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Have a Small Kitchen? Here Are 9 Ways to Make It Seem Bigger

June 26, 20133 comments

We all know our lives at home revolve around our kitchen. It’s the room we use every day for many activities. We cook. We eat. We talk. We work. We hang out. But even though we use it for just about everything, the kitchen isn’t always as large as we want it be.

Perhaps it could use more storage. Maybe more countertop space. Or possibly a larger table would be ideal. Luckily, there are some tricks to fool the eye and make your small space feel giant.

1. Out of sight, out of mind

Too many things on the counter and walls can easily cramp your space. Pick your décor carefully and keep counters clear. Select only a few countertop “show pieces.” Your frequently used coffee maker or favorite small-size house plant are good options.

Butcher Block Kitchen Counters

The clear counters bring out the beauty of the wood and keep the space from feeling cluttered.

2. Try for multi-purpose

When you’re tight on square footage, it’s important to get as much out of your space as possible. The best way to do this is to make rooms and furniture serve multiple purposes. For example, if you’re strategic with your kitchen design, the peninsula could be a preparation area when cooking and double as a dining spot with the addition of barstool seating.

Don’t have an extra room for an at-home office? Well, the kitchen table doesn’t have to always be for eating. It could easily function as a desk and working area. Just clear and clean when it’s mealtime!

Multi-purpose Kitchen Desk

This in-kitchen desk functions as a micro office.

3. Clear line of sight

To help your space feel large, remove items that block your sight. The farther you can see, the larger your space will feel. Tall chairs, large furniture, clunky décor, and even unruly houseplants are items to watch out for.

If you’re remodeling your kitchen and have upper cabinets over a peninsula, consider taking them out to create an airiness and more open floorplan. You’ll be surprised at the difference this can make.

Open Maple Kitchen Cabinets

The placement of cabinets is very important. The openness of the peninsula connects the kitchen to the neighboring living room.

4. Define borders with rugs not walls

If you’re using a single space for multiple purposes, you can section off each zone with area rugs. This is a much less invasive way to create separation than room dividers and makeshift walls, which interrupt your line of sight.

Open Floorplan Kitchen

The island in between the kitchen and dining room separates the two spaces but maintains openness.

5. If you can, build it in

When you build in furniture, it becomes part of the structure of the room and takes up less space visually. Along with your kitchen cabinetry, you can build in seating for banquette style dining and add concealed storage in benches and window alcoves.

Built In Banquette Seating

The built-in banquette seating seamlessly transitions from the cabinetry and is space efficient.

6. Light monochromatic colors

High-contrast color palettes, with lights and darks, and brights and bolds, can cramp your space. Layering lighter colors in a monochromatic fashion — whites, grays, khakis, etc. — in the cabinets, wall colors, and flooring won’t dominate visually and will help your space feel larger.

White Spanish Style Kitchen

White cabinets and bright flooring keeps the space from feeling cramped.

7. Avoid bulky furniture

In small spaces, bulky furniture tends to be a big a no-no. Instead, slim pieces with little excess are better options. Also, when furniture sits atop legs, it grants better sight of the floor, bringing a sense of airiness to the space.

White Kitchen Island Seating

The barstools have a small visual footprint with clean lines to keep the space feeling open.

8. Let the light shine

If you’re lucky enough to have great windows and natural lighting, don’t block it with blinds or curtains! Natural light is the most desirable source of light because it brightens your space and adds depth. Just one window can dramatically change the look and feel of any room.

White Kitchen with Good Lighting

Large windows over the sink, task lighting, and a skylight bring tons of natural light to this kitchen.

9. Mirror, mirror

To aid the natural light, add reflective surfaces to bounce the light around your kitchen. Ceramic tile in the backsplash is one way to do this. Large mirrors are another and will create the illusion of a bigger space.

Making your kitchen feel bigger is all about planning ahead and using your space intelligently and efficiently. Combining those ideas with space-saving and visual tricks, you can create a small kitchen that feels larger than life.

Traditional White Kitchen With Mirrors

Traditional Kitchen by Denver Kitchen & Bath Designers Interior Intuitions, Inc.


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Showing 3 comments

  1. Allen S. Morgan Reply

    I’m not sure how I feel about bookshelves in the bedroom (top photo). I wonder if it would feel kind of dusty? I do like how it looks but I think I’d rather have books in the dining room. But if the bedroom was all I had for my books, it would work!

  2. Gina Reply

    We are in the middle of building a new home and the kitchen design is similar to #8 “Let the light shine”. Same built in oven but microwave on top, counter top stove and there is a window in front of sink and the fridge is on the end. I’m wanting mandota (maple carmel) look and the island is a retangle shape. Need ideas….We are in Martin, GA

    • August Drilling Reply

      Hi Gina, thanks for reaching out! We’d be happy to help you with your cabinetry project. Please give us a call at 1-800-576-7930 to speak with one of our designers. They’ll talk with you to learn about your needs and create a design that fits your space and budget. Thanks!

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