Small Kitchen Design Tips from Lori Dennis

Designer Lori Dennis spills her tricks for healthy, stylish, compact kitchens.

| September/October 2011

A green design advocate for more than two decades, Lori Dennis is the author of Green Interior Design, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers’ Sustainable Design Council and a Sustainable Furnishings Council GREENleader. She shares her work through her role on HGTV’s "The Real Designing Women" and via lectures nationwide. Dennis redesigned this 1970s kitchen for a young man whose history of health issues demanded a nontoxic living space.

This homeowner needed a nontoxic home because of health issues. What materials did you choose? 

The best surfaces to use in a nontoxic home are durable, easy-to-clean ones. We used recycled-content Silestone countertops that did not need to be sealed with harmful chemicals. They’re pretty indestructible. The bamboo cabinets have a smooth surface, too—no raised molding, which accumulates dust.

This kitchen is compact. What are a few design tricks you recommend for saving space in the kitchen? 

When you don’t have a lot of space, I recommend clearing out nonessential items and storing things you use often in attractive containers on the counters. That way it’s easy to reach them, and they add character that personalizes a small space. In this kitchen, we also put in a tall pantry (not pictured) to hold additional items.

What are three of your favorite design tips our readers could use in their own kitchens? 

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