Go Minimalist And Go Home With A Compact Kitchen

Remember open shelves?  We had so much room to show our stuff that we sacrificed cabinets for open storage and had homeowners working their hardest to show off their creativity. For a sector of the population, though, they are on their way out, as are many other traditional kitchen concepts. It is not news to those downsizing, either in the size of their home or their eco-footprint.  With this group, minimalism is gaining traction. 

Is it that hard that a concept ingrained in ridding ourselves of excesses would take off in a consumerist society?  Maybe, but it has- which is why you might want to start understanding the concept of compact kitchens.

The Compact Kitchen

For many less is more, but what does this mean from a kitchen perspective? If you are familiar with minimalism, you know it’s entrenched in focusing on what is important. Minimalists derive pleasure from using or consuming less- this is a big challenge in the kitchen.  For centuries, the average house has only gotten bigger: bigger porches, bigger living rooms, bigger bathrooms, and of course, bigger kitchens. Not hard to see the “big” picture here. 

Minimalism takes the opposite approach. Smaller square footage and fewer items make up this kitchen. It saves the environment, is more efficient, and makes more sense for households with few people. What started as a trend in living rooms and bathrooms has now found its way to the kitchen.

Let’s not confuse minimalism and compact, though. What is a compact kitchen? It is an all-in-one kitchen designed to serve your kitchen needs while taking up half or less of a kitchen’s typical square footage. It is perfect for apartments, simple vacation homes, and other situations where space is premium. 

Just How Compact is Compact?

Picture a tiny house or container, even a boat! It is not hard these days with all the shows about them. A kitchen will have to be small to fit in any of these spaces. That is your compact kitchen! The compact kitchen can take up as little as 8 square feet to about 25 square feet, pretty much five feet on one side and five feet on the other. Not bad, right?

Comparatively, the average kitchen measures about ten feet by ten feet. So, we are talking about 100 square feet for the average kitchen.  A compact kitchen could be anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of the size of that average size.

What is in a Compact Kitchen?

You might be wondering what can fit in 25 square feet or less. Is it even possible to house all your kitchen needs with such space limitations? Why, yes! Some of it will come down to eliminating excess in favor of the necessary, but your space will also help guide you.  Design a compact kitchen with practical features.  A sink, range, and refrigerator might be requirements, but what about the dishwasher? Will a compact size do, or (gasp) could you even go without one? Planning your compact kitchen requires as much or more thought than a full-sized one!

Designing the Ideal Compact Kitchen

We have covered some features of compact kitchens and what makes them so unique. How can we combine your love for minimalism with a dash of style in your compact kitchen?

Start with a Layout

The average compact kitchen measures between 15-18 square feet. However, with a range of square feet from eight to twenty-five, what works in one space often does not work for others.  Consider your own needs first. Think about the number of people using the room, how often they do so, and the kitchen’s other purposes. Then create a design, mapping out where the essential elements will go on your rough floor plan. To get those creative juices flowing, here are some layout ideas:

  • The Galley: this plan features a kitchen design on a single wall or two walls facing each other.
  • The L-Shape: a traditional shape that keeps things a little more open in a smaller space, with a corner to get the most out of.
  • The U-Shape: this layout requires maximizing the corners in the design and making some compromises to the traditional work triangle that compacts flow in and out of the u-shape.

Regardless of the shape, you must be clear on your work triangle. Figure out where the worktop station, cabinets, and key appliances will be. These are the essential sections in the kitchen that will determine just how compact and practical it is.

Storage is another key layout consideration.  You cannot afford to have clutter in a small kitchen. To ensure you stay free of such messes, you will need to consider what you will be storing, where and the different types of storage you will need. Hidden storage, overhead storage, pullout drawers, and hidden appliances are all options to discuss in your design.

Once you identify your layout and have an initial outline, one of our expert designers can help you flesh it out.

Picture it

It is one thing to plan a kitchen layout but enjoying the result is another in entirety. Even if the space is not big, a compact kitchen should make every attempt to create an open and airy feel. Here are some ideas to consider to bring your kitchen picture to life:

  • Cabinetry: Given the choice of a glossy or matte finish, what would you select? Both! While matte finishes can make a compact kitchen feel small, they can also bring out its best features through contrasting hues that create a dramatic effect. Glossy finishes are often preferred for their reflective properties, which makes the space feel bigger. Either option works. Another idea is to go bright with your finish to make the space feel bigger.  Add a minimalist touch by selecting a door style that does not require cabinet hardware.  It looks fantastic in a compact kitchen and takes away focus from the finish. If you are not dealing with tons of accessories, nobody will be eyeing how well it blends in with everything else.
  • Appliances: keep in mind that you cannot fit the average appliance builds in your space. However, you can still get good options that offer similar functionality. Regardless of size, most of your appliances will be within arm’s reach and utilize all your space without creating clutter.
  • Countertops: Just because the kitchen countertop in a compact kitchen is smaller does not mean it should be less important in function or appearance. Ideas include contrasting the colors, e.g., a marble countertop to match a warm wooden cabinet finish or pale natural stone whose reflective properties will make the workstation look much bigger.
  • Backsplashes are also an integral element in your compact kitchen design. How about a mirrored design? It makes the room feel much more spacious. You can also work with bright backsplashes, incorporating glass, metal, and other reflective surfaces to make them pop.
  • Lighting: In a compact kitchen, a little goes a long way. Rather than invest in ambient, general, and task lighting, one or two of these options might be enough. We advise that even though you can use only one or two types, get all three. Lighting serves both aesthetic and practical functions, and you cannot compromise on this. Moreover, the room will feel much bigger and safer.  A tip… select smaller lighting fixtures. A pendant that would look okay in an average kitchen might take over your compact space. Consider how big or small the lighting fixture will be in relation to your room before making any purchases.
  • Flooring: You have found solutions to the walls, work triangle, and lighting. What is missing? The floors! Flooring plays a huge role in the feel and practicality of your space. Switching from standard to large format tiles is enough to make the room feel much bigger. The same goes for using concrete and vinyl flooring! You do not want to use any flooring type or size that highlights how small the room is.

 

Invest in Smart Solutions

Incorporating technology into any kitchen design makes the kitchen more practical and easier to navigate. Making your kitchen smarter does not require overhauling everything. It can be as easy as an assistant to eliminate all those cookbooks or investing in smart appliances that work within your space. You can also choose to fully integrate the kitchen for more control over the gadgets in the space.

Are you ready to tighten up your space and embrace minimalism in your kitchen? It does not mean that you cannot enjoy the pleasures of an equipped kitchen.  Book a consultation with us, and let’s get cracking on any sized kitchen design for your home. You do not have to have a compact kitchen to create a better, more efficient, and minimalist design.  

Mixer winner drawn quarterly and announced in our email newsletter.