Asked on Dec 09, 2018

How can I make my small kitchen and bay window more user friendly?

by M'Lynn

My small kitchen doesn't exactly feel like the heart of the home. There is a smallish bay window area adjacent to kitchen and the table tends to make walkway cluttered and too narrow.

As was when I bought house a year ago. Top & Bottom cabinets do not match, little counter space. Dropped ceiling. Window over sink (to the left of photo) but area, tho south facing, always seems dark.

This area opens up into the living room. It is off to the side, so not nearly as wide as living room and looks even smaller with dropped ceiling due to proximity to cathedral ceiling in living room. What could be a charming little place looks like an after thought in layout. I have pondered many ideas but can't seem to find one that rings true to me.

Mid-panting living room (don't judge, lol) but photo shows how little the kitchen seems compared to family room.

  5 answers
  • Can you turn the bay window area into a seating area? I've seen bay windows in kitchen's were there was a bench in bay window, then the table and chairs on the other side. Here is a photo for reference:

    • M'Lynn M'Lynn on Dec 09, 2018

      I have considered a seating area in the bay window. It would have to be detached due to the windows coming down almost to the floor. I can't afford to replace the windows at this time but a seating area would be my choice. Thanks for replying.

  • Oliva Oliva on Dec 09, 2018

    Hi, M'Lynn,

    Your kitchen space doesn't appear very large, but given the lack of light, what about starting with changing the upper cabinets to match the style of the lowers (Shaker, hidden hinges), with glass fronts on all cabinets on the stove wall?

    As you have stainless appliances, what about adding brushed stainless or red (I noticed you like red as an accent color), long handles to the cabinet doors, for a more modern look?

    Because the bay window doesn't yield much light, can you switch out the curtains for cellular blinds in light color, move the plant or switch to one of shorter height, and install a window seat to double as table seating? Note that a glass top table would make the area appear larger.

    I'd change your backsplash to a reflective glass type to better bounce light.

    Switch the oak(?) framed light near stove and the fixture over table to ones with clear glass and brushed stainless framed, contemporary style fixtures with dimmable LED lighting.

    • See 1 previous
    • Oliva Oliva on Dec 09, 2018

      Hi, M'Lynn,

      Your response was very helpful.

      If you're seeking a cottage look, what about beadboard faced cabinetry, in a lighter tone, with bronze or copper knobs and cup styled pulls?

      I'd still contemplate some glass front cabinetry with bead board backing and interior lighting (nothing says cottage has to be dark), or use light colored interior back walls in glass fronted cabinets, if your dishware is dark, or you wish to highlight the contents.

      Consider two tiered curtains on the bay window that would easily slide open and closed, in a cottage themed print with lighter background. If you need more privacy, you could consider roller blinds for the bay window.

      The window seat could be covered in red, if you wish to continue that color in the kitchen. Lighten the color of the table and additional chairs, and consider a drop leaf styled table, to make more room if necessary.

      Would you consider lantern styled lighting, with LED bulbs on dimmers?

      Cottage style can incorporate gingham, plaids, small checks, etc., for chair cushions to coordinate with curtains and bench seat under window.

      Your present kitchen floor is very dark. Can it be lightened by sanding and staining in a red oak or pickled oak, or maple color, to bring in more light?

      Cottage decor tends to have some open shelving, although you may not want much of it, as it adds to dusting...

      Your backsplash could simply be painted in a durable, scrubbable satin finish, or partnered with antique pottery, 3D tiles, scattered across the area.

      Your dilemma fascinates me, so please let us know what you've decided upon.

      Thank you for your consideration.

  • C Crow C Crow on Dec 09, 2018

    Cute space. Perhaps if all walls and ceilings next to kitchen were the same light color the height difference wouldn't be so visible and it might seem brighter.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Dec 09, 2018

    Hi M'Lynn

    My name is Linda and I've been looking at your pictures to try to help you. As others have said, I think it's important for you to use light colors on your walls & backsplash. The deep colors that you like absorbs light, therefore making everything look smaller. Could you build a bench under the bay window that could be used for seating? Then your table could go next to that with chairs for the other sides. I also agree with making your bay window appear "cleaner". Not in a dirty sense, but it has both curtains and a plant which both take away light and make the window look smaller. Using blinds or cellular shades that can go all the way up to let in the light would be a more modern look. In the kitchen, I'd replace the ceiling light also with something more modern. We had the exact same light but replaced it with one that had 3 LED bullet lights that we could point in any direction. That made a huge difference for us.

    Since you like the deep red colors, I'd suggest using items in that color for accessories. You might even be able to find the perfect rug to go under your table that will highlight that color or find the perfect painting on canvas that's not too expensive but will give that pop of color. We found a 5 piece canvas sunset print/painting that we added to our living room (just as an example) to give a pop of color. We get complements about it all the time. Using things like that brightened up our drab brown decor that has brown furniture and wood floors. Here's a picture of what we did. Since this was taken, we have spread the pieces out a little bit and also added deep red pillows in place of the patterned ones on our sofa. Also, the colors on the upload don't look as bright as they actually look in our home - just so you know. I hope some of these ideas help you. Wishing you the best.

  • Phaedra Phaedra on Dec 09, 2018

    Can you remove the soffit over the sink and the wall cabinet beside the bay window. Also lower whats behind the curtain to counter height. This would open up that wall and make it flow into the family room.

    From your pictures it looks like the bay is part of the kitchen and the window is at counter height. If it is you can visually extend the kitchen to incorporate the bay window by using a counter height table. With stools that fit under the table so they wont be in the walkway. It would help if I could see a pic of the bay window.

    Not sure how big your family room is. That painted wall outside the kitchen would be a perfect place for a giant cupboard that fills that wall. With open shelving above and closed storage below. You could store a ton of kitchen stuff in the bottom.

    • See 1 previous
    • Phaedra Phaedra on Dec 10, 2018

      Youre right about mechanicals in the soffits. Im hoping theyre all in the other walls and they just continued the soffits for continuity. Taking out all the soffits and opening up the ceiling and replacing the cabinets would have been my first choice but I don't think that's in the budget.