There are numerous ways to fool the eye into thinking that a small kitchen looks roomier than it really is. Check out the following tips:
- Keep it simple
When working in small spaces, especially in kitchens, it’s best to have clean lines and avoid much ornamentation, says Sharon Flatley, who owns Flatley Design in Dallas. “Recessed flat-panel doors on cabinets, for example, are a timeless design, and their simplicity adds elegance to the space.” A classic crown molding at the top of the cabinets and around the perimeter of the room helps maintain the clean lines and finishes off the space. By contrast, multiple-layered crown molding would look too heavy.
- Make it monochromatic
“A single color can visually enlarge a small space,” says Flatley, who suggests a light neutral in a satin finish for the cabinets and trim. For walls, go with a tint that’s lighter or darker than the cabinet and trim color but in an eggshell finish. Paint the ceiling white to bring your eye up. Don’t be tempted by trendy dark colors, which will make your small kitchen “shrink.”
- Coordinate the backsplash
Choose a backsplash tile that works with the wall color to create a fluid line. Flatley says to stay away from heavily patterned or dark tiles that draw your eye toward them, making the space feel even smaller. “Or you could use a light-colored countertop material as a continuation of the backsplash, running it up to the bottom of the wall cabinets and behind the cooktop or range top,” she says.
- Don’t clutter the countertops
To avoid a cramped look, don’t crowd the countertops, says Flatley, who likes built-in storage units to stow coffeemakers and toasters so they’re out of sight. Also don’t clutter the space with a too-big table and chairs.
- Give it enough light
In a small space, lighting is especially critical, says Flatley. Plan your ceiling lighting (preferably LED) so that it illuminates the entire space. “Use warmer LED lights if your color scheme is creamy colors, and go with cooler LED lights if it’s in bright white tones.” Plan for accent lighting as well: Place pendants above the island for a dramatic effect. Scale these fixtures to the size of the room. For task lighting, LED lights under the wall cabinets are a must. “Make sure that all lighting has the same Kelvin temperature or the space will become chaotic.”
- Think vertical
Anything that will make your eye go up to the ceiling — subway tiles placed vertically, a vertically striped wallpaper — will instantly add height to the room.