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Before & After: Smart Choices for a Small Kitchen

published Jul 15, 2017
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(Image credit: Sweeten)

One of the biggest challenges of living in a tiny apartment is the tiny kitchen. After purchasing her studio apartment in Brooklyn, Kelly was determined to create her dream kitchen from what was originally a less than dreamy space. Although square footage was limited, lots of smart choices resulted in a kitchen that’s colorful, beautiful, and has the functionality of a kitchen many times its size.

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(Image credit: Sweeten)

The apartment’s original kitchen had a smallish refrigerator, a tiny stove, and not much storage space at all. The upper cabinets stopped a few feet below the ceiling, and an earlier attempt at open shelving gave the kitchen a distinctly unfinished look. Unsure of which direction to go, Kelly turned to an interior designer who helped her to create a much brighter, more functional kitchen, all within the confines of her small space.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Courtney made the decision to take the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, which makes for extra storage and gives the kitchen a more finished look. The middle cabinet, with its glass doors, provides a little space to display treasured items, while still leaving plenty of cabinet space for tucking things away.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Courtney identified the bar top as another place where the kitchen could grow. Previously it was just a wall topped with a counter, but post-renovation it has a whole bank of cabinets underneath, including a host of drawers. (The previous kitchen, you’ll notice, had only a single sad drawer.) Widening the bar also allows for a little extra counter space. The butcherblock top provides a beautiful contrast to the marble counters in the rest of the kitchen, and adds a bit of warmth.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

As part of the renovation, the refrigerator was moved to an opposite wall, which freed up even more counter space and also a spot for a dishwasher (a real luxury in a New York apartment). A new wall of full-height cabinets surrounding the fridge provides even more storage.

As for finishes, the old, worn cabinets have been replaced with new IKEA ones — dove grey on the bottom and white on top. The dark tiles in the kitchen were replaced with patterned cement tiles, which help to brighten up the space, and the hand-glazed ceramic tiles on the backsplash add a beautiful touch of color to the kitchen.

Kelly found her designer, Courtney, on Sweeten, a free online resource that connects homeowners with local design and construction experts for renovations. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.