Sometimes there’s no getting around it. You fall in love with a house for all its charm and perfection…except for that one little detail. And we do mean little. We’re talking about small kitchens. The kind that leave you wondering how you’ll manage to keep your everyday use items organized, let alone contemplating where you’ll cram your wedding china. Along with bathrooms, kitchens are one of the most important aspects on homebuyers’ wish lists. Unless you built or bought yourself a tiny home, a small kitchen probably wasn’t at the top of your roster of “must-haves.” If you’re nodding your head vigorously and thinking Amen!, read on for a few ways to help make your tiny kitchen look and feel bigger.

Keep it light, bright, and white. When it comes to home decor, white is the color of cleanliness and freshness. It reflects light better than darker colors, which makes things feel larger and more open. If you’re not into white, a monochromatic look will work too. Using one color for cabinets, appliances, and countertops help to make things visually seamless and removes obvious edges.

Nix the trim. Go for cabinets that are streamlined with no trim, and leave out the chair rails and crown molding on the kitchen walls as well. Trimwork acts as a transition piece and divides a room into visually smaller pieces, fighting against your efforts to make your kitchen feel larger.

Use floating shelves. Cabinets take up way more room than you might realize. Floating shelves are less bulky, take up less space, and are actually super modern and clean-looking. Just be ready to commit to keeping your kitchen items clean and organized since they’ll be out in the open. Clutter always makes a space feel cramped and dirty.

Try alternative cabinet fronts. If open shelving isn’t your thing, try opening things up visually with alternative materials. Reflective surfaces are your friend when you’re trying to make a room feel bigger. Glass or mirrored cabinet fronts will work wonders in that area.

Don’t forget the fifth wall. Using interesting details to draw the eye upward is an old, tried and true trick used by interior designers everywhere. It gives the illusion of height so a cramped room. You can add interest to your kitchen ceiling by painting it a contrasting color; covering it with a pretty wallpaper; or installing beams, pressed tin, colorful tiles, or even a simple beadboard.

Clear the counters. As we said above, clutter always makes a space feel too small. If you want to create the illusion of space, you’ll have to make literal space too. Keep your counters as empty as possible, stashing small appliances and utensils until it’s time to use them. If you don’t have much storage space, consider hanging things on the backsplash (ex: a magnetic strip for knives and other metal utensils) or investing in a wall-mounted rack for things like pots and pans.

Go with an open island. There’s no rule that says you can’t have an island in a small kitchen. Just keep it simple and open without cabinets on the bottom. Choose an island that has exposed legs and open shelving if needed. A rollaway cart with a butcher block prep space on top is perfect for this purpose, but a simple table-like island with just four legs and a countertop works just as well.

Flood the room with light. If you don’t get enough natural light in your small kitchen, add LED lights under the top cabinets. You can also add them to your floating shelves or inside glass-front cabinets for even more illumination. Instead of bulky pendant lighting over your sink or island, go with recessed can or puck lights. They tend to look neater and give off brighter light.

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