5 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger

There’s no doubt about it. The kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you start your day, where you entertain friends, and where you catch up with family at the end of a long day. For others, it is a place to unwind and try out new recipes. Admittedly, cooking can sometimes feel like more like a task rather than a joy, especially when you’ve just come home from work and mentally drained. It also doesn’t help if your kitchen is small, dark and cluttered. While you might not have the luxury of expanding the footprint of your kitchen if you live in an apartment, there are ways to make any kitchen look and feel bigger. 

Colorful kitchen canister set

Colorful kitchen canister set. Photo: Amazon.com

Using Light or Bright Colors on Walls

If you can’t knock walls down to open up your kitchen, then you need to think of ways to make the walls feel further away. One way to do this is through your choice of paint colors. While your favorite colors may lean toward grays and blacks, this makes your space feel smaller and more intimate or cozy.

Colorful kitchen canister set. Photo: Amazon.com

Instead, focus on white shades and hues that are toned down. You can consider off-white, ivory, light shades of grey or beige. These lighter colors make your kitchen feel more open as light bounces off the walls. If you still want to add bits of your preferred colors, you can do this through little knickknacks and items such as spice racks, canisters, or cabinet hardware. These can add a pop of color without creating too much contrast.

Creating the Illusion of Depth with the Ceiling

While you should stick to light and monochromatic colors when it comes to the walls, you can be a bit more liberal with the ceiling. Painting the ceiling a different color then adding interesting fixtures draws the eyes up towards the ceiling and gives the illusion of depth and space. Having fun ceiling and light fixtures will definitely make your kitchen feel larger than it is as well. 

Industrial light fixture in a restaurant with wine racks

Industrial light fixture. Photo: Amazon.com

Maximize Natural and Artificial Light

No matter how big your space is, it will always look small and feel closed in if there isn’t enough light. When it comes to small kitchens, the trick is to let in as much light as possible. To do this, pay attention to the curtains that you use for the windows. Instead of heavy drapes or shudders, use sheer curtains instead. These are light and semi-transparent and make the room look lighter and feel bigger.

In addition to this, you can make the room look bigger by adding reflective surfaces. Choose polished quartz or granite, or add cabinet hardware that has a stainless steel finish. The light will bounce off these surfaces and give the illusion of space.

White sheer window curtains

White sheer window curtains. Photo: Amazon.com

LED under cabinet lighting in a white modern kitchen with open shelves

LED under cabinet lighting. Photo: diodeled.com

De-Clutter and Keep Things Organized

Never underestimate the power of having an organized kitchen. Picture two contrasting work surfaces: one has spices, dishes, wine, recipe books and electric appliances on the countertop while the other only has a coffee maker. Which do you think will look larger? The second one, of course. This is because cramped or overcrowded work surfaces tend to make the room feel smaller than it is.

If you want to make your kitchen appear larger, consider taller shelves which can provide for extra storage. You can also consider storage rack systems to maximize your limited cabinet space. Furthermore, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to achieve this. There are several items that you can add to your cabinets to provide for extra storage for very little money. For example, you can install hooks under your sink where you can hang some of your shallow pans. You can install tiered spice racks in your cabinets (or to the back of your cabinet doors) to soak up every bit of vertical space and keep things organized. Be creative in order to keep as much off of the countertops as possible.

Door mounted spice rack

Door mounted spice rack. Photo: Amazon.com

Adding Space by Subtraction

The more furniture and countertop appliances you add to your kitchen, the smaller it will feel and the less functional it will be. In fact, adding too many items reduces “the flow” of your space and clutters up your work surfaces - making your kitchen look smaller and function less efficiently.

Major appliances come in standard sizes so there’s nothing much you can do about those items. However, you can opt for a foldable island kitchen cart to give you more countertop space for prepping meals when you need it but can be stashed away when you don’t.  Don't have room (or the need) for a full-time kitchen table, you could consider a fold-out table for two which provides a place for dining as well as extra storage. For those kitchen countertop appliances that you don't use very often, consider storing them in a closet in the hall or another room. This will clear up your countertop space as well as reallocate kitchen cabinet storage for things you use more often. There are many space-friendly solutions in the marketplace to help you maximize your small space. Be creative!

Another way to create space is to add open shelves. These open up the walls and make the kitchen feel visually larger and there are is a huge variety of styles available. If open shelves aren’t your thing, you can opt for a more traditional approach of adding glass door inserts for your upper cabinets. Transparent, translucent and opaque glass doors have the same effect. First, they reflect light and make the room look larger and brighter. Second, glass draws in your gaze which makes it feel like the kitchen doesn’t end where the cabinet door begins.

Fold-out storage table

Fold-out storage/table. Photo: Amazon.com

open storage shelving

Open storage shelving. Photo: unsplash.com


You may not own the home or apartment you live in and this limits you in terms of how you can or cannot change the structure of your home. However, there is hope! If your kitchen looks and feels small, you don’t have to give up and take it as it is. Our tips will help your kitchen look and feel larger, be more functional, and make the most of the space have. 

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