Magazines often show elaborate and expansive kitchens with huge islands and a walk-in pantry. Unfortunately, that isn’t a reality for many of us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have bright, open, and beautiful small kitchens. Below are some ways you can upgrade your smaller kitchen and give it some of the aspects of larger kitchens. These will increase its usability and make the kitchen appear bigger than it is.
Usually, the biggest hiccup homeowners run into with small kitchens is storage space. There just isn’t enough room for all those utensils, pots, pans, bowls, and appliances. One of the best ways to combat this is with hanging storage. This could be hanging your copper pans from the ceiling, using a magnetic strip for knives on a wall, or hooks under the cabinets for easy access to favorite mugs.
There is nothing that can make a kitchen feel tiny and cramped like lousy lighting. Without enough lighting, it can be hard to cook or even make a cup of coffee. Good lighting design means applying the three types of lighting: general, task, and mood. Examples would be recessed lighting in the ceiling for general lighting, undercabinet lights for task lighting, and maybe putting those lights on dimmers to create a mood. Nothing can ruin a relaxing morning like bright lights. Having dimmers enables you to turn the lights on low and enjoy your morning routine.
While larger kitchens might get away with being an ideal space for showing off your teacup collection, smaller kitchens can’t quite get away with this. There is usually a limited amount of storage, but the more clutter in a smaller space, the smaller the space will feel. Rid your kitchen of nick nacks (move those to other bigger rooms in the home), clean off the countertops if you can, and avoid showing off artwork on the refrigerator. The simpler, the better for encouraging smaller kitchens to look and feel as big as they can be.
You’ve probably already heard that adding mirrors to a room can make it feel bigger, which is perhaps why elevators almost always have them, and the same goes for kitchens. Of course, you probably have limited amounts of space on the walls, but we encourage you to use the space you do have for a mirror or two. This trick does work, and it can be a quick and affordable way to help make your kitchen feel larger.
This is very similar to the mirror solution; however, it applies to almost everything else. This is an ideal solution for those who have no spare room on their walls for mirrors but would still like to use that same effect. Reflective finishes on appliances, tiles, or hardware will bounce the light around the room and help brighten the space up and make it feel bigger. This type of look might blend best with more modern styles, but there are ways to incorporate it into more traditional ones.
When it comes to small kitchens, the poor refrigerator often ends up in a corner. Unfortunately, this usually means there is a tiny sliver of space beside the refrigerator that is almost useless. This is there to allow the refrigerator door to open all the way, but it can be a pain to figure out how to use it. As we said earlier, the biggest problem with small kitchens is the lack of storage. One of the best ways to utilize this space is by crafting a pantry that can slide in and out of that awkward refrigerator space. You might find a small enough cabinet at IKEA, but if not, many cabinet companies can custom design a roll-out pantry explicitly made for that space. This is an excellent way to store spices, canned goods, and other smaller items that might take up valuable space.
Bright Color Pallets
There is a theme here that you might be catching onto. Making your smaller-sized kitchen as bright and inviting as you can will not only make it feel bigger but will also improve how you use it. Choosing a bright color pallet will let the available light bounce around easier and create a more colorful space. It’s also proven that more brilliant colors make us happier, and if your old stuffy, compact kitchen made you feel down and irritated, a bright green or blue might be just what you need to fall in love with your kitchen.
You don’t have to use all of these tips to enhance your kitchen, but maybe the most important ones we mentioned are applying good lighting, clean design, and bright color pallets. Other than fully remodeling your smaller kitchen and knocking down walls, these are the best ways to bring in more light and give your kitchen the feeling that it’s bigger than it is. You might even find yourself spending more time in it!
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.