Design Hacks: How To Make Your Small Kitchen Look Bigger

This post was last updated on April 23rd, 2024 at 09:58 am

If you’ve ever felt confined by the size of your kitchen, you’re not alone. Many of us dream of a spacious area to prepare meals and entertain guests, but reality often gives us a much cozier space. However, the size of your kitchen doesn’t have to limit its potential. 

You can transform your small kitchen into a larger and more inviting space with the right design hacks. From strategic color choices to the clever integration of a kitchen appliance package, the following tips are all about making the most of what you’ve got. Whether renovating or just looking to refresh your space, these ideas can help you create the illusion of more room without knocking down a single wall.

Use Light Colors

Incorporating light colors is an excellent strategy for making your kitchen appear larger and more welcoming. Light hues, such as white or soft pastels like yellow or mint, can reflect light, enhancing the overall brightness of the space. This reflection creates an illusion of openness and airiness. 

Try painting walls, cabinets and ceilings in these light shades to change how you perceive your kitchen’s size. This approach maximizes natural light and complements a wide range of décor, ensuring your kitchen feels spacious and stylish.

Open Shelving

Switching out upper cabinets for open shelving can immediately alter the look and feel of your kitchen by reducing the visual bulk that cabinets introduce. This change can make the space seem more expansive and open. 

Open shelves also allow you to showcase decorative pieces, like vases or artwork, and keep your dishware and glasses neatly organized and within easy reach. 

Glossy Finishes

Incorporating glossy or high-shine surfaces in your kitchen design can create a bright and breezy atmosphere. These reflective surfaces bounce light around the room, giving the illusion of space. 

Consider using glossy paint for cabinets or installing glass, mirrored or ceramic tiles on backsplashes to achieve this effect. Shiny finishes on countertops, like polished granite or quartz, can also promote a sense of openness and bring a sleek and modern aesthetic to your kitchen.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Installing under-cabinet lighting is a simple yet effective way to make your kitchen feel more spacious. By illuminating the counter spaces, this type of lighting eliminates shadows that can make the area look cramped and dark. 

Under-cabinet lighting also has a practical purpose, providing ample light for food preparation and making tasks like chopping and measuring easier and safer. For a budget-friendly DIY option, you can install something as simple as a battery-powered LED strip under wall-mounted cabinetry or hire an electrician to install integrated cabinet lights. 

Streamline Storage

Keeping your kitchen tidy and organized can make it feel larger. Use organizers in cabinets and drawers to maximize the efficiency of your kitchen’s storage. Install tiered shelves for spices, dividers for utensils and racks for pots and pans to increase the available space, making your kitchen essentials more accessible and neatly arranged. 

Additionally, maintaining clutter-free countertops is essential for enhancing the perception of space. Invest in magnetic knife strips, hanging racks for frequently used tools, and under-shelf baskets to keep everyday items within reach but off the counters.

Compact Appliances

When space is at a premium, choosing compact appliances can make a major difference in your kitchen’s functionality and appearance. Brands like ZLINE and Forno appliances offer packages designed for smaller spaces, providing a sleek and cohesive look. 

Opting for these packages ensures that each appliance — from refrigerators to dishwashers and ovens — is proportionately sized to maximize your kitchen’s usable area without sacrificing performance. By selecting Forno or ZLINE appliances, you optimize space and add a contemporary, streamlined aesthetic to your kitchen. 

Flooring Continuity

Creating a seamless flow between your kitchen and adjacent areas, like the living room or dining room, can enhance the sense of space. One effective way to achieve this is by ensuring the continuity of flooring throughout these connected spaces. 

Using the same material and color of flooring unifies the areas and eliminates visual boundaries, making the kitchen appear more expansive. Light-colored hardwoods, such as oak, maple or ash, can reflect the natural light to make spaces feel larger. Large-format porcelain tiles in light shades can achieve a similar effect with the added benefit of durability and ease of maintenance. 

Consider luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in a light wood finish for a more cost-effective solution. LVP offers the aesthetic appeal of hardwood with added water resistance, making it ideal for kitchens.

Use Vertical Space

Making the most of your kitchen’s vertical space enhances its functionality and creates the illusion of more room. Hang pots and pans on a ceiling rack or use a wall-mounted pot rail to free up cabinet space and add a stylish element. Installing tall wall units or cabinets that reach the ceiling can increase your storage capacity, drawing the eye upward and making the room feel taller. 

Add hooks and shelves on the walls to use often-overlooked spaces, such as over the doorway or beside the stove, and create the perfect place to store utensils, spices or decorative items. 

Minimalist Design

A minimalist design in your kitchen can make the space feel larger and more open. Focus on selecting sleek, simple hardware for cabinets and drawers that complements a streamlined aesthetic. 

The minimalist design emphasizes the “less is more” approach, so prioritize functionality in your design choices and keep decorative items to a minimum. Opt for clean lines in your furniture and appliances and, most importantly, keep a clutter-free kitchen. Regular decluttering helps to preserve the sense of openness. Embrace open space on countertops and shelves, and consider storage solutions that keep items out of sight but easily accessible. 

Transform Your Kitchen into an Open, Welcoming Space

Making your kitchen appear bigger doesn’t mean you need to make any major structural changes to your home. Something as simple as decluttering and finding the right storage can make your kitchen more functional, spacious and enjoyable to cook in.