Although compact kitchens can be quite cosy, they do tend to present owners with the problem of finding adequate storage space. Taking down walls to expand into a neighbouring dining room may be an idea, but is not always a feasible option. There are, however, a few things owners can do to effectively create quite a bit of extra space even in a tiny kitchen without having to call in the builders.
The first possibility is obviously to think upwards. Stacking cabinets and installing wall cabinets will free lots of floor space. A few spaces should, however, be left open for art work, or perhaps some open, floating shelving, if possible, as this will help to create a more designed feel. It will also break up the monotony of a wall filled with cabinets, add a splash of colour and prevent a small kitchen from having an almost oppressive atmosphere.
By adding corner cabinets with shelving attached to the door, or with a 'Lazy Susan' shelving unit inside, this valuable corner space is also put to good use. An alternative is to use a corner cabinet with drawers that come out at an angle. Cabinets with shelving on the door are, in any case, a good idea, as they provide that little bit of extra storage capacity.
No matter how carefully a kitchen is measured out, there always seems to be that little bit of extra space between end cabinets and the wall. This space can be made useful by installing a slim, slide-out spice rack or, if the space is wide enough, a slide-out storage facility for bottles of oil, vinegar, and so on. It may even be possible to install a small wine rack against the side of the end base cabinet. Rather than having a free standing pantry cabinet, owners should consider having a built-in pantry, perhaps in some unused space behind a door, with floating shelves.
Trays and baskets are excellent for keeping things on the counter organised, and utensils can be kept out of the way with hooks on the wall, or coming down from floating shelves. In a similar way, a mounted knife rack will take up less valuable space than a knife block. Pots and pans can also be stored quite attractively hanging from a mounted pot rack. Plates and dishes will make an attractive display within an open shelving unit, freeing up space inside cabinets for boxes, cans and other items that do not need to be on permanent display.
Using backless stools as seating for an island or a breakfast counter allows the seats to be stored away underneath the surface to save space while not in use. If there is no room for a permanent island or counter, a rolling island that can be used as a work space, and then rolled into the centre of the room as a dining table when needed may be a solution. In this case, using stools than can be folded away and/ or placed onto a rack on the wall will be the best solution for seating necessities.
Finally, an illusion of extra space can be created by using lighter materials and mirrors. Dark colours can make an already small space feel almost claustrophobic, while lighter colours/ finishes will open up the space and make it feel altogether more airy. A few splashes of darker, contrasting colours will serve to add warmth. As it is rarely practical to have a large mirror hanging or standing in a kitchen, installing mirrored back splashes is an idea that will serve the same purpose in the most attractive and effective manner, especially if they are combined with indirect lighting and reflective work top materials.