18 Ways To Make Your Small Kitchen Feel Bigger

Posted by Bob Lee on Dec 11, 2020 6:00:00 PM

Are two people already too many cooks in the kitchen? Does it feel cramped with even one person? 

A full remodel and knocking down walls may not be in your budget, but no worries! There are plenty of ways you can create the illusion of more space without massive renovations. We’ve put together 18 different ways you can make your small kitchen feel bigger.

 

Swap For A Single Sink

Swap For A Single Sink

Does your double sink leave some awkward, near unusable space on one side? Then you’re losing far more precious counter space than you realize. One way to reclaim some of that space is by swapping your double sink to a single. 

A single, or even 1 and a half sink, will eliminate awkward counter space and provide more room for meal preparation and storage. Single, under-mount sinks are especially great choices as they fit below your countertops, creating a seamless surface.

Courtesy of Wayfair on Pinterest.

Decrease Your Dishwasher

Decrease Your Dishwasher

One way to give yourself more storage space is by swapping for a compact dishwasher. This can save you around 6 inches, which can go a long way if you need the extra storage.

Courtesy of notjustahousewife on Pinterest.

 

 

Refrigerator Reduction

Refrigerator Reduction

Most people look for refrigerators that are 36in and up. But, much like the compact dishwasher, if you can slim your fridge down to 30, or even 26 inches, that means more potential shelving, storage, or counter space at your disposal.

If you’re willing to give up some cold storage, you can make your kitchen feel more sleek and spacious.

Photo Courtesy of houzz.com on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

 

Panel Your Appliances

Panel Your Appliances

Whether you’re comfortable with downsizing appliances or not, one way to make your kitchen feel bigger is by swapping their doors for panels. Panel appliances can match the existing cabinetry in your kitchen to maintain continuity. 

It won’t change the amount of storage or dimensions of your kitchen, but it will make your kitchen look and feel bigger. Uninterrupted spans fool the eye into thinking there’s more space than there actually is. If you are going to swap for slimmer appliances, paneling them will only enhance their impact.

Photo courtesy of lemongrocelane.com on Pinterest.

 

Update Your Cabinets

Your cabinets are a primary factor in shaping the size and feel of your kitchen. There are many ways you can update your cabinets to make your kitchen feel larger. We’ve outlined some different ideas here.

Glass Panels

Glass Panels

Glass cabinet panels can help create an illusion of depth by drawing the eye beyond the cabinet doors. The reflectiveness of the glass panels also bounces light around the room making it look larger. If you don’t love the look of your dishware, bobvila recommends opaque glass to still achieve the desired effect.

 

Slim CabinetsSlim Cabinets

While sacrificing some storage space, slimmer, shorter cabinets free up some floor space. They also make the walls and ceiling of your kitchen seem farther away.

Of course, this comes at the cost of storage space. But how often are you reaching all the way to the back of your cabinets, really?

Photo courtesy of blog.sweeten.com on Pinterest.

 

Tall Cabinets

Tall Cabinets

In contrast, opting for taller cabinets will provide more storage while drawing the eyes up towards the ceiling. Taller cabinets will also remove the shadows that usually reside in the awkward space between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling. The overall effect of reducing contrast will make your kitchen brighter.

Task Cabinet

Task Cabinet

The thought behind task cabinetry is creating a dedicated space for items that might end up massed in a draw or otherwise taking up precious space. For example, instead of a countertop knife block, convert a small drawer into a knife slot drawer. Alternatively, try replacing a cabinet with vertical storage slots for plates and dishes. 

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to improve your storage space within your cabinets, check out our article on How To Organize The Food In Your Kitchen Cabinets And Pantry.

Courtesy of richelieu.com on Pinterest.

Paint Your Cabinets

Paint Your Cabinets

Painting your cabinets is a reliable, budget-friendly option for making your kitchen feel larger. By matching your cabinets to your walls, you eliminate visual boundaries and create cohesion throughout the space. 

The color you paint your cabinets can also create the illusion of a larger space. Lighter hues reflect more light and are common when trying to make space look bigger. Dark colors are also an option, as they recede visually, making the walls look farther away than they are.

 

Add a Reflective Backsplash

Add a Reflective Backsplash

Adding a reflective backsplash is a reliable way to make a kitchen look bigger without a large renovation. Using materials such as glass, stainless steel, glossy tiles, and mirrors can provide that reflection to make your kitchen look far bigger than it is.


Bonus Tip: A short backsplash that is a similar color to the wall can hide the divide between the two surfaces. This will make the wall look taller and your kitchen more spacious.

Photo courtesy of roughholdglass on Pinterest.

Change Up Your Kitchen’s Color

Change Up Your Kitchen’s Color

In a small kitchen, try to keep colors consistent. Better Homes and Gardens recommends matching your countertops to your backsplash and wall as a great way to create a seamless transition. Avoid large contrasts that make the area feel segmented and smaller as a result. 

