4 DIY Tips to Tame Your Tiny Kitchen by Kim Myles

  • 01 of 06

    Basic White Kitchen

    Kim Myles is a Los Angeles based interior designer and television personality. The winner of the second season of HGTV Design Star, Kim can currently be found on the OWN Network as a featured designer on Home Made Simple.

    I’m going to get real with you. I wish my kitchen looked like the one pictured here, because my tiny rental kitchen is straight up hideous.

    The list of things that I love about my LA apartment is a long one, but the kitchen…the kitchen is a tiny, visual train wreck. I don’t enjoy cooking in it (hell, I don’t even like walking through on my way to the backdoor), and it certainly wasn’t ready for it’s close up on my house tour over at Apartment Therapy. At this point, almost all of the major living spaces feel happily feathered and content, with the exception of my fugly kitchen. I hemmed and hawed over how best to address it when we first moved in, but I ended up deciding to just give it a rest - let it marinate creatively - until it was ready. Welp -- It’s been two years now, and I feel like it’s finally time to serve up some fun!

    And trust me, this kitchen needs serious fun and attention, because it’s haunted by an awkward layout, old cabinets, and a small (!) tile countertop of a color I like to call ‘Old Man Tooth’. It’s basically the design trifecta of evil. But guess what?

    I ain’t scared.

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  • 02 of 06

    Papered or Fabric-Backed Interiors

    To cast out the kitchen design demons, I’m starting with the cabinets - typically the largest visual element in the room. Option 1: Taking the doors off and lining the interiors with paper or fabric. It’s a simple, inexpensive way to open up the feel of the room while injecting color, pattern and personality. (Note: This choice is best for minimalists and neat freaks - otherwise you’re just wearing your storage chaos on your sleeve.)

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  • 03 of 06

    Devils in the Details

    The key to making open cabinets feel like a solid design choice is the attention to detail. Once the doors are off, you expose the interior shelf edges - so don’t let them go naked! Washi tape (colorful Japanese masking tape, available online) is the perfect material for trimming those edges and adding another layer of color and interest.

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  • 04 of 06

    Contact Papered Cabinet Doors

    Option 2: Since I haven’t decided whether or not to take off my cabinet doors (anyone who knows me can tell you that I’ll never be mistaken for a neat freak!), so papering their faces might be just the thing. Vinyl contact paper is the perfect choice for a project like this since it’s inexpensive, wipe-able and removable. Plus, it comes in an incredible array of patterns and finishes.

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  • 05 of 06

    Counter Space/Storage

    Once I tackle the cabinets, I need to address the lack of counter space and storage. My kitchen doesn’t actually suffer from a lack of square footage since it’s technically an eat-in, but the terrible layout is super awkward, and my cooking life will be better served by adding an extra work surface and storage instead of a table and chairs.

    To that end, I plan on converting a chest of drawers into an island or wall unit for an instant dose of style and function. I plan to top mine with a piece of inexpensive butcher block paper, and will probably add locking casters to the bottom so that I can move it around at will.

    (Note: Comfortable prep/work surfaces should be counter height,usually anywhere from 35-40” tall, so repurposing a taller chest and/or adding casters underneath is the key.)

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  • 06 of 06

    Tile Decals

    4 DIY Tips to Tame Your Tiny Kitchen by Kim Myles
    Ble U Coin

    Now for my dingy looking tile counters and backsplash. They would appear to be beyond redemption, but thankfully we live in a world of brilliant, temporary options. Vinyl tile decals are the perfect answer to my backsplash issue – just peel and stick onto the face of each tile, and I’ve got a brand new look! I won’t use them on the countertops themselves, but I’m betting that a statement backsplash will pull the focus up and render them less offensive via distraction. I’m a big fan of the Etsy shops Snazzy Decals and Bleucoin – so many great patterns and colors! It’s a brave new world of tile disguises -- just run a quick search for ‘tile decals’ and you will be amazed.

    Design possibilities await, as well as a long overdue sense of kitchen empowerment. My kitchen is primed for a super style infusion that won’t break the bank, or cost me my rental deposit. Bon Appetit.