In fashion, there are tricks to make a large waist look smaller and a modest bosom seem bountiful. The same goes for interior design: 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:
1. 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 moulding 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 moulding would look too heavy and crowd the room.
2. Make it monochromatic
“A single colour 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 colour but in an eggshell finish. Paint the ceiling white to bring your eye up. Don’t be tempted by trendy dark colours, which will make your small kitchen shrink right before your eyes!
3. Coordinate the backsplash
Choose a backsplash tile that works with the wall colour to create a fluid line. Flatley says to stay away from heavily patterned or dark tiles that draw your eye towards them, making the space feel even smaller. “Or you could use a light-coloured 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.
4. Don’t clutter the countertops
To avoid a cramped look, don’t crowd the countertops, says Flatley, who likes appliance garages (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.
5. 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 colour scheme is creamy colours, 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 and the ceiling height. 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.”
6. Think vertical
Anything that will make your eye go up to the ceiling — subway tiles placed vertically not horizontally, a vertically striped wallpaper — will instantly add height to the room.