Kitchen and Dining

How to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger

Wishing your kitchen was a little bit bigger but you don’t have the means for a major remodel? Don’t worry, there are remedies for that. You don’t always need to tear down anything to make it feel bigger, if you can’t simply expand your kitchen space. If you have a small kitchen, the key is maximizing what you have and think outside the box to make your kitchen feel and appear more spacious.

Stretch your kitchen without totally adding floor space with the help of these tips:

How to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger

1. De-clutter

The easiest and most practical thing to do to make your small kitchen look bigger is to clear off clutter and keep your counters mostly clear. A lot of cookware, appliances and collectibles displayed on the countertops can overwhelm a small kitchen and cramp your work space. Stash as much as you can behind closed doors like your kitchen cabinets and drawers. Store your appliances in the pantry or cupboards. Focus on a few standout items and hide the rest away. The more clear and empty countertop space you have, the more spacious your kitchen will feel.

To take de-cluttering further, get rid of your decorative design pieces like ornate cabinetry, ornate handles, corbels and window coverings and choose a more minimalist design like European-style cabinetry with sleek, flat-panel doors.

2. Paint your walls white

White is the go-to color when you want to make a room feel open and airy simply because it reflects light easily, giving the illusion of a mirror and expanding the space visually. White enhances the sense of space and makes walls recede. If you incorporate white even with your kitchen cabinets and countertops, you can create a seamless space without edges or boundaries. Just make sure that you use several shapes and combine contrasting textures to keep the all-white kitchen from feeling sterile.

3. Choose a single color schem

Not into white? No problem. If you want your kitchen to look larger, you can still pick any color you want – but make sure you stick to it all the way. Using too much color as a color scheme can easily create visual clutter. If you paint the wall with a certain color, make sure the backsplash, cabinets and countertops have the same color, but with different shades and/or texture. For instance, if you want a yellow kitchen, you can use varying shades of yellow and you can combine textures, to keep it from looking boring. 

If white works best as the color that makes a space look roomier, then logic will tell you to choose light and pale colors works only. Yes, it’s a safe approach, but don’t be afraid to go dark either, like black, chocolate brown, dark gray, navy and more. These dark and deep tones can also create the impression that the walls are further back than they really are. 

4. Add open shelving

One easy way to keep clutter off your countertops is to add open shelving. Open shelves can create an airy and sophisticated look when done right. This way, you can also display your attractive cookware and serving ware. The key is to display them in an attractive manner, so you need to make things organized, clean and with a specific color scheme. You can swap out your current cabinets with open shelves, or simply remove the cabinet doors. Sometimes, your closed kitchen cabinets give you a leeway to store unnecessary items that you don’t even use any more. If you are intimidated by open shelving, consider this thought: if your items don’t require constant use, do you even need it anyway?

5. Replace your cabinet doors with glass ones

Cabinets often create the bulk in kitchens. If you think the idea of open shelving is not good for your kitchen, you can replace the solid fronts of your cabinet doors with glass. This pushes the eyes past the cabinet doors into the depths of the cabinets. This becomes more effective if the contents of the cabinets are orderly and color-coordinated. If the cabinets look cluttered, it can make the room feel crowded.

6. Let in more light

If your kitchen is dark and gloomy, it can look and feel small. Always let in natural light as much as possible and allow sunlight do its magic. Keep your window treatments minimal. If privacy is an issue, you can choose opaque-colored curtains that let light in. The lighter and brighter your kitchen is, the roomier it will feel. 

You can also let light in by being smart with your light fixtures. Pendant lights can add more brightness (of course), but its structure can also help direct the eyes upward. For best effect, choose stainless steel pieces because they can reflect natural light during the day and add shimmer at night. 

7. Slim down furnishings

A small kitchen will need small-scale furnishings, but you can make it look roomier by choosing visually lightweight furnishings. Think about skinny bar tools, narrow-legged chairs, a trim industrial kitchen island and a slender trash bin. Avoid chunky furniture legs and thick bases as they can add more visual bulk.

8. Merge with a larger space

If the layout of your home allows it, you can remove part of a wall separating the kitchen form an adjoining dining room or living room. This won’t add any square footage from the kitchen, but opening a wall can enlarge the look of the space and bring in more light. You can make it a half wall that makes it a great solution to keep your rooms divided while making it look spacious.

9. Add recessed storage

If you can remodel your kitchen, you can add a recessed shelving unit to the wall space. The recessed shelves can help keep the cabinets from obstructing the flow of the kitchen. You can easily retrofit a recessed unit especially if you place it between studs. Also, make sure the recessed shelves are finished and trimmed to match the woodwork and blend with the architecture. 

10. Take advantage of vertical space

In a small kitchen, you have to take advantage of your vertical space to make your kitchen feel bigger. You can make a visual impact by picking wallpaper with vertical stripes, adding long cabinet handles, hanging vertical décor, or adding molding on top of wood cabinets. This will add an impression of a higher ceiling.

To maximize the space on your wall, use it to add storage. You can install hanging shelves, peg boards or magnetic knife strips on your walls. You can place your condiments and spices on small hanging shelves to keep your work space clear while keeping them easy to reach. 

11. Change your flooring

If you can add a “stretching” effect for the walls, you can do it too for your floors. A kitchen can look crowded and cluttered if you have ornate tile patterns or floor coverings on the floor. This can make your kitchen look smaller. Instead, replace your flooring with horizontal lines or diagonal lines that draw the eyes from one side of the kitchen to the other, making it look wider than it really is. An area rug with horizontal stripes can also have the same widening effect. 

12. Keep it shiny

Mirrors can make a room feel bigger, but most of the times, it will be illogical to add a mirror on the kitchen wall if you can use it for a more practical purpose. To add the same mirror effect, you can use your existing materials as an advantage. Reflective surfaces like stainless steel, ceramic tiles, marble countertops, glossy bar stools and glass cabinet doors can enhance the effect of natural and artificial light, which can make your small kitchen look bigger. These shiny surfaces can boost depth and brightness. 

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