A small kitchen comes to life with a modern layout and vibrant colors, all without breaking the bank.
More Splash Than Cash--Bar in Kitchen
This small kitchen's redesign incorporates an eat-in bar for a young family. Other design details include glass-front cabinets that help enlarge the space, bright red tile countertops, and open shelving on the side of the bar. These shelves

A compact room with an inefficient floor plan, inadequate storage, and no personality. There was also a limited budget to achieve a functional and pleasing design.

A more modern layout that incorporates an eat-in kitchen bar with side shelving, appliance center with ample pantry storage, glass-front cabinets, bright red tile countertops, and colorful wallpaper. The approximate cost (excluding new appliances) was less than $5,000.

Homeowner Cheryl Kees of Pensacola, Florida, who is also a kitchen designer, said she saved money by using ceramic tile on the countertops rather than a solid-surface material. "Tile is a little more expensive than laminate, but there are so many more design options." She also notes that a walk-in pantry is often less expensive than additional custom built-in cabinetry. Cheryl recycled old fir doors that she bought for $150 to serve as the entrance to the pantry.

Quick-Change Artist

  • You don't have to spend a lot of money to give your kitchen some visual appeal.Instead of painting, wrap your kitchen in a lively wallpaper, and go from dull to dazzling. Wallpaper in a small kitchen makes a strong design statement. (Tip: You can often get great deals on discontinued patterns. It's a good idea to buy a couple of extra rolls.)
  • Turn a wall into a family message center by painting it with inexpensive chalkboard paint. Choose a location near the phone so messages are easily recorded.
  • A pot rack adds style while meeting a vital need in a small kitchen. It's a good idea to store larger pots and those you use most often above your stove or over an island.
  • If your kitchen floor is less than lovely, then put down an inexpensive sisal or sea grass rug. It adds a decorative textural element, feels comfortable under your feet, and is easy to change or clean
  • Simple window treatments will give a kitchen a more finished look. A valance or sheer panel adds style without blocking natural light.

Space Savers in the Kitchen

  • Store small appliances and utensils where you can easily reach them. Use the top shelves and space above the cabinets to hold less used items such as large platters, cake plates, and decorative pieces. Consider moving seasonal items out of the kitchen altogether and into an attic or other available storage area.
  • Adjustable shelves in a pantry help utilize space efficiently. Group items of similar heights together, and position the next shelf an inch or two above that height.
  • Search your kitchen for wasted space. You may find a nook that can be transformed into a usable area by adding shelves or dividers.
  • Shallow shelves or racks placed on the back of the pantry or cabinet doors can be used to hold small items such as spices.