Small Kitchen Design Tips

The Best of Small Kitchen Design - The Little Rock Whidbey

Small kitchen design is unique in its need for both functionality and eye appeal. Lindsey Lewis of Little Rock, Arkansas adapted the kitchen in our Whidbey plans and takes high honors in both!

The small kitchen photos below offer great solutions for solving some of the most common small kitchen design dilemmas with stunning results!

Storage is one of the biggest issues confronting the occupant of a small kitchen. Kitchens, by their very nature, require “stuff” – pots, pans, utensils etc.  Storing these necessary items in a way that does not create visual clutter is key. Lindsey’s stunning banquet is a great option.  Linens, large pots and pans, over-sized serving platters or your Aunt Helen's favorite candle sticks will all fit snuggly and out of site in large, neutral colored baskets beneath the seating. 

An island at the center of the kitchen provides additional workspace and another option for covered storage. It has the added benefit of providing space to place items coming out of the refrigerator or, with the addition of a stool or two, a space to socialize with a glass of your favorite Sonoma wine while the meal is being prepared.

Cabinets with glass doors help make small kitchens look larger. In her Little Rock Whidbey, Lindsey uses frosted glass in her cabinet doors and a brightly colored back wall with stunning results. 

Shelves are another common option for kitchen storage. They keep things open and light but come with a few pitfalls. Most designers suggest choosing which items to place on them with great care to eliminate potential clutter. Stark white plates with cherry red bowls and stew pots make the perfect statement next to this sink. Handy hooks for coffee mugs hang below freeing up more cabinet space.

The flooring helps to create much of the character and dynamic of this custom Whidbey. Extending that flooring from the great room through both the nook and kitchen helps maintain the uniformity of the space.

Lighting is an often over-looked aspect of design.  The natural light in this Whidbey is astounding but Lindsey also took care to provide “task” lighting in key areas. Note the lights above the table, island and sink. Carefully assess how you are going to use your space and locate task lighting according to your needs.

Small kitchens do have several things going for them that their larger brethren do not. There is an inherent efficiency in a well-designed small kitchen that no large kitchen can compete with. Everything you need is at your fingertips.

The other advantage a small kitchen has is cost. Because a smaller kitchen is going to use less square footage of counter space and fewer cabinets you will be saving money. Apply the funds to upgrades. High quality counter tops have great visual appeal and wear better over time. Custom cabinetry with high-end pulls and handles add immense value and character.

Congratulations Lindsey on a stunning adaptation of Tumbleweed's Whidbey! Your kitchen is an inspiration! 

For more tips from the number one name in small house design read The Small House Book.  


Written by Bernadette Weissmann — November 13, 2012

Filed under: design   Downsizing   home design   kitchens   Whidbey  

Affordable House Plans

We've made it easier than ever to afford Tumbleweed House Plans. Now you have the option to order your plans today and pay them off over the next year.

Starting at just $69.90 per month, you can order professionally drawn house plans. And it's simple. Your credit card will be charged each month on the same day. For instance, if you purchase plans on November 14th, you'll be charged on the 14th of each month for the 12 months (from November - October).

You'll receive your plans instantly and can start building right away.

Not sure which set of plans to purchase? We make it simple by allowing you to exchange a set of plans for any other set of the same value up to 2 years after your purchase.

This new program is available on the following house plans:


Written by Steve Weissmann — November 13, 2012

Filed under: plans  

Small Bedroom Design Tips

Anyone who's ever had to go at it alone in a small apartment has a good sense of how to manage available space in a small bedroom.

You're in this room, your clothes or dressers take up one part; your bed, makeshift futon, couch or something else takes up the sleeping space, and then you have .... what? A short path on one side of the bed or drawer and another path to the restroom or kitchen. You stare at the blank walls and one small window, and wonder how are you going to make this an enjoyable room, one in which you can spend time even in the quietest moments?

It's not easy, but it's doable. Here's how:

Single types can strip their room down to bare essentials - a raised bed, bookshelves along the walls, use of mirrors, plants and a few throw rugs to open up the floor space. By keeping personal effects slight, a small bedroom can actually give the appearance of being larger than it is with strategically placed objects, lights and pictures.

Couples can work together on bedroom projects. One couple, chronicled at YoungHouseLove, decided to redo their bedroom, adding clothing wardrobes, curtains, new bed sheets and more to come up with a beautiful solution to a small apartment problem.

