Significant Properties

5 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference in Your Kitchen

5/27/2021 | Lauren Bald
Kerri Fukui

At cityhomeDESIGN, we adore the paint swatches and wallpaper samples that come with a complete overhaul, but we also understand that sometimes the simplest of tweaks can result in an entirely new vibe for your space. One of our most recently completed design projects perfectly demonstrates that you don’t always need a complete overhaul to breathe new life into your home. Here are five little changes that can have a big impact on your space...

1. Designate an appliance garage. This tip is for those of us who try—and struggle—to be minimal. If you've grown tired of cluttered countertops, ugly toasters, or more cords than you can count, an “appliance garage” can be a major help. They can be made in many sizes/depths and tailored to your exact equipment needs. (Pro tip: don't forget to add enough outlets and a light'll need to work that espresso maker before the sun rises.) 

2. Use panel-ready appliances. There are plenty of economic options for panel-ready appliances these days, and it's an ideal solution to the decision between stainless, silver, black stainless, or off-silver appliances. (For those not in the know, “panel-ready” appliances are made to allow a custom cover to attach to the face, meaning the finish’s appearance can be swapped out to match or accent your existing kitchen setup without purchasing a whole new appliance.) In this instance, we chose a panel-ready fridge/freezer and dishwasher, enabling these bigger items to disappear into the cabinetry. This is particularly useful in smaller kitchens—keeping the space from being broken up by too many different finishes or materials makes it seem much larger.
3. Mix and match lighting. It's important to have task lighting in a kitchen, so don't skimp on the can lights. That said, overhead lighting doesn't need to—and shouldn't be—your only source of light in the kitchen. Leave space for more decorative sconces that can dress up the room while still being functional. 

4.  Add personal touches. A sterile kitchen is only appealing when the literal definition is applied. Where design is concerned, however, we always prefer to incorporate personal items from our clients' lives. Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and we're big proponents of filling the "popular" spaces in our homes with things that promote happiness or bring good memories. Layering a new space with vintage rugs and art will also add a bit of character and warmth to the space. 

5. Get rid of your cabinets. From the standpoint of functionality, deep cabinets are more trouble than they're worth. Ever done spring cleaning and found some canned goods from 20+ years ago stashed in the back? Relatable. Swapping out your cabinets for deep, lower drawers enables you to stay organized by keeping everything where you can see it. Stack your plates, cups, pots and pans, and even packaged food in a drawer (this will also eliminate having to stand on a stool and look through too-high uppers). 

Click here to see more images from this project!

BEFORE: This builder flip galley kitchen felt closed in and cluttered and didn't capitalize on natural light sources.

AFTER: We added some bold color, removed the unnecessary cabinetry, and added a custom walnut appliance garage and panel-front appliances.


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