There’s a trend in home design and remodeling moving away from huge spaces to compact cottage-style living. A small kitchen design in your Madison WI home may fit your lifestyle, budget and floorplan perfectly.
When the country moved away from the decorative Victorian style to modern homes designed for a growing 20th century population, the sprawling ranch became popular as did the Craftsman-style home. Now, almost 20 years into the 21st century the Craftsman-style and similar more modest concepts are back in vogue. Throughout Madison and Dane County there are examples of older homes where a ballroom-sized kitchen isn’t feasible. A huge kitchen isn’t possible. It doesn’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean you cannot have the latest, most efficient kitchen floor plan.
Advantages In Small Kitchen Design
Bigger is not always better. Small kitchens, designed for efficiency, have advantages. Consider these design features:
- Efficient work flow – the key element to an efficient kitchen is known as the “work triangle.” It’s the space you need to move from food prep to cooking to cleanup. In a well-designed small kitchen you can move from one spot to another within a few steps. Do you really want to walk 10- or 20- feet from your sink to refrigerator?
- Maximum value from high-end materials – the overall cost of remodeling a small kitchen in an older home is considerably less than taking on a huge expansion. Savings are easily measured in quantities of flooring, tile and countertops alone. Using fewer materials in a smaller space leaves room in the budget for more high-end materials.
- Simple floorplans – true, because space is limited there are fewer options, but more attention can be paid to decor details, fixtures and amenities. Maximize space and efficiency. Add special touches.
- Less disruption – a remodeling project is a major disruption in your daily life. The scale of the project magnifies the impact on your family while it is in the works. Obviously, a smaller-scale renovation should take less time than massive structural changes. Don’t underestimate the disruption in your life from tradesmen coming and going, traffic on your street increasing and the normal dust and debris of a jobsite. And don’t undervalue the ability to get into your new kitchen as soon as possible.
Design Thoughts For Smaller Kitchens
Everywhere you look – magazines, videos and TV – designers push big is the only way to remodel your kitchen. Here are a few basic thoughts to consider before taking a big step:
- A kitchen island is not a “must” – kitchen islands are “space hogs.” They are not as useful in every home as TV designers suggest.
- Don’t waste cabinetry space – standard kitchen cabinets often have open space between their top and the ceiling. Make the most of that space with cabinets stretching to the ceiling. What’s more useful, 12 or more feet of usable shelves, or open space collecting dust?
- Keep it light – a drawback of extending cabinets is darkening the room. One cure is using glass-front cabinets or open shelves. Adding in-cabinet lights is a valuable option, too. Stick with lighter colors to open the space visually.
Common Kitchen Updates
Among the most useful tips from professional designers is to “keep it simple.” Minimize clutter and emphasize the basics in a small kitchen floor plan. Renovating the kitchen in a smaller, older home takes more fineness and planning than many think. It is harder to make the most of a limited space than to knock out walls and make one big room. When starting a kitchen remodel in Madison WI there are a few basic elements that interior designers address first in a small kitchen remodel:
- Fixtures, faucets and sinks
Lighting – providing enough light to work efficiently is a top priority, especially if your kitchen doesn’t have the benefit of a window. Lighting options might include adding a window or skylight, but in many cases that isn’t possible. Two forms of lights are top considerations. One because it provides a real advantage and one because it does not:
- Under-cabinet lights – there are dozens of high-intensity lights that are installed under cabinets to provide work surface illumination. They are ideal in small spaces where adequate overhead lighting is missing. Light directed to your work surface is a true advantage.
- Pendant lights – these are excellent additions to spacious rooms with high ceilings, but easily lose their effectiveness in a more confined space. The large, bulky pendants that are so popular in publications and video renovations overwhelm a small space, making it appear even for cramped. Consider other options in a small kitchen plan.
Small Kitchen Makeovers – Top To Bottom
Attention to small details pays big dividends when space is at a premium. In addition to lighting, these areas of concentration make a huge difference;
Flooring – it sounds wrong, but to make the most of floor tiles in a small space, use big tile. It is a visual illusion. Tiny floor tiles make a small kitchen feel “busy” and cramped. Large tiles make it feel airier and larger. The main reason is with large tiles you have fewer grout lines to break up the impact. Interior designers recommend nothing smaller than 12- by 12-inch tiles – go bigger if you can. If you’re using one of the new high-tech vinyl floors or any other choice, always keep it light. Dark floors make the even large spaces seem small.
Backsplash – once an afterthought in the design of a kitchen, the modern backsplash is a creative element. Make the most of it. Of course, the backsplash is a vital part of an efficient kitchen and protects the wall but in a small space it does more. It’s the perfect place to express your creativity and provide a bright spot at the same time. Because it will be relatively small, you can splurge on specialty materials – antique tin, a glass tile mosaic or lavish limestone.
Fixtures, faucets and sinks – because you’re working with smaller areas you can apply more of the budget to upgrades; especially when it comes to kitchen sinks and faucets. Upgrading sinks for both style and function is an important step. Splurge on a new designer sink with matching high-tech fixtures. In a big kitchen the trend is to install wide, expansive sinks. In a small kitchen think depth, not width. A deep sink provides the same or more capacity while taking up less valuable countertop space.
Small Kitchen Design Fits Your Needs, Not Trends
Not every home in Dane County is ready to take on a make-over like you see on TV. And not everyone should think they need to. The key to a successful kitchen remodel is making the most of your space and creating a room that works for you – today and well into the future. That might be a vast open floor plan or it might be a comfy, compact room to create meals for friends and family.
As a remodeling plan takes shape in your mind Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is ready to make it happen. Call 608-825-4500, or email us. We’ll take your ideas, evaluate your space and create a plan for a successful makeover. We know that big is not always better and understand the value of a small kitchen design for your Madison WI area home.