Kitchen Design Tips for a Visually Larger Kitchen



If you have a small kitchen in your home, sometimes it’s difficult to look past its shortcomings in order to see the kitchen’s true potential. It’s not always the size of the kitchen, but how you use the space you have that makes the biggest difference.

Of course, not everyone has the money to renovate their entire kitchen or the means to move into a new house or apartment, so if you’re keeping that tiny kitchen, don’t despair. Get creative. You still have a lot of great options and tricks up your sleeve to make your kitchen appear larger than it is. And you won’t break the bank with your changes!

Check out our kitchen design tips below.

How you use it

Stop for a moment and think about how you really use your kitchen. Are you cooking big meals for a family of four or are you preparing small meals for you and your roommate and significant other? By knowing how you use your kitchen, you can plan for the layout as well as the amount of space needed.

For example, you may want a narrow kitchen with a bench and sink on one side and an island on the other if you cook alone. These kitchens are narrow and not very good if there’s more than one chef in the house. A few kids in the kitchen would also interfere with your cooking. For this type of situation, an open kitchen could be best. Plan a layout that will best accommodate your family in the upcoming years.


Be sure to take in your own designs and colour schemes as you begin to plan for the layout. You want to make sure it all fits together nicely. If you know others who have renovated their kitchens, ask them for some great kitchen design tips.

Cabinets, cupboards and shelves

For a particularly small kitchen, most designers recommend simply designed, flat cabinets. These take up less space and as they don’t stick out too much, they feel less intrusive. Fewer details will draw less attention to how little space there is so go with a simplistic look.

Another option is to put glass doors on cupboards rather than the solid ones. The glass opens the space and creates the illusion of having more space in a kitchen. Similarly, an open or floating cabinet also creates space and will make the kitchen feel more open, clean and inviting.

If you choose the glass doors and floating cabinets, you will have to be sure that everything is neat and organised since anyone can see inside. A monochromatic colour scheme with clean lines will turn your tiny kitchen into a modernist’s dream.

Colour wheel

Now that we’ve brought it up, colours can make a big impact on the perceived size of a kitchen. Always remember that in a kitchen, the colour of every appliance, benchtop and tea towel will be noticed so plan carefully before buying any kitchen items.

Cool colours, such as blue, green and violet, give kitchens diminishing effects, which might draw even more attention away from a small kitchen. These colours aren’t always the easiest to match with kitchen decor, so if you’re not set on blue, consider a few more options.

Light and pastel colours often reflect light, especially if you have a window in your kitchen or some other source of light. The eyes are naturally drawn upward. This might be a cool idea if you install accent lighting in your kitchen or have intricate lighting fixtures. The attention will go from the size of your kitchen to the cool use of light.

Bold colours and patterns will make your kitchen pop. Red in particular has been cited as one of the best colours for kitchens because red is considered an appetite stimulant. A bright pop of colour may also detract attention from the small size of your kitchen. You guests will be impressed by your tasteful (and tasty!) use of colour.

Fun with Floors

As sure as colours can make statements, so too can floor patterns. Though your tiny kitchen probably has limited floor space, you can utilise what you’ve got to create a unique floor pattern that complements the colours and the cabinets.

Checkerboard in black and white linoleum are popular choices for small kitchens and are very affordable. They’re versatile and will match just about any other fixture or cabinet you choose. Clean up is also a snap and you never have to worry about the wood as you would with hardwood floors.

If you want to create a stunning affect, splurge on marble tiles. You won’t have very much space to cover so marble tiles won’t blow too big of a hole through your budget. Marble comes in a variety of colours, so you should find something that will match your kitchen.

For a greener option, some homeowners are choosing cork flooring. So long as it’s properly sealed, the floor will not absorb water. This could come in handy if any pipes should burst.

Even if you don’t have a budget for redoing the floor, try adding an accent rug. A bright colour or a fun pattern can liven up the kitchen and keep your feet warm in the winter so you’re not walking on cold linoleum or hardwood.

Lighting, glass and the use of sparkle

Lighting is what will really brings all components of your kitchen together. You can direct attention to areas while drawing it away from others. Light also brightens the colours and, with special fixtures, can be used as an accent piece.

Incandescent lights work well under cabinets. They’re usually powerful enough so you can see what you’re doing, but if you’re out for a midnight snack, they won’t wake the whole house. They also increase the shadow underneath the cabinets to create visual movement.

Fluorescent lights are usually associated with doctor’s offices and other boring, official-looking places, but they work well in kitchens. A few of these lights can make everything look just a touch bigger.

As we mentioned earlier, glass does an excellent job of creating space. Light bounces off the glass and jumps from different areas. Consider going a step farther and installing glass bench or table tops or a glass door that leads to your patio. This will let in natural light to make the room brighter and friendlier. When the light hits any reflective glass tiles, it will make your kitchen sparkle.


Sometimes you just have to flaunt what you’ve got. A smaller kitchen is nothing to be ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance it a little. A few tweaks here and there with what materials and colours you use and your kitchen will look larger in no time.