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Trading Spaces

trading_spaces2After moving into a new apartment, Deola Ajakaiye finds it difficult to decide on the geography of her kitchen, as she has several choices before her. “My interior décor designer says the kitchen is like a triangle,” she recalls, “an imaginary straight line drawn from the centre of the sink to the centre of the cook top, to the centre of the refrigerator and finally back to the sink. The triangle formed by these imaginary lines should total 26 feet or less for maximum efficiency. But I did not want any kind of kitchen; I wanted the best for my home. I was at a crossroad.”

Having a user-friendly could be a daunting task as most people are used to the design of entry, appliance or cabinet doors blocking one other when they are left open. Today, in most kitchens, the emphasis is on space.

“If you have an island in your kitchen, an appliance or door on it shouldn’t hit an appliance or cabinet door across from it,” observes Tola Adeoye, an expert in interior decoration.  “Once you have your space planned out, the biggest challenge in remodelling your kitchen is to not only choose good materials and colours for it but also create a lively interior that incorporates appliances and cabinets with structural elements.”

Unlike in time past, the current trends in kitchen remodelling see the area as adjacent to the dining area or a dining room; this allows the cook to keep contact with guests and family members despite the defined borders. Hence, one way to distinguish the kitchen from the rooms around it is to have its ceilings higher than the dinning areas where the setting is more intimate.

In space-challenged kitchens, finding enough storage space is often a problem. Cutting back on cabinets and opting instead for a walk-in pantry as well as removing those items that one can hardly ever use are easy ways to making space for items and appliances one does not need in the kitchen.

“Most women love to display all the wares they have in the kitchen. It is not always advisable as this could obstruct movement in the kitchen. It is advisable to move your china out of the kitchen and into the dining area; use this new found space for your pots and pans.

“Your countertops can differ in heights; this allows for visual variety and also helps to maximise productivity if there are more than one cooks in the area. Vary your cabinet door styles to make your space more visually interesting; your kitchen does not have to be uniform in its outfit: use one style of door for your wall cabinets and another style for the island,” explains Toun Oni, a home decorator.

Oni also advises that it is best to choose different cabinet paint colour or decorative finish; burnt orange for the island and gentle yellow for the surrounding cabinets; apply wood stains that are darker for the island and lighter for the rest of the area.

To hide or not to hide space is also a question for many home owners. For some, being able to see the refrigerator or oven is not really that bothersome. Luckily, for those who do find appliances to be rather unsightly, there are panels that can be installed to disguise these machines. “Just make sure the panels match your cabinets,” she adds.

In addition, she states for those items that one cannot really hide, like the stove top, installing a raised ledge or breakfast bar in the kitchen can help that stove top disappear. “Double ovens can be installed in the wall, well then there is not much you can do about that. However, installing one or both ovens into the wall help make sure that oven is out of view.

“An easy way to help your appliances blend in with their surroundings is to buy stainless steel. Because stainless steel appliances reflect the colour of their surroundings, and since the material is pretty neutral to begin with, these appliances are often much less noticeable. They add a sophisticated touch to any kitchen,” she discloses.

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