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15 Clever Ways To Make A Small Kitchen Look Bigger (Without Knocking Down Walls!)

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON April 1, 2024

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Are you feeling boxed in by your tiny kitchen? Fear not! Even without picking up a hammer or tearing down walls, there are lots of ways to create the illusion of space. Use these clever tips to make a small kitchen look bigger, and take it from cramped to spacious!

15 Clever Ways To Make A Small Kitchen Look Bigger - Without Having To Knock Down Walls!

The first house I bought with my husband had a tiny kitchen in it.

Only one of use could easily be in there at a time, and we could reach from wall to wall by standing in the middle of the room with cabinets on either side:

Small Blue Kitchen

See? Tiny!

But we still laugh when looking back at the fact that it was the hub of the home and everyone wanted to congregate there, no matter its size.

Even with our very limited budget at the time, there were a few things we did to make it look as big as possible.

These included painting the blue cabinets and blue tiles all a lighter cream, and minimising what we left out on the surfaces (although this quick snap I took shows quite a bit out!).

Small Cream and Wood Kitchen

However, if we’d been able to spend a little more to get help in, or had the DIY skills, then there were quite a few other things we could probably have done to make it look larger.

It was fine for what we needed at the time, and a lot easier on the eyes than the previous blue.

So, if you’re in the same predicament now and want your kitchen to look larger without having to do any major building work – then this is a must-read!

I hope the following ideas give you inspiration for your own kitchen space, and that it helps you to create a more spacious feel, no matter what it’s actual size.

#1 – Use The Ceiling Height

Kitchen with tall white wall units and green base units

A fantastic way to add more storage without taking up any extra floor space, is to take the wall cabinets all the way up to the ceiling.

After all – most kitchens have a lot of wasted space above the cabinets that just attracts dust (or baskets if you’re like my mum…) – and that’s space that could be actual storage space.

I also think this looks fantastic when done right.

#2 – Go Shallow

Whether you go for shallow cupboards throughout the kitchen, or purely in one or two areas (a shallow bar table can work well, or a shallow glazed cabinet sitting on a worktop) – taking away some depth can make the room feel larger immediately.

#3 – Reflect

Lady opening a kitchen wall unit with glazed door

Making use of glass in the front of your wall cabinets can really add visual space to a kitchen.

This is because you can see through the cabinet to the back of the wall – so you can see the depth and therefore the size there is in the room.

Another way to create the sense of space with reflections is of course, mirrors.

Adding a large mirror strategically to a room can make the space appear a lot bigger. You could even add a mirror as a backsplash and on the wall under the cabinets.

TIP: Mirrors make things feel spacious, only if what they reflect is spacious. Be careful what your mirror reflects – as you don’t want to double any clutter or cramped areas!

#4 – Declutter

Yes, yes, an oldie but still very much a goodie!

If you minimise what you have on the surfaces, take away excess furniture and accessories – and keep the decor simple – then the kitchen will automatically feel more spacious.

Related: 30 Quick Things To Declutter From Your Kitchen Right Now

#5 – Maximise Light

Making the most of the light available can significantly enhance the feel of your kitchen, giving it an open and airy atmosphere.

Spotlights always work well in ceilings as they are streamlined and don’t add bulk to the room at all – thus helping the feeling of space.

Also a great option are to use lights at the base of the cabinets by the kick boards. By installing lighting around these, you can create a soft glow that adds depth to the room and visually enlarges the space.

Lastly – use under-cabinet lighting to add depth to your kitchen. It illuminates the countertops, turning them into focal points and drawing the eye around the room.

#6 – Show Off The Floor

An ingenious way to create the illusion of a larger kitchen is to let the floor do the talking.

By using base units with legs or installing floating cabinets, you can expose more of the floor and create a sense of expansiveness.

This approach not only elongates the room visually but also gives it a modern, clean look.

Keep in mind that, with this option, you need to ensure that the floor underneath is kept spick and span as it will be more visible.

