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Modern KitchenIf you’re not into spending a lot of money on pricey wood kitchen cabinets right now, here’s a great option for making economical white kitchen cabinets work even harder. This cool, modern kitchen adds light to a dark kitchen, and space to a small kitchen.

Inexpensive white kitchen cabinets don’t have to look cheap, especially if you eliminate all that crown and door molding that makes white kitchen cabinets look like they’re trying too hard to look like wood. The wow-factor in this kitchen was pulled off not just with straight-lined cabinets, but with a roster of very clever designer tricks including…

* using stainless steel not just on appliances, but as the color of the kitchen counters. You could choose actual stainless steel counter tops or a solid surface or laminate in a stainless steel color

* using streamlined stainless steel hardware – the long pulls look more streamlined than lots of small knobs would

* running cabinets right to the ceiling, using a white tile backsplash and painting the walls and ceiling  the same white as the cabinets … the combined effect cuts the look of clutter and fuzzies the line between walls and cabinets… making the room look brighter and larger

* adding a translucent (rather than transparent) glass or acrylic door to a few upper cabinets – a nice change from all the glass doors that add clutter by showing everything inside

* adding accents in a seaglass color

Great look, especially for small kitchens!


If you wish you had a bigger kitchen, there’s good news. With a little ingenuity, a small kitchen can look bigger and be more efficient. How?  By keeping your counters clear, finding more work space and stealing a few ideas from the modernists. 

Try any one (or all) of these 10 tips to add space to your own kitchen!

(1) Clear your counters of anything that you don’t use at least 3x a week, including appliances. Store appliances in a close, convenient cabinet, or suspend them from a shelf under the cabinet. Uncluttered counters expand the look of  kitchen by letting our eyes see to the farthest end of the room and move quickly over uninterrupted surfaces.

(2) Ditch the bulky knife holder and store knives on a metallic strip attached to the wall under your cabinets.

(3) Hang pots and utensils from a rack attached to the wall or ceiling. Or hang a rod between the cabinets on either side of your kitchen window and hang pots or utensils across the glass instead of curtains or blinds. Stainless steel or copper utensils reflect light and you won’t sacrific privacy.

(4) Lay a large, mobile cutting board across the sink(s). Drill a hole in it to let water drain while you’re working. Or customize a cutting board to fit over an open drawer (just pull open the drawer and place the cutting board over the top to expand your working space).

(5) Add a small island. Even a surface as narrow as 12″ wide can be a handy place to put extra bowls when cooking. Look at unexpected options like sofa tables with a shelf underneath for books, bowls and platters. Or choose a leg version that lets you store small stools underneath. Add a marble or stainless steel, or ceramic tile top so it can hold hot pots.

(6) Double your table as an island. If you’ve got an eat-in kitchen, invest in a 36″ high pub table-style table to expand your counter working space. You’ll have the benefit of a place to sit while you work. 

(7) Use see-through, glass cannisters on your counter instead of opaque ones.

(8) Remove magnets and papers from your fridge door. Papers and menus make a small kitchen look even smaller, and worse, messy.

(9) Paint the backsplash/wall under your cabinets in a clear, cool, modern blue or green color. This really works because cool colors (lighter rather than darker) recede from our view, pushing the wall back.

 (10) Install lights under your cabinets. Thankfully, these days you don’t need to re-wire your kitchen to do this! There are inexpensive battery-operated lights that will work perfectly.


If adding a new set of stainless steel appliances isn’t in your budget right now, or even if it is… there are other ways to add this clean, modern material to your kitchen area for the ultimate in restaurant-style chic at home. Stainless steel also reflects light – making small kitchens look bigger.

1. Use one or more stainless steel lighting pendants over your table, island or sink.

2. Use chairs with stainless steel legs.

3. Splurge on a stainless steel counter top – even if it’s just the top of a island or small working table. Many reasonably-priced stainless steel-topped carts are available today.

4. Replace your existing cabinet knobs or pulls with stainless steel hardware. The more contemporary your cabinet looks, the longer / larger handles you can use

5. Install a stainless steel backspash. You can opt for small stainless steel tiles – not cheap (but fabulous), but you don’t need a lot of them. Or cut a sheet of stainless steel cut to fit your backsplash

6. And of course… stainless steel appliances.

You could also add some stainless steel picture frames, hang your steel pots on a stainless steel pot rack, add a row of stainless steel cannisters on your counter, or store your cutlery or utensils in a stainless steel bin on the counter.