide-open spaces in your pint-sized kitchen, but you do have lots of choices. In fact, these choices loom larger in a small space than in today’s basic Taj Mahal-sized kitchen. In a big area you can more easily hide flaws or separate competing styles; in a small space everything really has to work, including the mix of wood and metals and other surface materials.
Size and shape are also determined by room’s layout; Allow for at least 36-48 inches between the perimeter of the island and the surrounding cabinets so there’s enough room for people to move around.
Your local storage and home improvement store will have a wide variety of drawer organizers. Try to separate large and small utensils from each other. This allows for ease of choosing the right utensil without fumbling and searching. Locating aluminum foil, wax paper, trash bags, and storage bags in a drawer prevents boxes from collapsing and falling off of a pantry shelf.
Most electric and gas ranges are 30-inches wide, and what we buy and test. Pro-style ranges usually span 36 inches or more. We test both 30-inch and 36-inch pro-style ranges. They are big on style, but are not the best performing ranges we have tested. Even regular ranges now have beefy knobs, rugged grates, style, and stainless trim for a lot less money.
At Consumer Reports we buy every range we test. So we know what it is like to pay big money for pro-style ranges. We do not rate them on style—that is your call—but we do test and score them on how quickly they deliver cooktop heat, simmering, baking, broiling, and self-cleaning, just as with we do with all ranges we test.
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