Most women and some men spend an integral part of their lives in the kitchen, storing, preparing, cleaning and cooking food that nurtures their family. Because of the numerous little and big items that hold a permanent place in your kitchen space, it is often the part of the house that is difficult to optimise for space. Also, because a kitchen is set over years with new pots, pans, boxes and jars of different shapes and sizes added from time to time, it becomes difficult to optimise and make the best use of available space. Besides, the inability to throw things and hanging on to them for emotional reasons (it may simply be a gift or an item of your favourite colour) keeps adding to the junk. This leads to clutter and chaos and these problems only magnify when you have a small kitchen.
Optimising kitchen space and decluttering it can make you feel lighter and your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. It will also save time as you will spend less time searching for things and more time cooking the things you love. No matter what the size of your kitchen or the number of people in your home, here are some simple kitchen hacks that will not only make your kitchen look and feel spacious but also make the best use of available space.
Painting your kitchen with soft muted colours not only gives a nice, inviting touch but also gives a vision of the kitchen being spacious. Most muted colours are a great compliment to colours you may choose for your furniture and cabinets. With subtle stripes and metallic finishes, you can give a leading direction to the eyes that can create an illusion of depth to your kitchen. Your kitchen will not only look contemporary look but also take up your style quotient by a notch. Typical mute wall colours include light and pastel tones. As the name suggests, they don’t “shout out” but instead work with the natural light in your kitchen to give a perfect feeling of spaciousness.
That feeling of freshness when you enter your kitchen in the morning to prepare your brew can be a mood-lifter! This kitchen designed by UK design house Katie Malik and how it dazzles in the morning light. To make your kitchen feel fresh and spacious, replace your old window grills with glass windows. This allows the light to flow and decrease your dependency on artificial lighting. It automatically tunes you in more with your environment by subtly creating an awareness of the time of day. In the kitchen, growing a little herb garden by your window makes a perfect little niche. Some easy and useful herbs that you can grow in an Indian garden include curry leaves, chilli varieties, ginger, coriander and even mustard.
Flooring plays an important role in the overall appearance of your kitchen. Smooth and light toned flooring that matches with your mute wall colours gives a uniform and spacious feel to your kitchen. More importantly, a kitchen’s floor is also an indication of how clean your kitchen is. While bits and pieces may fall on it during cooking, keeping it spotless and clean can create a welcome feeling for anyone entering your kitchen. Light hued flooring also aptly reflects the natural light that flows from the windows. An interesting addition would be to have the same flooring in a slightly rougher texture in the place where you stand beside the cooking stove. This gives additional grip to your foot during daily cooking hours. A word of caution – different light coloured floorings reflect light differently and some may not show if they have water on them. This can make it a little treacherous for a kitchen, so do take this into consideration before you choose.
As the name suggests, a modular kitchen is made in modules that are customized according to your preferences. This works great for an Indian kitchen as you can personalize it for both small and large spaces. Even if you decide to move houses, carpenters and masons are easily available in India who can refit the kitchen in the new home. A modular kitchen is made up of components like cabins, shelves, cabinet shutters, drawers, fittings and a chimney (if suitable) – all assembled together to give your kitchen a neat a spacious look. Because all storage containers and knickknacks are hidden inside opaque cabinets, it gives your kitchen an urbane, classy and clean look. The most important part is to know what works for your kitchen.
Instead of picking a catalogue design, understand your storage and usage needs. You can go for a C, U or L-shaped design with both overhead storage and accessible drawers below for everyday ingredients. Choosing to have a chimney or not entirely depends on your kitchen’s ventilation. Indian cooking involves quite a bit of oil which can accumulate into grime so adding a chimney to your kitchen can be a good choice for the long run. But if you do choose to have one, it can add anything between Rs 6000 – Rs 70,000 to your kitchen budget.
Next comes your countertop. Smooth granite is the most preferred option by Indian customers as it doesn’t catch food colours and is fairly easy to maintain. Take a few things into consideration on the base materials of your kitchen cabinet. If you choose wood, then go for a Marine Ply as it is highly water resistant. Marble may lose colour and yellow over a period of time. Most Indian kitchens go for steel for its durability.
Another advantage of going modular is that you can now effectively create ground to ceiling storage spaces without giving your kitchen a cluttered look. Especially useful for small kitchens, overhead cabinets are a great way to store items that may not be of daily use but is nevertheless essential for your kitchen. Fine crockery and bigger cooking utensils that see the light of day only when the great Indian guests arrive can be easily stored away in these spaces.
You may have the best modular kitchen but if you have containers tumbling out of the cabinets then it really becomes a waste. Starting with batches of 8, replace your old round containers with square or rectangular containers that optimize space. Throw away all that you don’t need NOW – yes… because we have a habit of keeping things which may come handy “someday”. When that day comes, be assured that you will find something in your kitchen for it. Buying branded containers (like Tupperware) can add to your kitchen budget so start this exercise at least a couple of months before you actually renovate your kitchen. That you will have a better assessment of the space your modular kitchen needs.
Your kitchen is the place where you’ll spend many memorable moments cooking the things you love and serving them to the people you love. Do invest time in thinking through the design because the little big things you choose will go a long way in making your kitchen look sleek and spacious. Want to know more about kitchen ideas, here are more ideabooks to get inspired!