5 Things We Learned From the 2013 Small Cool Kitchens Contest

updated Jun 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

Our Small Cool Kitchens contest wrapped up this week. Did you enjoy it? We always love this contest because it gives us a unique snapshot of what’s going on in kitchens around the country (and world!). This year, we were reminded of a few trends that aren’t dying anytime soon, some tips to make small kitchens the best they can be, and one hot new color we see hitting it big in the next year.

1. For rental kitchens, a place for everything and everything in its place.

This was the year of the rental kitchen! Two of the contest finalists — and the eventual grand prize winner! — were rental kitchens. This is especially awesome because we all know that rental kitchens can be a challenge: you have to make the best of what you’ve been given, which means getting creative with space planning, organization, and decor.

If there’s one thing this year’s crop of rental kitchens confirmed for us, it’s that everything in your kitchen needs a place of its own. It’s all about organization when you’re dealing with a small kitchen that has quirks and annoyances you can’t renovate away.
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Jillian’s Architectural Details (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

2. Subway tile is still going strong.

Here’s one trend that isn’t going away anytime soon, according to this year’s entrants: white subway tile! This clean, simple look is still a favorite for owner remodeled kitchens.
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Kristin and Brian’s Wonderful White Kitchen (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

3. Farmhouse sinks are still hot, hot, hot.

All hail
the farmhouse sink, ruler of all other sinks. The farmhouse sink trend is still kicking. The throwback look of the farmhouse sink remains remarkably versatile, and works just as well in modern-style kitchens as it does in country cottages.
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Jean’s Small But Never Cramped Kitchen (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4. Dark is dramatic in small kitchens.

Interior designed Mona Hajj once
House Beautiful that dark colors can really transform a small room: “People think that they need to use small furniture and light colors to make a small room look big, but that’s not the case at all,” she said. “Dark colors…with the appropriate lighting and accessories, can give a room a larger, more luxurious feel.”

That was definitely the case with a few small kitchens this year. Dark walls, backsplashes, and accents created interesting, moody kitchens that were small in size but big on drama.
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FINALIST: Sarah’s Neutral Salvaged Wood Kitchen (Image credit: The Kitchn)

5. Light blue and minty green walls are in.

Another trend we noticed this year? Light blue and minty green walls! A number of kitchens — including a contest finalist and our grand prize winner — sported these light hues on their kitchen walls. So fresh and pretty. 

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FINALIST: Jennifer’s Full-Service NYC Kitchen (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What did you notice about this year’s Small Cool Kitchens entries? Any ideas, tips, or trends you picked up?

(Images: all via The Kitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens 2013 contest)