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Innovative Kitchen Designs to Spice Up the Heart of the Home

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? Skyrocketing rents have left many people living in apartments that are much smaller than they're used to. That makes this all-in-one kitchen, which occupies just six square feet, all the more appealing. Equipped with "a refrigerator, sink, microwave, dishwasher, surfaces, cupboards and cabinets," the Full Circle packs plenty of features into that small space. Too bad they run upwards of $10K a piece.

Okay, okay, so the above snapshot, with the bland white cooktop and bottle of Yellowtail doesn't exactly look transformative. In fact, it looks like a ho-hum American kitchen. The difference here isn't in the looks, but in the countertop material itself. Called PaperStone, this new product is produced using 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and resins free of petrochemicals. That makes it an enticing, environmentally friendly alternative to stone. PaperStone is priced competitively with granite and marble and, don't worry, can be employed in far more stylish kitchens than this.

Photos: Arclinea

? Streamlining storage has been a goal of kitchen designers for a while now, but how about concealing the entire kitchen behind sleek wooden panels? That's what Italian design firm Arclinea achieved with this modern kitchen. With the panels closed, the island serves as a serene and stylish dining area, with them open, the brunt of the kitchen is revealed, decked out in matching stainless steel.

? Another Italian firm, Aster Cucine, has done away with the whole "clean lines" thing. Instead opting for a much more wild approach to the kitchen. Distinguished by bulging, glossy pink cabinetry and a string of blue LED lights, this is one of the company's most outlandish designs, perfect for a jet-set playboy's penthouse.

? For something more sinister, we head to Japanese firm Toyo, who concocted this grey-on-black kitchen. Branded with a winged lion emblem, this hypermasculine kitchen is cool and all, but would probably look out of place in anything but a hollowed out volcano lair.

· Solid Surface Panels [PaperStone]
· Full Circle: Compact All-in-One Kitchen Station Design [Dornob]
· Composition 2 [Arclinea]
· Aster Cucine [Trendir]
· Artsy Kitchen [Trendir]