A large, open kitchen may be the dream of most homebuyers today, but with restrictive budgets, smaller square footage, or homes that were built before this trend took over, not all are making the grade. If you find yourself with a smallish kitchen, there are ways to make it feel more spacious.
Knock down a wall
Removing a wall that blocks light or that separates the kitchen from the living or dining room is an easy choice for experienced renovators.
It's not a DIY job unless you or your friends/family are experienced in demolition, electrical, plumbing, drywall, flooring and ceiling repairs, and any other stuff that comes up.
Expect to pay in the $2,500 to $3,000 range, according to Houzz. And that's if the wall isn't load bearing; if it is; you could be looking at up to 10 times that amount, and you'll probably have to bring in a structural engineer and a team of pros to do the work.
Create a pass-through
If you can't take down a wall, you may be able to create a pass-through that brings light into your kitchen. If you can extend a counter through the new open space, you can also create a breakfast bar on the other side to add function.
Remove other barriers
A raised breakfast bar may provide great functionality for casual meals, but it also may be contributing to making your kitchen feel tight. Knocking down the raised level so that your breakfast bar is all counter height is a modern way to update your kitchen and one that will open it up and make it feel larger.
Use the same theory for furniture and other items in the space. "Certain elements—like backless barstools, wire kitchen islands, or glass pendant lights, for example—leave sight lines open and don't trip up your eye as you move around the room," said Apartment Therapy.
Clear the countertops
Messy or cluttered spaces look busy. For a more streamlined look, clear ‘em off. It's easy and won't cost you a thing.
Light equals bright when it comes to a small space, which is great since white continues to be the most popular choice for kitchen cabinets today.
To maximize the effect, keep the wall color the same as the cabinets and extend to as many other surfaces as possible.
"White is your best friend in a small kitchen," said Better Homes and Gardens. "It reflects light, which enhances the sense of space and makes the wall seem to recede. When you carry the white from the cabinetry to the countertops, walls, and ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries to stop the eye. Use several shades of white and combine contrasting textures to keep an all-white room from feeling sterile."
No matter what the predominant color is the space, keep the contrast low "so the eye doesn't trip over sudden shifts from dark to light. The effect is serene and expansive."
Don't avoid geometric patterns
You don't have to forgo geometric patterns in a small kitchen. In fact, if chosen right, those patterns can help you expand the feel of your kitchen.
"Choose geometric and striped walls and floors that draw the eye lengthwise or vertically and make the room appear longer or taller than it actually is," said Apartment Therapy. "If you can't change the floor itself, add a patterned runner that will add the same effect."
Pare down the cabinets
"Too many cabinets, especially if they're dark, will create the illusion that the room is much smaller than it is," said DIY Network. But if you're stretched for storage space as it is, getting rid of cabinets may not be practical. Swapping out your solid cabinet doors and replacing with glass can be just as effective.
Glass fronts lighten the look of cabinetry and allow the eye to travel through to the back, which helps the kitchen seem more expansive," said Houzz. Want to do it yourself? Check out this tutorial.
Think about scale
Giant stuff in your tiny space will only make it look more cramped. "Select petite islands, slim chairs, streamlined stools and narrow tables that don't eat up valuable floor space," said Houzz. "Avoid chunky furniture legs or thick bases, which add visual bulk."
Written by Jaymi Naciri
$279,000, 4Bd/3.5Ba Single Family House, 2517 sqft.