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Creative decorating can give your small kitchen panache

By Kathryn Weber, Tribune Media Services

Living Space

9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013

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With a small kitchen, you might think your decorating possibilities are limited, but that's short-sighted. Small kitchens have a cozy, inviting charm of their own and there are many ways to stretch your space and add flair.

EMBRACE LIGHT

While color is fun, it can quickly chop up a small kitchen. Instead, opt for a clean palette of white, tan, or another neutral color. Bathing the kitchen in a pale shade brightens up and visually expands the space.

If you have a window in the kitchen, make the most of the sunlight streaming in by limiting window dressings. Add more interior lights. Brighten things up with recessed or can lights combined with an over-the-sink fixture, an island light and lighting under counters.

PLACES, EVERYONE

While it's common to place the sink and stove opposite each other, this is a risky proposition in a small kitchen. When two people are working back to back, they risk bumping into each other. Instead, place the sink well away from the range.

To cut down on sink clutter, install a single-handle faucet with pull out sprayer. Invest in a refrigerator that's the same depth as the counters, maintaining a smooth, uninterrupted line along the wall of cabinetry.

SHELVE IT

In a small kitchen, even a dish towel casually tossed on the counter can make the room look messy. And unless you have time to keep things neat, open shelving is not a good option. The more items you can stash behind cabinet doors, the neater and larger your kitchen will feel. Use organizers in both drawers and cabinets. Plate stackers, spice racks and the like will help you stay organized. Maximize storage by using the backs of cabinet doors to store things like dish soap, plastic wrap and pot lids.

GO FOR STYLE

Even if your kitchen is tiny, you can still go big on style. Opt for one standout decorating feature - maybe a patterned floor, beautiful glass tile backsplash, a unique island, lighting fixture, or set of bright, quirky bar stools.

With some creativity, you can make a small kitchen captivating. Look for decorating items at architectural salvage stores, shop online, or visit your local Habitat for Humanity Restore Outlet (http://www.habitat.org/restores) for one-of-a-kind items that will give your kitchen panache.

(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site, http://www.redlotusletter.com.)