How can you maximize the size of your kitchen without an expensive renovation? These design tricks will make your kitchen appear larger, while not truly modifying the original square footage.
Check out these small kitchen ideas for cabinetry, color schemes, countertops, and more that make a kitchen look and feel spacious.
1. Paint it white
White 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.
2. Connect to outdoors
If your kitchen often becomes too 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.
3. Line it up
To visually expand a tiny kitchen, install tile in a horizontal arrangement. This small kitchen backsplash features a horizontal stacked bond pattern, which makes the small kitchen seem wider than its actual footprint. Open shelving and butcher-block countertops mimic the look for cohesiveness.
4. Get Creative with Pantry Storage
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.
5. Blend Surfaces
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 to busy.
6. Accessible Storage
An easy way to keep clutter off limited countertop space is with easy-to-access storage. For small kitchen ideas, installing open shelving is ideal. 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.
7. Use a Low-Contrast Color Scheme
Creating a kitchen color scheme with little difference between the color of walls, countertops, cabinetry, and woodwork makes a space appear larger than it really is.
8. 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. Avoid clutter in a room to make it appear more expansive.
9. Welcome Natural Light
Natural light is bound to maximize any space and thus should be incorporated into your small kitchen area. You might not have control over the number of windows in your kitchen, but you can maximize the light you do have by keeping window treatments minimal. Blinds add privacy without blocking the light. If you want more privacy, try an opaque shade that allows light in.
10. Borrow Space
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.
11. 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.
12. Streamline Storage
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 space.
13. Stretch the lost space
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.
14. Widen the Strips
Horizontal stripes that run 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.
15. Take the Eye High
Giving the eye a vertical path to follow increases the apparent height of the ceiling, thus lifting lid off of a boxy small kitchen. 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.
16. 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.
17. Eliminate the Clutter
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.
18. 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 as well.
19. 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.
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