“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.
“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.”
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.
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