need ideas for making kitchen/dining look more spacious

meditrinaApril 12, 2011

We have a small galley kitchen that's at the tail end of a remodel. We just bought this house and hadn't planned on an extensive remodel (thus the white fridge) but, eh, one thing led to another... Anyway I'd like some suggestions on how to make the whole space--kitchen/dining--more spacious looking. Someone had suggested pale gold for the walls and paint the pantry (dark wood on the end wall) some type of blue--to play off of the colors in the mural of my backsplash. I had planned on a light green wall w/ gray pantry cabinet but the green was too shiny looking (I don't know if you can see the little wall strip I painted by the door). Also, I have venetian bronze knobs and I'm thinking of switching them to weathered nickel knobs.

My granite is peacock green--has lots of mica, kinda gets a bluish-green tint when it's hit w/ lot of light but also has lots of gold veining. My light fixtures will have white etched glass and the metal is oxford silver. Any suggestions on paint colors? Also, I'd like to put that toaster somewhere else. Anyone have nifty storage solutions or side tables/baker's rack that they use in a small space w/o feeling too cramped. We use the toaster a lot so it's not practical to put it away in a cabinet.

Thanks for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen

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Gorgeous what you have done so far. The only thing would be to move the toaster oven or whatever it is off your counter some how. Maybe on a cart at end of counter. I guess it is needed but it does visually take up lots of space. No idea on the paint. What you have is really pretty.

You have the exact kitchen dinning room as our neighbors house that is for sale.They do not have the french doors to out side. This gives me a vision what their kitchen could look like with updates. Beautiful. I am all for white appliances but your new stainless looks really nice with the dark counter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo one and two

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:48AM
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OMG, that kitchen looks almost like how our old kitchen looked! Had dark cabs with white (w/ green specks) formica counters. I'm actually starting to think that our kitchen w/ the SS appliances makes the space look smaller; might have looked a little more open with the white appliances but oh well. I'm just hoping I can paint and decorate it in such a way that it opens it up a little more. And yes, the toaster needs to go somewhere else; we need as much counterspace as we can get!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:05AM
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I just remembered. At our last house I begged my handy neighbor to remove the center sections from our cabinet and add in glass.The inside of the cabinets were already white. I used those upper cabinets for pretty china and serving things. I had no room in that kitchen for a real china cabinet.The little one shown was a small gun cabinet I converted to a china cabinet.

Taking the centers of the doors off and adding glass made such a huge difference in opening up the kitchen.

I went back and looked at your pictures again and did not realize what I thought was a door at the end really is a cabinet. Is there any way to open maybe just the top part up in shelves or glass doors.

If this might be possible you could rethink your kitchen storage and gather all the pretty things for the opened up or glassed in top area.

After glass and our things in the house.
Not the same angle. I used a really light mint green paint and it made the house open up and feel fresh and clean. We liked that light green so well I completely painted two houses in side with it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before glass and before we moved into this house. so not our things in the house.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:21AM
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I like what you're done with it so far. I would keep whatever paint you choose as light as possible. I actually really like what's on the walls now.

As far as the toaster is concerned, I don't know if you ahve any room to lose in the doorway that you're standing in when you're taking the pictures, but that looks like the only place you might have to put a toaster on a shelf. A shelf at the end of the run of cabinets along the outside wall would block the french door. I would not cover the windows of the french door with anything. I don't know if there's room for a shelf in the corner of the eating area for a toaster or not.

The glass in the cabinets is a good idea to add some depth to the galley kitchen. You could also do mirrors in there (I know there is someone over on the kitchen forum that did this, I can't remember who though). If you don't want to change the cabinets you could put a mirror on the wall above the table to make the room appear larger.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:10AM
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Your kitchen is really pretty. I don't see anywhere you can put that little oven except where you have it. Where did the previous owners have a microwave? Over the oven?

I like the paint you have in there now. I don't suppose you could strip the pantry and stain it the same color as your cabinets? Either that or paint it the same color, or one tint darker than the walls so it seems to blend it or recede further back.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:42AM
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i'm really liking the glass door idea, at least for the pantry at the end of the kitchen. i wish i had run into this website before i started this remodel. my boyfriend might have a cow if i told him i wanted to put in glass panels on those top cabs over the stove since we just got them. :) maybe in a couple years he'll be ok with it. i will definitely look into getting that for the top part of the pantry though.

i thought about stripping the pantry down and restaining but I think I like the idea more of painting it. i might paint it a shade darker than the wall paint, like marti suggested. I've not heard about mirrors in the kitchen but I'm gonna look into that.

these ideas have been really helpful and i'm feeling less stuck. thank you!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Hi. I really like the glass door idea.
At my MoccasinLanding cottage years ago, the kitchen was long and narrow and very dark. I moved the upper cabs away from the long sides of the room, and instead over the stove I put a long natural wood shelf. It had hooks beneath it to hang my cooking spoons/forks. I put a mirrored backsplash at the far end of the room, which had a corner sink. Even the electrical plug cover was mirror. And of course, I had a lot of light beneath the cabs on that end of the room.

I wonder if you might be able to raise your upper cabs as high as possible, to give more open space or "elbow room" around the countertops. That is where you need to feel some more spaciousness. Then lots of lighting beneath the uppers shining on your lovely countertop materials. Plus, like is suggested already, a couple of the cabs need the glass fronts, and maybe add some UP lighting on a couple of the shelves in those cabs. Bringing the eyes UP is always a good idea for adding a feeling of space. I do suggest that if nothing else, you get a length of ROPE LIGHTING (LED lights would be best) and have a dimmer on that, even if you just drop it on the open tops of the upper cabs. Sold at all the big box stores. Emphasizing the open perimeter of the room at the ceiling height would distract the eye from the crowded portion of the room at the floor level.