#7 – Blend Colours Together

Modern monochromatic kitchen

Embracing a monochromatic colour palette in your kitchen can work wonders in creating an illusion of a larger space.

One effective way to achieve this is by painting your upper cabinets to match the walls. This technique allows your cabinets to blend seamlessly into the walls, making it difficult to determine where the walls end and the cabinets begin.

As a result, your walls look taller and your kitchen appears bigger.

#8 – Stick To The Same Materials

Maintaining consistency in the materials you use in your kitchen is a great way to create the illusion of a larger space.

Specifically, using the same material for your countertops and backsplash can make the space look more unified and expansive.

When the countertop material extends up to the backsplash, it forms a continuous, unbroken surface that makes the kitchen appear larger.

#9 – Opt For Open Shelving

Modern kitchen with open plan wall shelving for storage

Using shelves instead of closed cabinets can create a more open and airy feel – as you can see more of the wall behind.

Shelves are all usually a lot less deep than cabinets, and so this adds to the spacious feel as well.

#10 – Go Small

Opting for compact appliances can significantly contribute to creating more space in your kitchen.

Traditional appliances can often be bulky and occupy valuable space. However, there are plenty of smaller, equally efficient alternatives available in the market.

From compact dishwashers and slim refrigerators to smaller ovens and hobs, there’s no shortage of options to help you maintain functionality while saving on space.

Similarly, when it comes to dining, selecting a small-scale or compact table and chairs can further maximise your floor space.

A petite dining set not only ensures you have a place to enjoy your meals but also contributes to the overall sense of spaciousness by leaving more of the floor visible.

Remember, every little bit of visible floor helps in creating the illusion of a larger kitchen.

TIP: A circular table is often more space saving than a rectangle or square, as you don’t have harsh edges to visually ‘stop’ your eyes.

#11 – Don’t Go Fussy

Roman blinds are a great option for window treatments in a smaller kitchen as they’re the most streamlined while still showing as much of the window area (and view) as possible when open, including the window sill.

#12 – Single Not Double

Black single kitchen sink with black tap

Opt for a single-bowl sink to maximise counter space.

Double sinks can be convenient, but in a small kitchen, they can take up valuable work area.

#13 – Lighten Up

Choosing light and neutral colours for your kitchen walls and cabinets can significantly enhance the feeling of space and openness.

Light colours reflect natural and artificial light, making the room feel brighter and larger. Creams, beiges, light greys, and off-whites are all excellent choices for a spacious and airy kitchen.

TIP: Remember to consider the colour of your furniture in the room as well. You could go for perspex chairs, for example – that almost disappear in the room as they are see through. This can be a great way to give the illusion of more space.

#14 – Go Multi Functional

Incorporating multi-functional furniture in your kitchen can be a smart move to conserve space.

An extendable dining table, for instance, can be a game-changer. This table can shrink to a compact size for everyday use and extend to accommodate more guests during special occasions.

Similarly, a small kitchen island or butchers trolley with storage can serve multiple purposes. It can act as a preparation area, a serving table, a breakfast bar, and an additional storage unit.

By choosing furniture that serves more than one purpose, you effectively increase your kitchen’s functionality without demanding extra space.

#15 – Use Clever Storage

Clever use of hidden storage solutions can be transformative in maximising the functionality of a small kitchen.

For instance, pull-out pantry shelves offer a practical solution for storing a variety of items. These shelves slide out fully, allowing you to access even the items at the back without straining.

On the other hand, built-in spice racks can be a great way to use narrow spaces between appliances or kitchen units.

Remember, every inch counts in a small kitchen. Using innovative storage solutions not only aid in decluttering your space but also enhance your kitchen’s efficiency and aesthetics.

15 Clever Ways To Make A Small Kitchen Look Bigger - Without Having To Knock Down Walls!

There you have it – 14 really effective ways to make a small kitchen appear larger without the need for any major structural changes.

Just shows you don’t always need to make large changes to make a big impact.

If you use even just one or two if these ideas then they’ll help you transform your small kitchen into a space that feels more open and inviting.

So – which will you try?

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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...

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