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A 10-by-12 kitchen is a small area with limited floor space. Numerous remodeling options include actually expanding a small kitchen’s physical size, increasing its efficiency, improving the aesthetics and making it feel and look more spacious. Prioritize the desired changes for your kitchen, set a remodeling budget and determine your aesthetic preferences before embarking on any kitchen updates. Find inspiration for your remodeling ideas in kitchen magazines, books, home improvement stores and a consultation with an interior designer.
Walls, Windows and Doors
Consider knocking out a non-load-bearing wall between a kitchen and living or dining area to increase the physical space in a small kitchen. Check with your local government for required building permits and other residential remodeling regulations before beginning any structural changes. Removing an entire wall or a section of it creates a more open and airy environment. Installing a skylight or light tube in the roof can also help to brighten a small kitchen with natural light. In addition, exchange heavy window coverings for sheer curtains or wood blinds to create a more cheery interior space. Covering bare windows with tinted window film provides an unobstructed view to the outdoors, while providing limited privacy and protection against harmful ultraviolet rays. Consider adding an additional window in an outside kitchen wall or replace a small window with a larger one. Exchanging a solid exterior kitchen door for a replacement containing sidelights allows more natural light to permeate a 10-by-12 kitchen.
The Work Triangle
Even a small 10-by-12 kitchen can benefit from the inclusion of a work triangle in its remodeling plan. The concept of a kitchen work triangle was actually developed in the 1940s for small kitchens with large appliances. A kitchen triangle connects a sink, range, and refrigerator — the three primary work areas — to make it more efficient and functional. The recommended distance between each of these work areas should be a minimum of 4 feet and a maximum of 9 feet. An optimal sum for all three sides of a work triangle should total between 13 and 26 feet. This makes a kitchen more efficient, less cramped and helps to keep the traffic flow out of the main work areas.
Colors, Cabinets and Storage
Light wall colors — white, beige, gray, pastels — help to make a space feel more open and spacious. Intensify the light and airy ambiance by painting kitchen cabinets the same color as your existing wall color. Exchange some of your solid cabinet doors with glass replacements to add a reflective surface and a more expansive feel. Shiny chrome hardware complements contemporary-style cabinets, while brushed nickel works well with more traditional decor. A glossy tile or shiny metal backsplash reflects natural and artificial light, making a small kitchen seem larger. Incorporate vertical storage areas into a remodeling plan to help organize a small kitchen space. For example, install peg boards on a kitchen wall for hanging pots, pans and other cooking utensils. Open wall shelves are ideal for displaying and storing dishes, canisters, cups and small appliances. Slide-out cabinet shelves, spice racks and pot racks are useful organizing tools for a small kitchen.
Floors, Furniture and Lighting
Dark hardwood floors with narrow, glossy planks add an upscale, modern feel to a 10-by-12 kitchen. They also help to anchor a floor, providing striking contrast against light-colored walls. Furnish a small kitchen with useful furniture pieces that are in scale with its size. For example, a petite kitchen island can provide a spot for preparing food and storing kitchen items. Add backless bar stools around it to provide convenient seating for a casual dinner. Slide the stools underneath an island for storage until they’re needed. A bistro set or a small table pulled up to a kitchen window seat provides a cozy dining area. Flood a small kitchen with artificial light by adding a stunning chandelier, decorative pendant lights or budget-friendly track lighting. Keep accessories to a minimum to avoid a cluttered look. For example, hang an oversized framed print on a kitchen wall, instead of numerous smaller pictures, to convey a streamlined, clutter-free appearance.