10 Simple Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

Want a bigger kitchen? Don't call a contractor just yet. Kitchen design is one of those pesky to-do projects that never seems to end, especially as the trends change over time. If you're working with small spaces in your kitchen, you don't need to tear down anything to make it feel bigger. Small kitchen design is all about maximizing what you have and these design ideas and kitchen color ideas for small kitchens are here to help you think outside of the box and away from a contractor's estimate.

With a bit of creativity and know-how, you can stretch your kitchen without adding a single square foot. Kick off your cookery's transformation with these 10 design tips for making your tiny kitchen look and feel more spacious, along with how to use kitchen color ideas for small kitchens.

How to change the color of your small kitchen

You can use color to change the feel of your small kitchen. It's not so much about making it feel bigger as making it feel more like you. Here are a few ideas on using kitchen color to change your small kitchen.

Change the color of the cabinetry.

An all-white kitchen can make your kitchen feel bigger, but if that's just too much of a neutral color scheme for you, try making your kitchen cabinets function like an the accent wall in the room. You can paint them a bright color and keep everything else light, or you can go with tuxedo cabinets, which are all one color (usually dark) on the bottom and another color (usually light) on top. It's visual interest without being too busy.

Make your backsplash a work of art.

One of the easiest things to change in a kitchen remodel is the backsplash. If you're opting for white cabinets and counters, you might choose a light color subway tile that brings a softer look in. Or you could add something reflective to pick up natural light. Or you could match the paint color on the wall to keep things consistent. Your options are endless.

Use small pops of color.

For really tiny kitchens, one neutral color scheme is good, but you can add pops of color in small appliances, hand towels and cookware. For example, my blue Le Creuset lives on my stove because it's too pretty to keep in a cabinet. Ditto with my red stand mixer. And they add a much-needed touch of color without making the kitchen feel smaller.

If you can dream big in your small space, you can even bring color in with your large appliances; go retro with a yellow refrigerator or ultra cool with a red stove. Go with your personal vibe, but the smaller your kitchen is, the better it is to keep the pops of color in the same family.

How to change the color of your small kitchen

You can use color to change the feel of your small kitchen. It's not so much about making it feel bigger as making it feel more like you. Here are a few ideas on using kitchen color to change your small kitchen.

1. Go wild with white paint.

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Because it reflects light, white paint can make your kitchen feel open and airy. Use similar white tones on kitchen cabinets and countertops, and camouflage bulky pieces like radiators by painting them the same color as the walls.

By keeping everything in the same color family, you avoid sudden shifts from dark to light and create the illusion of boundless space. If you live in a tiny studio apartment, this is one of those kitchen decorating ideas that's fairly easy to put to use.

2. Let there be light.

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A dark, dim kitchen can feel gloomy and small. Consider putting up sheer curtains--or removing curtains entirely--to allow sunlight to brighten the space. For more privacy, go for opaque-color curtains that let the sunshine in, especially in a narrow room.

Install kitchen lighting over, below, and inside cupboards to make the kitchen space appear bright and airy. Pendant lights can be used to highlight the beautiful focal point of your space, be it a kitchen island with a beautiful butcher block top or an eating area.

3. Eliminate clutter.

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De-cluttering surfaces can have a dramatic impact on the openness of a room. To make your kitchen feel more breezy, keep kitchen counter space clear and store appliances in the pantry or cupboards. Stick to a simple, carefully selected collection of personal items or displays.

Minimize visual clutter in kitchen storage by getting rid of decorative design pieces, such as ornate handles, corbels, and window coverings, in favor of a more minimalist design.

4. Take advantage of vertical space.

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In a small kitchen, storage and floor space are often scarce. Take advantage of vertical space by installing hanging shelves, peg boards, and magnetic knife strips on your walls.

If you have an apartment kitchen or a galley kitchen, this tip is especially useful for expanding your space and is an easy fix when it comes to small kitchen design ideas. Consider adding small open shelves to store items like spices and kitchen towels to keep your work space clear.

5. Pattern floors.

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Horizontal lines pull your eyes from side to side, creating the illusion of a wider space. Lay out tile or wood parquet on your floor parallel to the entrance of the room, so you walk across a horizontal pattern. A rug with horizontal stripes could have the same widening effect.

6. Spring for panel-ready appliances.

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Panel-ready refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances are designed to have customizable doors so they match your cabinets and kitchen walls. When your appliances blend together harmoniously, the seamless visual combination can create the impression of a larger space.

7. Shine on.

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Just as mirrors can make a room feel bigger, shiny appliances can boost the feeling of depth and brightness. Same goes for sparkling floors, glass tiles, and glossy cabinets.

At least there's a practical reason behind all of the stainless steel that will probably never go out of style, right?

8. Create open shelving.

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Open shelving can create an airy, sophisticated look when stocked with a carefully curated selection of attractive serving-ware. You can create open shelving by swapping your current cabinets out for shelves, replacing solid cabinet doors with glass doors, or even just removing the cabinet doors entirely.

If you're intimidated by storage ideas that ask you put your kitchen collection on display, consider this. If you wouldn't display it or it doesn't have a purpose that constantly requires use, do you even need it anyways?

9. Slim down.

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Outfit your kitchen in smaller, slim, visually lightweight furnishings. Think trim industrial island, skinny trash bin, slender bar stools, and kitchen tables and chairs with narrow legs.

Many kitchen island designs now are created for narrow spaces, so you can allow yourself the extra work space without adding bulk.

10. Get moving.

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Try adding moveable furnishings and fixtures, such as a pull-out cutting board or cart for your cookware that can be wheeled in and out of the pantry. Replace a permanent kitchen island with an island that can be rolled and tucked away as necessary.

This article was originally published on July 25, 2017.

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