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Minimalist kitchen3

Slick and uncluttered countertops and cabinetry create a minimalist look in this kitchen by RI Kitchen & Bath.

“Less is more.” That’s the mantra of minimalists, who are drawn to styles and designs that use the fewest elements to create maximum effect.

Clean lines and clear colors can lend a modern, sophisticated look to bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms — and even kitchens.

Kitchens? Yes, but if you’re like most homeowners, you’re going to have to adjust your thinking to get there.

Whether you need to chop, mix, steam, warm, broil, roast, blend, core, toast, slice, dehydrate, tenderize or even butter your food — there’s a gadget for that. Architect and author Sarah Susanka fears this obsession with small appliances and assorted doohickeys is more about cluttering countertops than it is about simplifying food preparation. Even worse, she says, is the fact that homeowners often believe they need gargantuan kitchens to accommodate all their culinary contraptions.

What’s the solution? Minimize.

Minimallist kitchen

Wide open spaces on countertops make for easy prep and cleanup in this kitchen by Hatfield Builders.

“People may have lots and lots of cookie sheets, but they really only use two,” she told the Green Living Journal. “Our mothers and grandmothers cleared out clutter. (Now), we keep bringing stuff in, but we forget we’ve got to also take stuff out.”

minimalist4

NW Home Designers incorporated this clever hiding spot for utensils into this kitchen’s design.

Scores of minimalism-related blogs espouse the virtues of living without a microwave oven and the need for one good chef’s knife rather than a set of seven.

For those who like the idea of clean-and-clutter-free but who may still want to reheat leftovers, we offer these first steps toward creating a kitchen that’s less encumbered:

  • Start with counters and then work your way through your kitchen, cabinet by cabinet and drawer by drawer. Ask yourself: Do I really use this item? If I use it less than once a month, is it really worth the storage space it’s taking up? If you have duplicates of an item (two sets of measuring cups, for example), do you really need them? Question every canister, every pot and every utensil. Give away items you’re sure you don’t want. If you’re not certain you can live without your stock pot, put it in a box in the basement or garage; if you don’t touch it in six months, chances are you don’t need it.
  • Just because you spent a small fortune on a small appliance doesn’t mean you must keep it. If you haven’t used your hot dog warmer, bread maker or milkshake machine in a year, it’s time to let go. If you wanted a milkshake, could you make one with your blender? Or even some old-fashioned stirring? Sell or donate the single-purpose appliances you’re not using and free up valuable kitchen real estate.
  • Even the most minimalistic of kitchens must be functional. Hide essentials behind cabinet doors to streamline the look.
  • Consider appliances with the clean lines of minimalist design. Plenty of sleek but simple kitchen suites are designed with a nod to the iconic age of American design. You might also look for major appliances that are true multi-taskers. For example, all-in-one ovens offer convection heating, can microwave and steam, and retail for about $1,000.
  • Avoid the cold and uninhabited look that can accompany extreme minimalist design by adding a splash of non-fussy color to your kitchen. Remember, though, that minimalist design generally relies on the use of a single color to unify a space.

Related:

Mary Boone is a freelance writer for Zillow Blog. Read more from her here.

About the Author

Mary was a newspaper writer/editor for 13 years and worked as spokesperson for a Fortune 500 Company before becoming a freelance writer. She has authored more than two dozen books for young readers and writes for a handful of regional home and garden magazines.

  • http://about.me/colinmichael Colin Michael

    Saying “Less is more” and being minimalist can be things that are poles apart. The first kitchen design is much larger than any minimalist would need. The second design is larger than the footprint of some minimalist homes!
    Here’s a minimalist tip: take everything out of your kitchen. Select 99 items that will go back into your kitchen. Now you know how much storage space you will need in you kitchen. Build accordingly.

  • http://floorcrafthome.com/ Floorcraft Tile San Francisco

    Our mothers and grandmothers cleared out clutter. we keep
    bringing stuff in, but we forget we’ve got to also take stuff out.

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