Clever Ways to Make a Small Kitchen Seem Bigger

Do you have a small kitchen and no budget to extend it? Don’t despair. A small space to cook in has its own benefits, for instance everything you need is always within easy reach. There are many things you can do to exploit the space at your disposal to the maximum.

Cabinet lightning

Let’s look at these common sense strategies and clever storage ideas that can help you to give the illusion that your kitchen is larger than it actually is.

Get in the light

A small kitchen can be a challenge to operate in, but if it is dark and dingy as well, it will be positively depressing to work in. The first obvious thing to do is to make sure that you get enough natural light into your kitchen.

If the situation allows for it, enlarge a window. If that is not possible, keep window treatments like curtains or blinds to a minimum or forgo them altogether.

Install cabinet lighting

This is an often overlooked point. The chances are that your small kitchen has only one ceiling light. That is insufficient and makes a place look dingy. Adding lighting under shelves, and cabinets will light up dark spaces and will make everything look brighter and bigger.

Investigate cheap options so you can turn some of the lights on in the daytime. That way you’ll never have a gloomy kitchen.

cabinet lightning

Window treatments

A nice idea that’s decorative, but doesn’t cover the entire window, is to fit a strip of pretty bunting made from fabric (or one that has been crocheted) across the top of the window opening.

Another window treatment that looks fantastic and allows natural light in is to hang a curtain of beads. You don’t need many strings of beads. Search Pinterest for simple bead curtaining ideas.

Painting tips

White is the obvious colour choice to make a place look more spacious. White reflects light so it makes a room look bigger, but white can also look clinical and harsh. Remember all light colours create the impression of spaciousness, so don’t be limited to white. A soft butter yellow in a room that receives a lot of light will look inviting and warm, something that is difficult to achieve in large rooms but easy to do in a small space.

This is one school of thought. The other is that dark colours actually work in small spaces. Where white reflects light, dark colours absorb light, making dark wall as a feature less obvious, less defined. Dark colours on walls work just like that little black dress that’s naturally slimming!

Experts suggest going for blacks, charcoals, navy blues, and deep chocolaty browns.

It’s a good idea to paint cabinets the same colour as the walls or at least in a similar hue. This creates an illusion of space because elements are not cut up by different colours.

Tips for cabinets

Most interior decorators advise to replace solid cabinet doors with glass-fronted doors. Looking through the glass the eye is guided to the wall behind which is further away than the front of the cabinet thereby making the space look larger. Glass-fronted cabinets with pretty dinnerware look much more interesting than solid doors. A row of closed doors create a solid wall, especially if it is made of wood or painted in a dark colour.

If you worry that you won’t be able to keep your cabinets neat, use frosted glass so you get the airy feeling of the glass without exhibiting the mess behind it.

Go for floating shelves

floating shelves

Floating shelves are even more effective at creating the illusion of space as you can clearly see the wall behind. Stack the items you use often on floating shelves so they’re within easy reach. Floating shelves also give you the opportunity to display one or two striking items that can define your kitchen.

Just don’t overdo it, otherwise the place will start looking cluttered and that’s exactly what you want to avoid. Again, it’s better not to consider this option if you can’t keep it tidy.

Easy open shelves

A simple and cost-effective way to get an open shelf look is to simply remove the doors from you cabinets. This way you can save on glass-fronted doors as well. Keep the doors in case your change your mind later or need a change.

Clever storage ideas


The biggest frustration in a small kitchen is limited storage space. You can’t put more cabinets in, so consider these clever alternatives.

  • Use wall-mounted wire shelving – they look airy and create the illusion of space.
  • Hang utensils on the back of cabinet doors to open up drawer and counter space.
  • Is there an irritating useless skinny space between the fridge and the wall? This is ideal for a vertical pull-out drawer that you can stack your spices and other small items on.
  • Mount a pegboard on the wall or even on the side of a cabinet and use hooks to hang utensils from.
  • There is often unused space underneath existing kitchen fittings. Check it out and if there is space, get someone to make you some slim drawers where you can stack kitchen towels, plastic bags, table mats, etc.

Avoid clutter

This point should probably have been mentioned first. It’s a basic principle that an organised and neat space looks peaceful and inviting whereas clutter unsettles the mind. Even a large kitchen looks less spacious when it’s cluttered will all manner of things that are just standing around doing nothing. It’s best to keep counters tidy by putting away things when you are not using them. Appliances like toasters and blenders can be stored away when they’re not in use.

Keep items that are merely decorative to a minimum. They take up unnecessary space and add to the clutter.

Be clever with furniture

If the kitchen is really tiny, just forget about furniture. Any chair no matter how slim will just clutter up the place. If you can fit it in, look out for narrow tables and chairs that appear light. Don’t buy bulky stuff. Investigate the possibility of having a narrow table built in – like the table version of a floating shelf.

You can store backless stools under the table out of the way while you are working in the kitchen, but still have somewhere to sit down.