The toaster oven, and anything sitting on the counter surfaces, will reduce the visible open space. That is the first thing they tell you on all the HGTV home shows, remove all the stuff from the countertops! If you have a cabinet that could be modified to fit a toaster oven, you'd be much better off. Those things don't last forever anyway, and when you go think about replacing it, look for one that will suit your kitchen. You know, they sell roll out shelves that could keep it behind a cabinet door until you need it, and then you pull it out, leave it on that shelf, and keep it plugged in where the shelf is hidden. Or, if you raise your cabs, get a toaster oven that can be mounted to the underside of the upper cab. Without starting a fire.
My brother had such an oven years ago, made by Black and Decker I think. That's how his coffee maker was mounted too.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:51PM
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can't really raise the cabinets. they are at ceiling height but the lighting idea is great! That, along with the glass panel doors, will definitely open up the space. I might find some kind of small table and put the toaster there and perhaps have some storage underneath--that thing is so bulky!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:08PM
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I don't suppose the toaster will fit on the bottom shelf of the upper pantry cabinet.With doors all the way off.Instead of glass doors. Maybe need to build out that shelf a little in the center to hold it? Maybe not room to open fridge door all the way???

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:32AM
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I wish it would fit! I don't think the fridge would open all the way if I built out the shelves back there but now I'm thinking maybe if I just take the upper doors out, it'll almost look like a built in hutch.
i'm going to sherman williams tomorrow to look at some colors. i'm thinking of a bluish wall and keeping the same color pantry. i can't think of how to match a yellow wall w/ a pantry color.

at this point, i'm considering just sticking the toaster in a lower cab and installing one of those rollout drawers so that it won't be such a pain taking it in and out of the cabinet.

Here is a link that might be useful: wall/pantry colors

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 2:22AM
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I like the idea of having the pantry blend in with the wall color -- maybe a shade darker. That way the back wall doesn't draw attention and appear chopped up. I also like the idea of keeping the paint light and not too far off of what the backsplash is. That will keep you from having jarring bits of color on small patches of exposed wall.

You say you can't build the pantry out into the room because of fridge clearance. Is there room behind the pantry to bump it out to the rear? If so, that would give you storage perhaps for the toaster oven and other bulky small appliances.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:51AM
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There are appliance lifts that you can install, like this one:
Rev a Shelf, but it looks like you have to do it in a cabinet without a drawer above, so that particular one wouldn't work for you. Maybe there is another somewhere.

There are rolling carts made for microwaves. You could put it on one of those, and roll it out of the way when not in use, and roll it next to the counter when you needed it. I bought one at Target that was stainless steel with pull out baskets, a wood top, and a handle. I can't find it on their website now. It was under $50. Or you may just have to put up with it on your counter. Is it a microwave also? At some point, you could get an above stove microwave and free up that counter space.

I'm not crazy about the coffee color on the pantry. In the photo at least, the color doesn't compliment the color of your cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Ok I'm reposting since my initial message didn't seem to take. I'm still in the process of finishing up the kitchen but I just wanted to say thanks for the suggestions. I decided to just take the top panels off the pseudo pantry since that was the cheapest way to go and I really like it open like that. I, however, didn't pick the right paint color (I got a bit frustrated after having gone home w/ a bunch of paint sample cans that I just picked one). Once I'm more motivated to paint, I'll hopefully find a color I really like. We'll be changing out the pendant light next and then hopefully add some undercabinet lighting.

thanks again for all the help!

Here is a link that might be useful: blue

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 8:08AM
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I can attest to the Rev-A-Shelf being quality products. They are heavy duty and will last forever. The one Marti linked to is heavy duty as well.

Perhaps you might look into an office supply store like Staples or Office Depot and see if they have one of those heavy duty "lifts" like they used to put in typing desks. (I'm showing my age here.) Those could have the big mixer or whatever permanently attached to the base. Anyway, it might work in a cab with a drawer above it. Don't know, but who knows.

And then, the Lee Valley Tool web site always has the most interesting hardware for doing special projects. I really LOVE that website. Someone on here introduced me to it, and I have many hours browsing thru their online cats for ideas.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:16AM
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Wow! It looks great. That blue really makes that wall recede, and I love the white detail around it. What did you do with the microwave?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 2:01AM
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I posted on your pictures. Looks really nice. I like the doors off.Seeing how shallow the cabinet it glass doors would have been a pain to deal with.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:44PM
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Thanks everyone. The blue, I guess, is ok for now. It just doesn't really sit well with me but I suppose it's better than hot pink or something like that. :)

As for the toaster, I measured our cabs and it won't fit in any of them b/c there's a middle divider. :/ The toaster is approx 15x15x15. So for now, I'm going to put it in the corner in the dining area, where the door meets the back wall. I just found this side table with a marble top at the Salvation Army that I might use. There's also quite a few kitchen carts at places like Ikea but I'm leaning towards the side table. The more permanent plan is to buy one of those 24" fridges (kitchen forum currently has a thread on small apps--and now I want to trade all my big size apps for smaller ones!). Anyway, there's one that is rather short (~55 in) and that will give me ample room on top of the fridge to put some kind of open shelving and then use something like a rev-a-shelf thing to slide the toaster forward when I need to use it and then just push it back to place when i'm not using it. That might even give me enough room on the side of the fridge to put in some kind of storage area.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:40PM
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