So you’ve got a small kitchen and you need ideas to make it feel bigger? Pepper + Vetiver guides you with small kitchen ideas, tips and kitchen decor themes to expand the heart of your home. Here are 25 Kitchen Decor Ideas to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger.
1) Lighter Neutral Colors
When you want to create the illusion of a bigger kitchen, use lighter neutral colors like white, off-whites, cream, light beige, light taupe, and light gray. Painting the kitchen with lighter neutral colors is a cost-effective and easy way to make a small kitchen look brighter and bigger. In addition to making your kitchen feel larger, neutral colors are a classic staple of interior design because their timeless color tones never go out of style.
2) Seamless Flooring
You may be surprised to discover that flooring affects the way we perceive the size of the kitchen, but it’s true. A kitchen feels bigger when the same flooring concept of the living areas is seamlessly integrated into the flow of the kitchen. Ideally kitchen flooring will elongate the space when its boards or tiles run parallel to the longest wall in the kitchen. The vertical stripes of floor boards or larger 12 inch square tiles help to make the kitchen space feel longer, and simplify the clutter of excess floor patterns. That said, diagonal flooring can be equally impactful in widening the perceived space and opening the kitchen.
3) Light + Dark Flooring
Not all small kitchen decorating ideas are binary. When you’ve integrated lighter neutral colors as one of your kitchen decor themes, you’ll discover that you have options for darker or lighter colors in your seamless flooring. Both dark and light flooring will compliment the neutral colors of your kitchen and make small kitchen designs look bigger. Natural and whitewashed woods, as well as neutral toned tiles brighten small kitchens, affecting an open atmosphere that draws natural light. Paradoxically, darker flooring also makes your room feel bigger. Spaces thrive with contrasting colors, and softer or richer dark flooring provides a dynamic contrast with neutral colored walls. The combination of dark floors and light walls is one of the best small kitchen ideas to make your kitchen look larger. Dark floors add warmth and ambiance, and give spacious contrast for furnishings and decor.
4) Accent Wall Colors
If you combine lighter flooring with neutral wall colors, another great way to increase the perceived size of your small kitchen is through accent wall colors. Bold colors on an accent wall is especially effective for small apartment kitchen ideas. Accentuating one wall with bold colors allows the accent wall to be the focal point of your kitchen and obscures the focus away from a tiny kitchen. If you want to elongate the kitchen you can paint the ceiling the same color as the accent wall.
5) Horizontal Focal Points
To lengthen a small kitchen, create horizontal focal points that stretch the space. One way to achieve this is with a longer thinner kitchen table, and/or long area rug. Another option is selecting a contrasting backsplash that implies a horizontal line running the length or width of the kitchen countertops. Whatever you do, keep it simple and choose not to clutter the space with too many elements.
6) Transparent Kitchen Decor
Transparent elements like glass vases and glass lighting fixtures help the eyes see-through the entire space, making your kitchen feel bigger. Wherever possible open sight lines from one room to another, and incorporate kitchen decor that invites transparency. Some great elements that can create a fluid visual journey are floating islands, open bar counters that connect the kitchen with living areas, backless stools, and lucite or glass kitchen decor and lighting.
7) Reflective Surfaces
One of the easier small kitchen design ideas is intentionally using reflective surfaces like stainless steel appliances, white marble countertops, mirrors, finished floors, and glossy paint or cabinets to make a small kitchen feel bigger. Reflective surfaces give any room the appearance of more space because there are more reflections of light. Especially natural light multiplies a smaller kitchen with reflective surfaces creating an expansive effect.
8) Small Kitchen Looks Bigger with Open Shelving
When you have a small simple kitchen design, you can also multiply the space with open shelving. Open shelves take up less space than bulky kitchen cabinets. As long as you don’t fill the shelves with unintentional clutter, you can achieve functional and aesthetic convenience, displaying modern kitchen decor and dinnerware. We love a mix of natural elements, kitchen accessories and serveware display including unique vases for flowers, dinnerware, drinkware, and our favorite wood cutting boards.
9) Removing Cabinet Doors
Small kitchen inspiration is often about subtraction rather than addition. Removing cabinet doors to reveal your unique kitchen decor is one of our favorite ways to make a small kitchen bigger. This simple small kitchen design is especially great for apartment kitchen decorating ideas, as cabinet doors can be reattached anytime.
10) Eliminate Clutter
It goes without saying that clutter is a space killer. In order to eliminate clutter in a smaller kitchen, the goal is to keep the countertops open and clean. The 90/90 rule is a great help for removing unnecessary kitchen items: if you haven’t used it in 90 days, and won’t be using it in the next 90 days… get rid of it. Being diligent about continuously removing kitchen clutter is the #1 imperative for improving the size of a small kitchen.
11) Condense + Organize with Decorative Trays
When you must use the countertops as storage, organize kitchen accessories in functional and decorative trays spreading them out in a few sections along the counter, table, or island. A well-organized decorative tray, bowl, cake stand, or basket is an attractive landing zone for kitchen essentials like brass salt and pepper mills, cooking utensils, or pots and planters. Resist the temptation to store too much on your small kitchen countertops because you will shrink the space and invoke a feeling of claustrophobia.
