Make a Small Kitchen Look Larger with These Clever Design Tricks
Paint It White
White is your best friend in a small kitchen. It reflects light, enhancing the sense of space and making the walls recede. When you include white on cabinetry, countertops, walls, and the ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries. Use several shades of white in your small kitchen design, and combine contrasting textures to keep an all-white room from feeling sterile. Recessed-panel cabinets and crown molding create subtle shadows that can add interest, too.
Connect to the Outdoors
A small kitchen for one is no problem, but when you add guests, it can start to get crowded. Double French doors leading to your back porch can open up a small galley kitchen. If your dining space is tight, consider opting for a bistro set or small kitchen table with benches to keep the layout open.
Line It Up
Get Creative with Pantry Storage
No designated pantry? No problem. Utilize clever cabinet add-ons for small kitchen pantry storage. French doors on this upper cabinet swing open to reveal built-in spice racks that take advantage of deep cabinets that hide snacks and staples. A countertop drawer keeps daily cooking essentials close at hand.
Make a small kitchen look larger by connecting your backsplash and countertops for a cohesive look. In this small space, black and white granite countertops extend up the walls for a seamless appearance. A gray and white color scheme draws from the natural stone to prevent the small kitchen from looking too busy.
An easy way to keep clutter off limited countertop space is with easy-to-access storage. For small kitchen ideas, we love installing open shelving. Here, the top shelf is longer to accommodate occasional drinkware while glasses that see daily use go beneath. A magnetic strip on the fridge holds cutlery within reach of the prep space.
Use a Low-Contrast Color Scheme
Creating a kitchen color scheme with little difference between the colors of walls, countertops, cabinetry, and woodwork makes a space appear larger than it really is. Here, the cabinets, trim, and backsplash are close in color value—a soft gray-green—so the eye doesn't trip over sudden shifts from dark to light. The small kitchen remodel is serene and expansive.
Replace Cabinet Doors with Glass
One way to make a small kitchen appear larger is to remove some cabinet doors or replace the solid fronts with glass. This pulls the eye past the cabinet frames, into the depths of the cabinets, so the walls feel farther away. This trick is most effective if you can keep what's in the cabinets orderly and color-coordinated; clutter tends to make a room feel crowded.
Welcome Natural Light
Natural light enlarges any space and should be incorporated into your small kitchen ideas. You might have no choice about the number or placement of windows in your kitchen, but you can maximize the light you do have by keeping window treatments minimal. Here, blinds add privacy without blocking the light. If you want more privacy, try an opaque shade that allows light in.
Depending on your home's layout, you might be able to remove part of a wall separating the kitchen from an adjoining living or dining room. It won't increase the square footage of the kitchen, but it can vastly enlarge the sense of space, bringing in more light and a feeling of openness. A half-wall turned into a table or small kitchen peninsula is a great solution for small families or empty nesters.
Slenderize the Furnishings
A small kitchen dictates small-scale furnishings, but take it a step further by choosing a small kitchen island, bar chairs, or stools that are visually lightweight, such as this small industrial island. Clean lines don't distract the eye, and the furniture piece allows you to see the floor and walls beyond, making the room feel larger.
Secrets to a Successful Small Kitchen
You might not realize it, but your small kitchen has great potential for extra space. Take a look at a few of our favorite small kitchen ideas. These smart secrets will have you cooking up a storm in no time.
Small kitchens present tough storage challenges. Countertops often become crowded with appliances, but eliminating clutter can help any space feel larger. Use a corner appliance garage in your kitchen and reclaim lost storage space. The cabinet conceals coffeemakers, toasters, and other small kitchen appliances, while keeping them easy to access for food prep.
Stretch the Floor Space
Some patterned wall and floor coverings add visual clutter that makes a space feel smaller, but certain patterns have the opposite effect. Oversize diamonds or chevrons create diagonal lines that draw the eyes from one side of the room to the other, making it feel wider than it really is. Combine this technique with low-contrast colors for big results in a small kitchen.
Widen with Stripes
Just as clothing with horizontal stripes can make a person look wider, striped flooring that runs from side to side, rather than following the length of a room, will stretch the apparent floor space in your small kitchen. These broad stripes were created by alternating light- and medium-tone laminate floor tiles. Achieve a similar effect by painting existing wooden or vinyl flooring or by covering the floor with a large striped rug.
Take the Eye High
Giving the eye a vertical path to follow increases the apparent height of the ceiling, thus lifting the lid off a boxy small kitchen. Here, molding atop the sleek wood cabinets draws the eye upward. If there is a soffit above your cabinets, framed prints, decorative plates, or large ceramic tiles achieve a similar effect. For the greatest sense of expansiveness, choose to decorate above cabinets with objects that harmonize with the background rather than stand out against it.
Mind the Hood
A sleek, wall-mount vent hood over the cooktop trims the visual fat from a wall of cabinets, giving the room a greater feeling of openness. Minimalist vent hoods, like this one, require 30 inches between cabinets, about the same as an undercabinet hood, but give a cleaner, lighter look—a plus in a small kitchen.
Countertops crowded with cookware and collectibles overwhelm a small kitchen and cramp workspace. To enlarge the room, clear off counters, windowsills, and cabinet tops, and stash as much as you can behind closed doors. To take decluttering further, opt for minimalist European-style cabinetry with sleek, flat-panel doors.
Stay Light and Bright
The best small kitchen ideas use materials as an advantage. Reflective surfaces, such as ceramic tile, marble countertops, and stainless steel, subtly amplify the effects of natural and artificial light, thereby making small kitchens seem larger. Plus, adequate lighting improves functionality. Undercabinet lights come in handy while cooking, and pendant lights add ambiance to meals served at an island or peninsula.
Carve Out Storage Space
Add storage to a small kitchen remodel, without consuming valuable floor space, by recessing a shelving unit into the wall space between studs. These recessed shelves—trimmed and finished to match the woodwork—blend with the architecture. If you don't have space within your kitchen, look for a spot nearby, such as a breakfast nook or hallway, to implement recessed shelves.