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How to Make a Small Kitchen Feel Bigger

Kitchen with wooden cabinets, a stainless steel double sink, large window, and kitchen clutter on the white countertops.

A small kitchen has become increasingly common. This comes along with the challenge of avoiding a cramped and stuffy feeling. The good news? You can breathe new life into your petite kitchen, making it feel more spacious, inviting, and practical.

A small kitchen is classified as being around 70 sq. ft., with medium kitchens being between 100-200 sq. ft. Although what is considered a small kitchen is subjective, the fact is that kitchens are being built smaller and smaller.

Having a small kitchen isn’t the end of the world though. In fact, there are many benefits to having a smaller kitchen. They’re easier to clean, they can be more energy efficient, and they can even lower food wastage.

Despite these benefits, a small kitchen can easily lead to feeling cramped and low. Making your small kitchen feel bigger can eliminate these feelings, and instead brighten your day and boost your spirits.

However, creating the illusion of a bigger space isn’t always easy. But with these clever tips and tricks, your kitchen space can feel more spacious whilst also looking great.

Kitchen with cream cabinets, built in ovens, reflective white splash back and open shelving.
Samsung Built In Ovens

Opt for light colours and reflective surfaces

Using light colours and reflective surfaces can create the illusion of space. That’s because white tints and reflections allow light to reflect off of the surface, which makes the area seem bigger and less cramped.

Painting your small kitchen is a cheap and simple way to transform it into a space that feels bigger. Although white is the best colour choice for creating the illusion of space, you’re certainly not limited to it.

Other light colours such as greens, yellows and pinks, will also have a strong tint of white. This means that light will still bounce off, creating the same effect.

If you’re absolutely set on using a darker colour though, you do still have options. For example, try only painting the lower cabinets a different colour, whilst painting everything else above it white. This will establish the colour in your kitchen, whilst drawing the eyes upwards making it feel bright and open.

To see how different colours could work in your kitchen and make it seem bigger, have a look at the image below:

8 versions of the same kitchen cabinets in 8 different colours: white, yellow, orange, pink, dark blue, grey, green, and blue.

Reflective surfaces will further take advantage of light reflections. There a many ways you can incorporate reflective surfaces in your kitchen. For example, you can opt for cabinets with a glossy finish, use glass tiles as a splashback, and get appliances with finishes such as stainless steel.

Remove clutter and optimise storage

Clutter is fantastic for making a space feel small. So if you’re trying to make your kitchen feel bigger, you’ll want to avoid clutter as much as possible. 

One of the biggest causes of clutter is not having a place for everything. And one of the biggest reasons for not having a place for everything is simply having too much stuff. So, a big part of decluttering is getting rid of anything you don’t need or use.

Once you’ve done that, and you’re left with everything that you need, you need to find a place for it all. There are some things that you can do to make this easier and to maximise your storage in your small kitchen:

Use vertical space

Narrow pull-out storage rack in white kitchen.
Source: Pinterest

Using the vertical space in your kitchen is the perfect solution for storing things without wasting space.

There are lots of ways to utilise the vertical space of your kitchen.

You could install narrow pull-out racks, extra cabinet racks, or a tall and narrow bottle storage.

Utilise under-shelf baskets

Under shelf storage racks
Source: Pinterest

Following on from making use of vertical space, using under shelf baskets will give you additional cabinet space.

There are so many different types of these now, and so whatever storage needs you have, there will always be something for you.

Install open shelves

Wooden kitchen shelves on a white wall. Filled with plates, glasses, and jars of food items. White mugs hang from the bottom shelf.

Open shelves are fantastic for making your kitchen feel light and airy.

But only if they’re not too cluttered!

Use these shelves to store bigger items, such as flatware or décor.

Use cabinet organisers

Open cabinet door, revealing cabinet storage inside.

Cabinet organisers are another way to maximise the storage space in your already existing cabinets.

These are designed to get the most out of your cabinet space, whilst increasing ease of access.

Another big tip is to keep your counter space, and the area above, as clear as possible. A lot of this can be done by utilising the tips above, however there are some more ingenious ways of doing so.

A boiling water tap will eliminate the need for a kettle, therefore clearing more space on your worktop. This is perfect for those with a small kitchen. Doing this will not only open up the space and make it feel bigger, but it will also give you more surface space when cooking. It’s a win-win!

For those with a food waste caddy or bin taking up space, you can replace this with a waste disposal unit. Not only clearing space but removing horrible odours, a food waste disposal will brighten and freshen up your kitchen.

QETTLE Q9204CPP Signature Classic 4-In-1 Boiling Water Tap 2 Litre – COPPER

Choose smaller and multifunctional appliances

Choosing smaller and multifunctional appliances will reduce the amount of space they take up. With less space being used by appliances, you will open up the space, making your kitchen feel bigger.