12) Hanging Kitchen Essentials
If you have minimal storage, a wonderful way to maximize your small kitchen space is hanging kitchen essentials like strainers, whisks, ladles, serving boards, pots and pans. Though some grid wall panels can feel bulky and out of place, a simple straight bar, hanging ladder or neutral colored Skadis can blend effortlessly into most kitchen themes. Hanging kitchen essentials is especially effective because elegant decor can double as kitchen decorations like gold kitchen accessories, or a marble and wood serving board.
13) Modern + Compact Appliances
Appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers can be especially greedy in the amount of space they consume. Intentionally choosing modern compact appliances like a countertop dishwasher, or undercounter fridge with transparent or reflective surfaces, can greatly expand your small kitchen theme. If you know how to decorate a kitchen by reducing the amount of space necessary for appliances, you’ll have a small beautiful kitchen that still feels big.
14) Slim Refrigerator
Another great option for crowded kitchen spaces is a narrow or slim refrigerator. Slim fridges have a smaller footprint and eye-catching modern design that makes them ideal for enhancing small kitchen decor. There’s even a study about the positive environmental dieting cues of a thin fridge, causing some people to eat healthier. What we know is that a tall slender fridge can draw the eye upward, which creates a sense that the ceiling is higher and the kitchen is more open.
15) Combination of Natural + Artificial Lighting
There is nothing more important than light to make a kitchen feel bigger. Every small kitchen will seem larger when it is strategically lit with a combination of natural and artificial light. Filling the space with light expands your kitchen. In addition to being essential for practical reasons, lighting can also be used to accentuate specific kitchen decoration–focusing the eye on its best elements while taking the focus off of its size.
16) Bow Windows
The more light a kitchen has, the bigger its space will feel. Replacing old windows with bow windows is another option to open up the kitchen. A bow window can even give the illusion that you have more space because the window itself extends further out than your wall. Selecting windows with more clear surface area is also ideal and will expand the kitchen by letting more natural light in.
17) Under Cabinet Lighting
Shelves and cabinets offer wonderful surfaces to increase light on your countertops. And don’t worry if your kitchen doesn’t already have integrated lighting for under cabinets. You can easily install or apply linear lights or puck lights with hardwire, plug-ins or batteries on any under cabinet lighting. LED lights are the reigning MVP for kitchen illumination because LEDs are superior to fluorescent bulbs in longevity, expense, and ease of application. Another trend we’re seeing in under cabinet lighting is floor level highlights that accentuate open kitchen floors. This kitchen interior design idea is perfect for small open kitchens and makes the perceived space larger.
18) Kitchen Countertop Bars
Another way to enlarge a small kitchen is to remove the kitchen table all together. This works very well if you have higher countertops that can be used as a bar, but you can also find counter height bar stools for any kitchen. Simply add bar stools for kitchen counters and you’ve got the functionality of a kitchen table without taking up as much space.
19) Small Kitchens Look Bigger with Wall Removal
One of the best ways to make your small kitchen bigger is to remove or modify a wall. Though knocking down a wall may not work for renters, homeowners can open their kitchens and create a seamless flow between rooms by removing walls. Remember, before you remove a wall always find out if it is a load-bearing wall first. Working with an architect, you can also remove part of the wall to create an opening between spaces or a countertop bar that facilitates connection from the kitchen to the rest of your home.
20) Avoid Large Furniture
Larger furniture like a full-size refrigerator can swallow up far too much space in a smaller kitchen, and make the space feel crowded. To expand the space of your kitchen, whenever possible, avoid heavy, wide appliances, tables and chairs, opting for thin line and under counter appliances and bar countertop stools. Keep the center of the kitchen open, and make sure to kill the clutter on your counters.
21) Skinny Profile Furniture
When you want small kitchen ideas to make things look bigger, another way of creating transparency and a sense of openness is to choose a table and chairs that have skinny legs. This small simple kitchen design idea makes clean sight lines and allows light to flow naturally throughout. As a result your furniture will not appear to take up as much space.
22) Small Kitchens Look Bigger With Mirrors
Small kitchen designs directly benefit from mirrors. Mirrors create the illusion that even a tiny kitchen is larger than it is. Light reflects on a mirror and magnifies the view of the small kitchen which tricks the eye into seeing more depth and size than is actually there.
23) No Rugs + Windows Without Drapes
Removing drapes from windows is another great way to declutter your kitchen and allow light to flow freely. Likewise, resisting the temptation to put down a rug can greatly expand small kitchens. Curtains and rugs are obstacles for the eyes that make a space seem more crowded. Larger windows with more clear surface alongside bare flooring is a staple of small kitchen decor that makes the space appear bigger.
24) All White Kitchens
All white surfaces open up a small kitchen giving it a clean, calm, and light reflective experience. The uniformity of walls, shelving, furniture, and ceilings creates the illusion of serenity, as the eye travels upward and finds no boundary between surfaces. The effect of an all white kitchen for a small kitchen layout is the sense of being in a big comfortable cloud. White also carries natural light beautifully and simplifies the space making it feel more expansive.
25) Small Simple Kitchen Design
Listen, at the end of the day the best kitchen decor ideas to make a small kitchen look bigger are about keeping things simple. Be intentional about everything you put in your small kitchen, and even more intentional about what you leave out. Keep counters organized and uncluttered, incorporate transparent light fixtures and vases, allow natural light to flow freely throughout, utilize open shelving and furniture with skinny profiles, modernize your windows with larger clear surfaces, and complement the space with kitchen decor that has light neutral tones.