A kitchen of any size can feel roomy if you know a few tricks. Sticking to white cabinets and walls is a good start, but there are many other ways to create extra room in your kitchen, or create the illusion of a bigger space than you have, all without sacrificing a sense of personality.
Here are 7 ways to balance storage, style and long sight-lines to get a functional layout with a spacious vibe:
1. Consider shallow cabinets.
Here’s some outside-the-box thinking: Not all of your lower cabinets must be the standard 24-inch depth. Most cabinet lines (even stock cabinets from big box stores) also come in a 12- or 15-inch depth usually used for upper cabinets.
Using slimmer lower cabinets for one area has its advantages. It opens a bit more floor space, which can make a big difference in a tight kitchen. It also reduces your storage slightly, but often the backs of deep cabinets are hard to reach anyway, so the shallower cabinets can be just right for everyday items.
2. Reduce your hardware.
It’s a no-brainer that eliminating counter clutter is important for keeping a kitchen looking open and breezy, but you can take this a step further by removing the hardware.
Using cabinet doors with touch-activated latches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger. It also gives you fewer little items to bump into, so the space will feel easier to move in too.
3. Mirror your backsplash.
When you’re tucked into the kitchen working away on dinner, that’s when the space usually feels the smallest.
Using a mirror for the backsplash opens up the sightlines, making the room seem much bigger, especially from close up. For a smart, moodier effect, use a tinted glass so the reflection is subtler.
4. Use shelf uppers.
In a small kitchen, removing all the upper cabinets may not be a practical option, but you can always use as much or as little as you like to house just your most attractive everyday items.
A few open shelves on one wall will perfectly hold daily-use tableware, storage jars and bins, and cookbooks, and give the room a much more open feel. It can also give a beautiful window a little more space to breathe so the whole room feels less stuffed.
You don’t even have to fully commit to shelf uppers. Try simply removing the doors from a cabinet to simulate this breezy look. You can always put the doors back on later if you want to.
5. Add glass door cabinets.
Here’s another way to lighten your uppers, but without actually changing your storage. Switch out typical solid cabinet fronts to doors with glass inserts to make the look much airier.
Use this cabinet to display attractive drinkware, or use frosted glass so you only get a faint peek at the mishmash of items stored within.
6. Install cabinet lighting.
The importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough, and in kitchens especially the lighting is often insufficient, coming just from ceiling fixtures in the center of the room. Add lighting under, above and even inside the cabinets to make the room feel much brighter and bigger, as the dark shadows around the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.
For a quick fix, add plug-in LED strip fixtures or battery-powered tap lights under the cabinets for extra brightness.
7. Unwrap your hood.
You may not want to eliminate any true upper cabinets, but the partial cabinets that wrap around a hood fan usually have little function other than hiding ductwork. Choose a beautiful range hood that is meant to be seen, and let it create a little visual break from the upper cabinets. Even this small bit of depth can make a kitchen feel less claustrophobic.
What tricks do you use to create a visually larger kitchen? Did you recently remodel and use any of the tips above? What do you recommend? We want to hear from you! Sound off on The Shannon McCarthy Team Facebook Page, on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds, of on Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE™ Email Newsletter for articles like this one and tips and tricks for all homeowners, buyers and sellers delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.