Compact appliances also often come with higher energy ratings, can look fantastic when combined, as well as other great benefits.

Some examples of space-saving appliances include:

Built in microwaves

Built-in microwaves, as well as other built in appliances, are designed to be installed into your kitchen cabinetry.

Not only does this look fantastic, but it will keep your countertops clear and provide a great space-saving solution for your kitchen.

Combination Oven and Microwaves

Save even more space with a 2-in-1 oven and microwave. Combination microwaves are microwaves with additional fan oven and/or grill functionality.

Alternatively, you could get a compact oven with microwave functions. Either of these options are fairly similar, however are a little different.

Combination microwaves focus on microwave functions, whereas a combination ovens focus on oven functions.

For more information on the differences and which would be better for your kitchen, call our expert sales team on 0115 965 1937.

Compact Dishwashers

Slimmer than the standard width of 60cm, 45cm freestanding or fully integrated dishwashers use less space.

This makes them ideal for those low on kitchen space.

If you’re still concerned about the space that this would take up, you could get a dishdrawer.

Dishdrawers take up less vertical space than a traditional dishwasher.

If you do your laundry in your kitchen, you may find our smart ideas for small laundry spaces useful.

Add lighting and mirrors

It’s amazing how effective lighting can make a room feel bigger. Just like with using light colours, lots of lighting will allow more light to bounce around and make it seem bigger.

On the other hand, dark colours make a space feel smaller. Dark shadows will do the same thing. Therefore, for your lighting to be effective you’ll want to eliminate shadows as best as you can.

Use evenly spread lighting as much as possible. This is key for lighting and opening up dark corners. To further increase the feeling of a bigger space, use lights that direct light upwards and outwards. This will help light to bounce around the room.

Ideas for additional kitchen lighting:

Install under-cabinet lighting

Under-cabinet lighting reduces shadows, whilst also directly lighting your counters. Not only do these make small spaces seem bigger, but they also create a lovely ambiance, especially at night.

White under-cabinet lighting shown in kitchen with white splashback and light wood cabinets.

Use pendant lights

Not only will pendant lights give you the lighting needed to brighten your space, but they’re great for adding an extra illusion for bigger space. By hanging your pendant lights slightly lower than usual, you’ll extend their stem and make it seem like your room is taller and more spacious.

Add a skylight

Natural light is one of the most effective ways of lighting a room and making it feel bigger. Not only does natural light flood a room evenly with light, but it also gives people a place to look out into the world. By installing a skylight, you’ll get both the benefits of the natural sunlight, as well as drawing the eye upwards and outwards.

Two skylights shown above a white and green kitchen with red splashback.

Use wall lights

Wall lights can be helpful for lighting up more of those shadowy areas of your kitchen. They can also be used to guide the light upwards, making your kitchen look taller and more spacious. 

The use of mirrors in your kitchen can further brighten it up, when placed in the right spaces. Light will reflect back and allow light to continuously bounce around the room. Mirrors can also act almost like a window, making the room feel twice as big.

Tips for using mirrors:

Place a mirror opposite a window

By placing a mirror opposite a window you will increase the amount of natural light being cast around your kitchen. The larger the mirror, the bigger the effect.

Use a mirrored splashback

Making your space feel bigger and open, a mirrored splashback is the perfect way to incorporate mirrors into your kitchen. They’re also incredibly easy to maintain and keep clean!

Black and white modern kitchen with mirror splashback and built-in oven.

Hang a large mirror on a wall

If you don’t have the best wall space opposite your kitchen window, you can still use any other available wall space. The larger the mirror, the better it will be at reflecting light around your room.


In conclusion, making a small kitchen feel bigger is achievable with some clever strategies:

Light Colors and Reflective Surfaces: Use light colours and reflective surfaces to create a sense of openness. White is a classic choice, but soft hues like greens, yellows, and pinks work too. Incorporate glossy cabinets and stainless steel appliances for added reflection.

Declutter and Optimise Storage: Get rid of unnecessary items and maximise storage with vertical space, under-shelf baskets, open shelves, and cabinet organisers. Keep countertops clear for a more open feel.

Choose Compact Appliances: Opt for smaller, multifunctional appliances to save space. Built-in microwaves, combination ovens, and compact dishwashers are great options.

Effective Lighting and Mirrors: Spread even lighting to eliminate shadows and create a sense of space. Under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, and skylights are excellent choices. Strategically placed mirrors reflect light and make the kitchen feel larger.

With these tips, your small kitchen can become a functional, welcoming space that feels much bigger than its size suggests. If you have your own tips for maximising a small kitchen space, let us know in the comments. We may even add your ideas to this article!

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