If your cookspace feels cramped, try these clever design moves to tuck in more storage and create a roomier feel
Houzz Contributor. Yanic Simard is a true creative entrepreneur and design influencer…. More
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 or the illusion of a bigger space, all without sacrificing a sense of personality. Check out these 12 ideas for balancing storage, style and long sightlines to get a functional layout with a spacious vibe.
Consider shallow cabinets
Here’s some outside-the-box thinking: not all of your base cabinets have to be the standard 600mm depth. Most cabinet ranges also come in a 300 to 450mm depth, often used for wall cabinets.
Using slimmer base cabinets for one area has its advantages. It opens up 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.
Reduce your hardware
It’s a no-brainer that eliminating worktop 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 push-click catches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your new kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger. It also gives you fewer items to bump into or get your clothing caught on, so the space will feel easier to move around, too.
Rethink the double sink
Clients often request a double sink – sometimes before anything else. Large double sinks have their uses, but if you’re willing to compromise and choose a single sink (or even a one-and-a-half sink with a slim second bowl), it can open up better storage options and more unbroken worktop space.
This applies especially to stock cabinet ranges, which have a limited number of size options.
8 things Houzz designers have taught us about kitchens this year
If your sink is centred on the window with little room either side, this can create a ‘dead zone’ next to it that can’t accommodate anything. Using a smaller cabinet for the sink frees up room on either side, which can open up new options for adjacent cabinets.
For example, switching from a 900mm sink cabinet (for a double sink) to a 600mm cabinet (for a single sink) frees up 150mm on both sides. This can turn 150mm of adjacent space into 300mm, which is enough for a usable cabinet.
If you don’t think you’ll use that second sink bowl frequently, it’s worth exploring what else that space could be used for.
Choose a compact dishwasher
Most standard dishwashers come in a 600mm width, but compact dishwashers in a 450mm width are growing in popularity.
Saving that 150mm can give you a bigger cabinet elsewhere. Naturally, a smaller dishwasher also fills up faster, which means you can run a full load more often instead of waiting a day between washes or running the machine while only half full. For smaller households, this can be a perfect option.
Put your fridge on a diet
Speaking of saving space, choosing a slimmer refrigerator can really open up your kitchen as well. Clients usually want the largest fridge they can fit, but these big, 900mm-and-up models often end up full of clutter or simply remain half empty.
If you don’t cook often, or frequently shop for fresh produce, try slimming down your fridge to 740mm or even less if you can find it, and leaving more room available for other essentials.
Not prepared to choose compact appliances? You can still get a much lighter look.
Integrated appliances (usually fridges and dishwashers) are designed to be able to receive a door front of your choosing, so they can blend into the look of your kitchen cabinets. The resulting look is more fluid, which creates an overall larger, airier appearance.
Mirror your splashback
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 splashback 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 more subtle.
Switch wall units for shelves
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 shelving 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 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.
Find out more about kitchen layouts
You don’t even have to fully commit to wall shelves. 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.
Is this the most desirable kitchen feature right now?
Go for glass door cabinets
Here’s another way to lighten your wall, but without actually changing your storage. Swap typical solid cabinet fronts for doors with glass inserts to make the look much airier.
Use this cabinet to display attractive glassware, or choose frosted glass, so you only get a faint peek at the mishmash of items stored within.
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 centre 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.
Shorten your splashback
So you’ve carefully configured your storage, and now you have some beautiful open wall space. To make that wall look 3m tall (even if it’s only 2.4m), try using a short, minimal splashback in a colour that blends with the wall. The lack of an obvious dividing line between where the tiles stop and the plain wall starts keeps the planes of the wall looking taller, so your open space looks positively vast.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can take tiles all the way to the ceiling or use a chic slab splashback for a truly unbroken appearance.
Try a stainless-steel splashback to present a subtle sheen that almost acts like a mirror (as discussed above), giving the room a sense of depth and echoing the finishes of steel appliances or fixtures.
Unwrap your cooker hood
You may not want to eliminate any true upper cabinets, but the partial cabinets that wrap around a cooker hood usually have little function other than hiding ductwork.
Choose a beautiful hood that’s meant to be seen, and let it create a visual break from the cabinets. Even this small bit of depth can make a kitchen feel less claustrophobic.
Have you made your small kitchen feel bigger? Share your tricks in the Comments section.