Kitchens in today’s homes are taking on a larger role than ever. The center of everything, your kitchen space has to accommodate both your family’s needs and those of guests. To meet all of these needs many seek options to making a small kitchen look larger. If it looks larger, then it will feel larger, and this is the goal in mind.
To get the most out of your kitchen, you must first understand what makes a kitchen feel small and cramped and what makes a kitchen feel large and open. Take time to look at inspiration, go to home decorating stores and websites to learn about the different products and techniques used in large open family kitchens. You will quickly notice that a kitchen which is large is not actually defined but great open space, but well defined and effectively used space.
Taking Advantage of Paint
Selecting the colors for your kitchen is perhaps one of the most defining and gratifying steps to design. The mood, character, and style will all rely on this one step. Where do you start and what should you be thinking about?
Understand the Rules of Color
So, we have all been told many times that dark colors will make a room feel small and light colors make a room feel large. Is it true? No! Many people make the mistake of falling into this line of thinking and can often end up with a light colored room that still feels way too small or a dark colored room that still feels desolate.
The real rules with color have little to do with the actual color or shade and much more to do with technique. Using dark colors with proper shading and design can make a room feel just as large as undefined and uninspiring light neutral colors.
Create an Illusion
Start with your primary color for the space. Take this primary color and have it mixed in two shades, but not dramatically. You will need your basic color plus that exact color only one shade lighter. Your paint tech at your local paint store can help you determine what the correct shade is.
Apply your dark shade on the walls nearest the entrance of the kitchen. Then apply the lighter shade to the farthest walls. This will draw attention away from the small size of the kitchen by muting its “end” and exaggerating its size and length. A trick used by many home interior designers making a small kitchen look larger.
Creating Space with Flooring
Use Larger Tile
Some assume that taking many small tiles and placing them in a small room will create the illusion of a larger space, but this idea is false. By using larger tile (18” or above) you instantly create the feeling of a large space. The basic idea is that if you are tiling with large tiles, you seemingly have a large space to use them. This is an illusion that works fantastically in any small kitchen.
Lay Tile Diagonally
Laying tile diagonally instead of horizontally will create the illusion of space by tricking the eye into thinking the space is expanding. There will be no appearance of an “end” to your tile work. Stiff lines in a space mark the edges and clearly display the actual size of the room. This should be avoided when working with a smaller kitchen.
Create Space with Light
Resist the urge to dress up windows too heavily. The more natural light in your kitchen, the greater the amount of space you will appear to have. Shading and shadow created by the sun can set the mood and dress the space up inside much more than any overdone window treatments.
Install Light Fixtures to Scale
While we all look at large fancy chandeliers and exotic hanging light fixtures, the truth is very few people have the space to accommodate them. If your kitchen is smaller than average there are still hundreds of beautiful fixtures similar to those which are large, but more ideal for your small room. Also consider the amount of light you really need and base your lighting choices on the functionality as well. There is nothing worse than walking into a room where the lights are the focal point stealing all of its design glory.
Under Cabinet Lighting
Installing under cabinet lighting can make the kitchen feel larger simply by drawing subtle attention to more space. This can also work wonders in setting a romantic and peaceful mood.
Open the Room with Cabinetry
Cabinet space in a kitchen is essential and the ability to scale down is almost impossible. Before considering the elimination of any of your much needed cabinets try updating their style with these tricks to create a fresh uncluttered look.
Paint or Stain with Lighter Colors
Especially useful when the wall colors of a room are dark, grounding and expanding the cabinets with light colors can drastically improve the feeling of a tight kitchen. Going light on cabinets (basically the furniture of your kitchen) will soften its presence leaving you with what appears to be a larger space.
Glass Cabinet Doors
Cabinet doors are typically stiff and uninteresting primarily functioning as a shield from your clutter. By simply making minor adjustments to your upper cabinets with see-through glass or Plexiglas you can create more visible space and eliminate much of the rooms cozy l feel.
Take Advantage of Appliance Options
Perhaps the most expensive upgrade to making a smaller kitchen look larger, the appliances available can make a huge difference. As more and more homeowners become aware of the need for space to entertain and relax in the kitchen, appliances are beginning to come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Oven and Stove Top
Taking a walk through your local appliance store you will notice that there are several types of ovens and stove tops available in many sizes and colors. The most common types being used in new homes today is the wall oven and counter cook tops. A great advantage to choosing these is the elimination of a bulky oven range which often takes up much more space than necessary. Updating to the wall and countertop unit will free up space thus creating a larger looking kitchen.
Just becoming popular in the last few years, a counter width refrigerator works wonders for a small space. Current models are still just as functional as traditional oversized refrigerators but offer the luxury of better design and shorter width. This leaves you with six to eight inches of extra floor space. Yes, this number may sound unsubstantial but in a small kitchen every inch counts.
A cluttered countertop is typically the reason that many kitchens feel small and cramped. It is often a great advantage to have all appliances that may be mounted, installed, and removed from the countertops built into the design of the kitchen. A built-in microwave can serve as a vent hood and installed right above the stove to serve multiple purposes including over the stove lighting and ventilation.
Whether your budget allows for a total overhaul or minor upgrades, there are many great options to accomplish making a small kitchen look larger. And, most importantly, you must keep in mind that a kitchen which looks larger is a kitchen which feels larger, and that should be your goal. This is done by not freeing space, but using space wisely.