Maximize Small Kitchen Space

Maximize Small Kitchen Space

While early 20th century bungalows are a big part of the charm and historic attraction of the Heights, there are a few things about their architecture that are less appealing to modern homeowners. Specifically, the kitchens back then were a lot smaller than we generally like them to be today. Compounding the fact that many older homes have kitchens that are, let’s say, “cozy,” it seems that everyone wants to congregate in the kitchen during social gatherings. Never fear! Here are six easy ways to make your small kitchen seem bigger. 


One key to making your tiny kitchen seem larger is functionality. No space should go to waste! Add in shelves in available nooks and crannies, or over your cabinets if there is a blank wall. Keep shelves shallow to minimize the risk that someone will bump their head. When it comes to small kitchens, open shelving is preferable to closed cabinets, because they make a room seem light and airy, while closed cabinets can make a room seem smaller because it brings the visual wall further into the room. If you have small children or pets and don’t think open cabinets would be a good fit for your lifestyle, consider using tempered glass cabinet doors instead to avoid making the kitchen seem smaller. 


Organizing your cabinets efficiently will allow for more storage and less countertop clutter, which can make a room seem smaller. Another bonus of open or glass cabinets? If you can see into your cabinets, you’ll be more motivated to keep them organized, too! Since you can’t close a door on the clutter, you’re more likely to clean it up. Organization experts at the Container Store can help you find all kinds of shelves, racks, and colorful bins to aid your tidying-up efforts. 


Lighter shades on the walls and cabinetry can really open up a small space. Color has a huge transformative effect on any space, and the same square footage can go from feeling like a dark, cramped cave to a cheery, comfortable center of your home simply by refinishing cabinets in a lighter shade and changing the colors of the wall, as well as backsplash and granite, if budget allows for those updates. You’ll be amazed how much larger your kitchen feels without making any architectural changes! 


Give the illusion of more space by incorporating mirrors into your renovation plan. Mirror backsplashes are becoming very popular, and are available in solid pieces or designs made of many small mirrors arranged in artistic patterns, similar to what you might be used to seeing in tile backsplashes. If your kitchen is lacking in natural light, the addition of mirrors can go a long way to brighten the place up, too. If you don’t want to commit to an entire backsplash made of mirrors, choose an antique mirror with a pretty frame instead. 


Using patterns in unexpected places is a good way to add visual interest and the illusion of space in a small room. New York interior designer Jenny Wolf advises clients to take patterns to the floor, using an unusual herringbone or chevron placement for wood floors or hand-painting cement tile. If you aren’t sure about doing a bold pattern on the floor or your budget doesn’t allow for new floors, add interest with contact paper or wallpaper in a funky pattern on the back interior walls of your cabinets, especially if they are open or have glass fronts. 


Finally, make sure your kitchen is very well lit, as a brighter room seems bigger than a dark one. Plenty of light is important for cooking, too. Wolf recommends using flush or recessed lighting, as well as down lighting from islands and food prep areas. Don’t forget about under the cabinets! With these minor cosmetic fixes, your cramped kitchen will seem larger and more comfortable in no time.

Photo from