Families have a tougher time with the number of bodies in a small apartment, but with a little ingenuity about placing cribs or beds for the kids a certain way, moms and dads can save space for their kids as needed.

These are just a few of the small pointers. Thankfully, the Internet helps with suggestions at every click! Here are some easy-to-implement solutions for sprucing up your tiny bedroom.


Clearly, your twin, double, queen or king size bed will take up the most floor space. There are no easy ways around this. If you want a large bed to roll around in, you'll need the floor space. Smaller beds take up less floor space, but they also limit your bed rolling.

One alternative is to raise the bed. By building a deck platform in the room and putting your bed onto the deck, you can free up all that space below to add a desk, sitting area and more. However, you may not be able to ever enjoy those nights when you just want to fall into bed. Your ladder walk up is always going to be the issue.

You can buy a loft bed kit online or find DIY ways to get the job done. Recommended for rooms with higher ceilings!

Bed Sheets & Comforters

When working within your small bedroom space, it's important to take into consideration the light colors and light textures to open up the room's appearance. Having light, ambient colors filling your bedroom can give you much needed peace and serenity after a long day of work. But light colors can smudge easier too.

Look around for possible color combinations that work for your room. If your bed faces the window and gets a lot of light, you may not need to have a bright yellow bed cover. There are plenty of duvets and comforters at to get a sense of how a particular bed sheet and comforter setting could help to restyle your room.


Do you have room for a shelf of books? Instead of using floor-standing bookshelves, which takes up valuable space, how can you add shelving higher up the walls to elevate your knowledge?

Built-in bookshelves higher up the walls can help free up crawling space for young babies and toddlers and help keep junior's books in some reasonable shape. Often, the bookshelves lend a strong presence to the room's overall aesthetic glow. Plus, shelves hold a lot of stuff, and that's important in a small room.

Mirrors & Art

Most bedroom design experts suggest mirrors to open up visual lengths, widths and overall appeal. Apartment Therapy suggests using over-sized interior mirrors to expand the illusion of space in a small area. For instance, when a large mirror is placed directly opposite a window that streams in light, it can double the amount of light that comes into your room.

Other ways that mirrors can build space in your bedroom is to use dual mirrors on each side of the bedroom door. If the mirrors are balanced against the incoming light from a window, you might even be able to create a trifecta of light pattern in your room. And how sweet would that be?


Recessed lights into the ceiling are the best way to avoid lamp space on your floors. If you can do this, try to get a dimmer switch for separate lights throughout the room. Having a brighter reading light and a dimmer light near your dresser at the same time can create swell effects.

If recessed lights aren't an option, think about clip-on lights placed strategically throughout the room. Varying shades of light, coupled with mirrors and light colors can do remarkable things to a room's visual space.

A small bedroom may be a temporary item in your life, but for the time being, making visual and aesthetic adjustments in your space will optimize the light, color and overall appeal of your room. Remember, the more stuff you bring into the room reduces the size of your room that much more. So be particular and enjoy open spaces, and you'll find that leads to more energy and goodwill spread throughout the room.

Written by Tumbleweed Staff — November 09, 2012

Filed under: bedroom   design  

Life Inside a Micro Home

Watch More News Videos at ABC | 2012 Presidential Election | Entertainment & Celebrity News
Pushing tiny to a new extreme, an architect designs a tiny home only 5' wide to fit in an alley. You've got to see this video!

Written by Steve Weissmann — November 02, 2012

Filed under: video  

Mixer before the workshop

The Santa Rosa Workshop 2012 was a blast. On Friday evening we had a mixer with Tumbleweed staff and fans at the Sandpiper Restaurant in Bodega Bay. Great time! Pictured below is the view of the bay from the Sandpiper.

Each month we visit 2 cities around the US. You can learn more about other upcoming workshops here.

I wanted to also thank our many presenters:

  • Kevin Casey from New Avenue Homes spoke about the process of building a backyard cottage
  • Mark Fallin, a Sonoma County local, shared his knowledge on HVAC and energy
  • Austin Hay dropped in to share his journey of building a tiny home (see his blog)
  • JT told his story of building and now living in his Tumbleweed (read more)
  • Pepper Clark of Bungalow To Go helped people design their own models and let everyone tour her two homes under construction
Just for fun, pictured below is me at the mixer enjoying a glass of wine. I'm the guy with the big goofy smile.

Written by Steve Weissmann — October 19, 2012

Filed under: Workshop  

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