#1 Get things off the counter and consider investing in built-ins.
Since the original kitchen of this Barcelona flat was not functional, the architects built a new one from scratch while preserving the original tiles. “We designed very plain oak cupboards so the floor would be the protagonist,” Eugeni says. Ceiling lamps by Vico Magistretti illuminate the warm wood countertops. A simple shelf with hooks allows storage above and below, and a double-height dish rack grants twice the drying space.
#2: Go with white and stack it.
For this farmhouse in the Flemish town of Outgaarden, the Belgian architects 51N4E were charged with designing a new kitchen and adjacent storage space. They decided to split their allotted budget thusly: 70 percent of the budget would go to 30 percent of the space, while 30 percent of the budget would go to 70 percent of the space. This allowed them to be extravagant in the tiny jewelbox of a kitchen, fitting it out with fancy appliances, a Corian and 'BMW walnut' laminate island, and Carrara Bianca stone on the floor, while keeping things raw and utilitarian in the huge storage room.
A single rack allows for a stackable washer and kitchen overflow, while the small white island helps the space appear larger.
#3: Try open shelving, and bring in some bold color.
In the kitchen of this Fire Island, New York, home, Angle removed the cabinet doors and applied a coat of Poppy Red paint by Benjamin Moore, and put down a striped linoleum floor to brighten the space.
#4: Take a cue from large kitchens and use overhead space. (Just have a stepstool handy or ask for help from your tall friends.)
Although the Anderson house in Washington state is not small—it measures in at a whopping 3,980 square feet—the 1964 home originally designed by Seattle architect Ibsen Nelson was plagued with a cramped kitchen and a small, dark master bathroom. To brighten and open up these areas, the residents hired Seattle-based Shed Architects to do a renovation.
#5: More off-the-counter storage, and stash your cookbooks in the island.
To cut costs, a family in Brooklyn added inexpensive IKEA drawers to the Douglas fir beams, salvaged in upstate New York and used to build the island and cabinets. The Carrara marble surrounding the sink came from an unused section of slab from a separate renovation. The family's splurge: a Viking hood that hovers above a free-standing range by Bluestar. An island like this would work in a small capacity, too.
#6 Ye olde magnetized knife rack.
Harry Bates designed this simple cedar house for a young family in New York in 1967. Forty years later he updated the place for its new owners, Joe Dolce and Jonathan Burnham. The addition of bright red cabinetry in the kitchen introduces a contemporary style without losing the rustic, vintage quality of the space. To save space, a rack holds pans above with hooks for lighter items below, and an old-fashioned knife rack on the wall reduces the need for a counter-hogging knife block. Read the full article here.
#7: One giant shelf for...everything.
It's no secret that Lukáš Kordík’s kitchen in his tiny Bratislava flat is among our favorites. The cabinetry surrounding the sink is an altered off-the-rack Ikea system. The laminate offers a good punch of blue, and in modernist fashion, Kordík forwent door handles in favor of cutouts. “I wanted the kitchen to be one simple block of color without any additional design,” he says.
At left is a rack/room divider/catch all for his kitchen needs, that leaves everything open and within easy reach.
#8: Go dark and moody, and forgo an island for a table and chairs.
Charles de Lisle, of the interior design firm Your Space, designed the kitchen backsplash for this Palo Alto home of PVC rubber flooring embedded with stainless steel "plus" signs. The restaurant supply table is flanked by steel-and-wood Lem Piston stools from Design Within Reach. Although most everything is relegated to high cabinets, the table serves as an adjunct workspace, and this configuration would work nicely in most city apartments.