If you do want to add some differentiation, do so through nonpermanent ways such as window treatments, towels, and accessories.

 

Find Ways to Guide The Eyes

Find Ways to Guide The Eyes

How your eye is drawn around your kitchen contributes a great deal to its perceived space. Horizontal stripes direct people across the kitchen, giving it the perception of being much wider. It’s best to keep the stripes gentle and low contrast. 

Vertical lines draw the gaze up to create more visual height (a striking light fixture can also achieve this effect). Try geometric patterns, such as subway tile, to draw the eye in both directions or use budget-friendly wallpaper to create these guiding lines. 

Avoid obstructing lines of sight to make your kitchen look bigger. Insinkerator.com suggests using clear plastic chairs, floating islands and bar surfaces, backless barstools, and glass pendant lights to help create open spaces.

Photo courtesy of unexpectedelegence.com on Pinterest.

 

Don’t Hide the Hood

Don’t Hide the Hood

Unlike dishwashers and fridges, if you have a wall-mount vent hood over your stovetop, don’t hide it behind cabinet paneling. Houzz recommends a stylized hood to create a valuable visual break in your kitchen while using the exposed wall to create depth.

Photo courtesy of thegritandpolish.com on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

Try a Minimalist Makeover

Try a Minimalist Makeover

For a small kitchen, minimalism is all about reducing things down to their most basic components. Stylistically, this means opting for designs that are simple and sleek over intricate and ornate. 

Try swapping your cabinet knobs for bars or push-to-open cabinets. This will help maintain clean lines, making it appear bigger. Minimalism can also refer to consolidating different elements. Maybe you invest in a steaming hot water tap or add a garbage disposal to your single sink or install your microwave into an open cabinet space.

Minimalism also applies to the number of items you have out in your kitchen. Are you ever surprised by how much counter space you have after cleaning and putting loose items away? Keeping things clean and decluttered will increase the open space while supporting a clean and airy feel.

Photo courtesy of kyalandkara.com on Pinterest.

 

Refashion Your FlooringRefashion Your Flooring

The solution to making your small kitchen feel bigger has been right under your nose this whole time. If your kitchen flooring is different from that of your other rooms, altering it so that the material is the same throughout will achieve that cohesive feel. By keeping flooring consistent, any adjacent areas become part of the kitchen, making it feel larger. 

When updating your kitchen flooring, opt for reflective materials. Thehavenlist.com recommends glossy subway tile or shiny hardwoods that will help distribute light around the room. The lines on your kitchen floor can also direct the eyes to the wall and up to the ceiling. 


Bonus Tip: If reflooring your kitchen isn’t an option, a geometric floor runner or kitchen rug can provide the same visual effect.

Photo courtesy of amazon.com on Pinterest.

 

Try Slimmer FurnishingTry Slimmer Furnishing

Swap your current furnishings for pieces that don’t take up much space. Houzz.com suggests opting for small islands, slim chairs and stools, and narrow tables. 

You can also try tables with foldable or removable leaves to create more kitchen space after a meal. Whatever items you choose, avoid furniture with bulky legs or thick bases, which add visual bulk and interrupt sight lines.

Photo courtesy of hgtv.com on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

Increase Your Kitchen Lighting

Increase Your Kitchen Lighting

Lighting is crucial to making your kitchen look bigger. Shadows caused by upper cabinets can create a contrast that makes your kitchen feel cramped. Upper, under, and interior cabinet lighting softens these darker spaces, reducing shadows to make a kitchen feel larger. 

Handymanconnection.com claims that spotlights are the most ideal choice, but plugin and battery-powered LED strips work just as well. If you are going to have lamp or pendant lighting for your countertop or island, opt for see-through shades.

To make the most of natural light during the day, choose minimal window treatments, if any. Not renting? A natural or tubular skylight is a bright alternative for maximizing the natural light in your kitchen.


Bonus Tip: If your kitchen opens to your living room, and you don’t want that space to contrast, check out our 13 Bright Ideas For Living Rooms With No Overhead Lighting.

Photo courtesy of thekitchn.com on Pinterest.

 

Open Your Shelving

Open Your Shelving

Open shelving is one way you can make a smaller kitchen look bigger without changing your available storage. If you have tableware, storage jars or bins, and cookbooks to show off, turning a cabinet into an open shelf can free up a lot of wall space.

Not looking to replace your cabinets? Cabinet World suggests taking the doors off your existing cabinets to achieve a similar effect on a budget.


Bonus Tip: Add some hooks under your open shelves to hang pots, pans, and mugs. This will free up some storage space and add some visual diversity to the room.

Photo courtesy of claxy.com on Pinterest.

 

Now It's Your Turn

There you have it, 18 different ways to make a small kitchen look bigger. What method are you going to try?

Are you going to get new cabinets? Maybe experiment with a fresh coat of paint? Perhaps just try to minimize your countertop clutter?

Let us know how you plan on making your small kitchen feel bigger in the comments below.

 

Topics: Kitchen Design, Kitchen Cabinets