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How to make small kitchens feel bigger

So you’re developing a new property and it’s slightly lacking in the kitchen department...

Never fear! Small doesn’t have to mean boring. Or unimpressive!

Small things come in beautiful packages and we’re here to show you how you can achieve an awesome result in spite of your compact kitchen...

Come into the light! 

This is the first, and quite frankly the most obvious, of my tips. I won’t win any prizes for originality here, but it’s important to point out the basics.

Using pale colours can really help to create a feeling of space! (No sh*t Sherlock). 

So, how does it work? By painting the kitchen walls pale, and introducing pale worktops and cabinets, more light will be reflected around the room, and voila! Move over Derren Brown – you have just created an illusion – the illusion of space! 

Dark colours absorb light, and the darker it is, the less the light is reflected back. And so of course, light colours reflect light and literally bounce it around the room.  

If you’re redecorating the whole kitchen, I suggest you paint the walls in the same pale shade as the cabinets (or as similar a tone as possible).

Another TOP tip (literally!) is to include the ceiling too! This will blur any edges and corners and trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger than it actually is (another Derren Brown stunt).

Layer Colour and Texture

The challenge here, and this is where you can get creative, is to layer colours and textures for warmth, interest and a luxurious feel. You can also just ignore everything I said in Point 1 (sorry, the rules in interiors are there are no rules!) and team those pale colours with darker hues to create a beautifully designed space.

So what am I talking about here?

If you have an LNPG account (Landlords National Purchasing Group), you might be familiar with Magnet kitchens, so I’ll start there with an example for you. Their Nova kitchen (a landlord favourite) comes in pale green Seagrass, which I recently specified in a Serviced Accommodation property, so I can vouch for its good looks and the fact that it’s so much more interesting than grey or white.

For dramatic effect, paint the walls a strong blue/green colour (try Farrow and Ball’s Inchyra Blue) add a wood effect worktop for softness and texture (Magnet’s Quebec Oak Worktop works well).

Another top tip for texture... Choose an LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) flooring that’s a few shades darker or lighter than the worktop. Make sure it’s a complimentary tone, so they sit well together whilst adding their own interest.

If your budget extends only to a simple wall tile, experiment with different formations (for example a brick tile looks great laid in a herringbone pattern) and try using grout that’s coloured the same as the walls. It works especially well to use dark grout in a kitchen as it hides a multitude of sins!

Be Bold With Colour

If you definitely want cabinets that have colour with a bit more punch, a good trick is to select the darker colour for the base units and the wall units in a complimentary, paler colour. 

This way, the units at eye line will be best placed to reflect the light and open up the space and those at base level will feel grounding.

Clever eh? (I didn’t invent that, it’s just fact).

And for a classic combo that never fails, go for white and dark blue. You can’t go far wrong with this as it will literally never date, and apparently blue is the world’s most favourite colour so you’re onto a winner!

If you’re keen on using Howdens as your kitchen supplier, take their Chilcomb shaker style kitchen in navy and pair it with Porcelain, or even better why not try Linen for a softer look.

Choose reflective surfaces. 

To bounce light around your small space, try a stainless steel finish as both a worktop and a splashback. Not only is this highly reflective, but by using the same finish for both, you’ll create an uber streamlined look. Yes, chef!

And finally..

I’ve thrown these little tips and tricks in FOC. You’re welcome! 

  • Ditch the knobs: Remove cupboard handles and use push/click catches for a super slick appearance. 

  • Learn the lighting tricks: there are loads of clever options that can make a small kitchen feel warmer and more welcoming, such as LED strip lighting under cabinets or glass pendants, that are so effective for reflecting even more light.

  • How about a mirrored splashback? Smoky antique mirrors are particularly stunning in the right SA setting. You could also mirror a wall in the dining area of the kitchen to instantly double the size of the zone.

  • Get glossy! High Gloss Paint is not just for woodwork. Suggest high gloss finishes on the walls if you're redecorating, to reflect the light on a bigger scale.

So in summary, to help a small kitchen feel bigger:

1. Keep colours pale

2. Use a few colours of the same tone to add interest

3. Pop a bit of texture in for warmth

4. And don’t forget reflective surfaces too!

These tips will all help to achieve a streamlined appearance.

And the more streamlined you can make the kitchen, the bigger the space will feel!


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