How to Improve an “L”-Shaped Kitchen

How to Improve an L-Shaped KitchenAn “L”-shaped kitchen layout is one of the best out there.  It’s extremely functional, with everything in easy reach, and it works well with open floor plans, which is the “in” style at the moment.  It’s one of the best layouts to start working with, as its basic function and shape are ideal for an attractive, functional space.

That doesn’t mean you can’t improve it, however!  The experts at Solid Surface Canada have some great suggestions on how to take your “L”-shaped kitchen to the next level:

Customize Your Work Triangle

The “kitchen work triangle” concept states that the main kitchen appliances – your refrigerator, stovetop and sink – should be within a few steps of where you prep the food, forming an efficient and accessible triangle.  Well, that’s true for most people, but perhaps not for you.  Maybe you don’t use your oven very frequently – it might be the microwave you want close at hand.  If you find yourself not using your oven, or rarely using your stovetop, you can move them out of the center of your kitchen, putting regularly used pieces of equipment within arm’s reach.

Raise Your Cabinets

Running out of storage space?  Most kitchens have tons of extra room, just waiting to be exploited – there’s a gap between most cabinets and the ceiling.  For an “L”-shaped kitchen, where storage is often at a premium, extending those cabinets up to the ceiling is a great way to add that little bit of extra storage.

Open Shelving

An “L”-shaped kitchen involves a lot of wall space, as it bends around a corner.  Sometimes, two walls worth of solid cabinets can be difficult on the eye, or a problem for decorating.  Replacing some cabinets with open shelving can create better visibility and break up that wall of cabinetry.

Upgrade Your Countertops

Of course, the best upgrade for any kitchen is putting in brand new solid surface countertops.  Corian, Avonite, Formica – no matter what you have in mind, Solid Surface Canada can help.  Contact us today!

4 Dated Kitchen Designs to Avoid

4 Dated Kitchen Designs to AvoidMost of us don’t redo our kitchens every few years, so the primary goal in a major redesign is timelessness.  You don’t want your kitchen to look like a relic from a bygone era; you want to stick with ideas and concepts that have stood the test of time and are likely to continue to look great for years to come.

The latest trend may seem great, but be careful – some “latest trends” quickly become ridiculous looking.  As an example, here are some dated designs that were once considered hip and trendy, and now are regrettable.

Dark Brown Wood

Deep, dark brown cabinets can still work in some more classic and traditional kitchen designs – when you’re trying to evoke an older era.  But modern kitchens dump those in favor of lighter and cleaner choices.  Dark colors make spaces feel more cramped and dark.  You can still have a warm, inviting kitchen without going into the darkest colors of the rainbow.

Bright Cabinet Colors

In general, you’re better off using neutral colors for the large, dominating parts of your kitchen – the countertops, the cabinets, the big appliances.  Save the neon greens or the sunshine yellows for accents and accessory pieces – they provide those splashes of color without dominating the room, and can be replaced or repainted easily as trends change and colors fall in and out of fashion.

Florescent Lighting

In the 1980s and early 1990s, big, fluorescent light boxes were the trendy thing to install.  Now, they look garish – and bad lighting can make every other aspect of your kitchen remodel look worse.  Terrible!  Utility and ambient lightning – with dimmers – are much more practical and can easily be integrated into any kitchen design.

Linoleum

The best you can really hope for with linoleum flooring is a kitschy, throwback, retro look.  More likely, you’ll get faded, stained and outdated looks quickly – and it’s probably just going to hide a perfectly fine wood floor.

From avocado green walls to shag carpeting, what’s “in” one day may soon be well on its way out.  We recommend sticking to classic, timeless designs, so your kitchen will continue looking it’s best for years to come.

3 Ways to Add Detail to Your Kitchen

3 Ways to Add Detail to Your KitchenFor understandable reasons, the majority of time planning a kitchen renovation or remodel is spent on the major aspects of the remodel – the cabinetry, the countertops, the appliances and so forth.  That makes sense – they’re the big-ticket items and the most important to get right.

Once those are set, however, you want to add your own finishing touches – you want to add details that makes your kitchen unique, and help it to stand out from the rest.  There are plenty of ways to add this extra oomph factor with minor changes and adjustments, giving your kitchen more personality and adding to the value of your home.  Here are 3 quick and simple ways to add detail to your kitchen.

Crown Molding

The molding provides a transition from your cabinets to the ceiling – a little visual flourish with touches of elegance.  It draws the eye up to the ceiling, giving the impression that your home is well-crafted and solid.  If you’re installing new cabinets anyway, it’s a relatively simple addition to add crown molding – it doesn’t even need to touch the wall to create an elegant look.  Whether you use it to add space between the cabinet and ceiling by placing the molding at a different depth than your cabinets, or custom-design it so the cabinets appear flush with the ceiling, crown molding is a classic touch of detail.

Splash of Color

Most kitchens will be neutral in hue – your basic whites and earth tones.  Picking too garish of a color for your central theme can give you eyestrain when you have to spend time in your kitchen!  However, for the less-permanent, movable kitchen accents—think chairs, dishes on open shelving and lighting fixtures – a splash of bright color can really liven up the room.  Picking, say, lime green for your countertops may not be ideal, because you’re stuck with it until you remodel your kitchen again.  But a bright color for detail here and there can add a little bit of extra zest to your kitchen.

Glass Doors

One way to get that splash of color is with brightly-colored dishes and decorative pieces, and one way to display them is in cabinets with glass doors.  Replacing traditional solid-panel fronts with glass allows your choices in dishware to play a part in the overall look of your kitchen.  There’s a wide variety of types of glass to choose from, as well – fully transparent, frosted, stained, and so forth.  Glass also gives your kitchen the appearance of more space, which is great for smaller kitchens.

Three Remodeling Ideas for Galley Kitchens

Three Remodeling Ideas for Galley KitchensA galley kitchen is a kitchen shaped as a narrow corridor, with appliances and countertops flanking each side.  As opposed to open-floor plans which are the modern style, galley kitchens are designed for small-space efficiency, perfect for one-cook situations but not much else.  One might think that the cramped style would limit the flexibility you’d have in a remodel or redesign, but that’s really not true.  The experts at Solid Surface Canada can help find great ideas to getting the most out of your galley kitchen.

Use Tricks to Make It Feel Larger

One of the main complaints about galley kitchen is that they’re on the smaller side – you’re essentially enclosed on three sides, which produces a cramped feeling.  There are tricks you can use to increase your storage space and make the kitchen feel larger, however, even if you can’t increase its actual footprint.

Extending your cabinets all the way to the ceiling can give you extra storage space, as well as give the illusion of extra height.  Lighter cabinet and countertop colors and reflective surfaces can also help create the illusion of more space, and a natural light source will make your kitchen feel brighter and more airy.

Shrink the Work Triangle

The “kitchen work triangle” concept states that the main kitchen appliances – your refrigerator, stovetop and sink – should be within a few steps of where you prep the food, forming an efficient and accessible triangle.  This works well in a galley kitchen.  If your stovetop and sink are on different sides of your kitchen, consider relocating one in a remodel; this will make clean-up more efficient and prevent clutter from spreading throughout your kitchen.

Remove a Section of Wall

Not all home renovations can include removing a wall section to open up the space, but sometimes, a compromise is possible.  For example, if one wall of your galley kitchen is next to the dining room, a doorway between the two can add extra light and a larger view to your kitchen.

Of course, the best investment you can make in your kitchen is high-quality countertops.  Solid Surface Canada offers a complete range of solid surface tops to meet all of your kitchen renovation needs.  Contact us today!