Easy DIY methods to make a small kitchen ‘look bigger’

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Mark Millar shares his tips for minimalist kitchens

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With Britons opting to move back into urban areas following the shift to rural living in the last three years, kitchens can be smaller in size due to a lack of space. While a small kitchen can work for a lot of people, feeling cosy and functional, making it appear bigger is easier than homeowners may first think. From adding artwork to giving the space a lick of paint, there are various different ways to “trick the eye”, according to an expert.

Melissa Klink, Creative Director, Harvey Jones, told Express.co.uk: “A kitchen with open shelving and storage looks and feels more expansive.

“If you take a step back after taking several cupboard doors off, you’ll notice an instant perception of more room.”

It is important to keep these shelves tidy however, as this could ruin not only the aesthetic of the kitchen, but also defeat the purpose.

Opt for tiered shelving units to store herbs, or decant food into clear storage jars to keep the kitchen tidy and efficient.

The expert added: “Too much stuff sitting on worktops can make a small kitchen feel even more claustrophobic, so finding creative ways to store everyday necessities is essential.

“Instead of cramming lots of units into your kitchen in the hope of creating storage space, try breaking up the area by substituting the cabinets on one side with a long run of accessible open shelving.”

Some Britons may be against open shelving due to it collecting dust and needing regular cleaning, but it can help make the space more efficient.

As well as changing the actual space by removing cupboard doors, homeowners can also make their kitchen look “bigger” by adding bold prints.

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The interior design pro said: “For your kitchen walls, a patterned wallpaper can trick the eye into perceiving more space.

“Geometric designs, for example, will draw the eye vertically or lengthways, creating the illusion of a larger, higher kitchen.

“Alternatively, horizontally striped wallpaper is an effective way to make the room look broader, which is especially useful if you have a narrow, galley kitchen.”

Changing the colour of the walls can also make a small kitchen look larger in size, and homeowners should opt for something bright and light, including white which is nice and simple.

Melissa said colour is a “powerful tool” for expanding the visual of a small kitchen. She noted: “Neutral-toned cabinets, worktops and appliances will reflect light, increasing the perceived size of the room, and making the walls appear to almost recede.”

Luckily, painting kitchen cabinets is always an option, which can help to save money and make a huge difference to the space. 

The expert continued: “Also add reflective surfaces. Mirrors are renewed in interior design for their magical space-saving properties. However, they are still a surprisingly underutilised fixture in the heart of the home.”

Placing a carefully chosen mirror in the kitchen can help to add more light to the home, which makes the area look larger in size.

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It can also help to add a sense of depth to the room and can be tailored to the homeowners design preferences.

Melissa said: “You can also install tile flooring. Installing directional flooring is a smart solution to make a cramped kitchen appear larger.

“Parquet tiles, for example, laid in a wide herringbone, chevron, or basketweave pattern will immediately give the impression of a longer and wider space thanks to the way the lines draw the eye outwards.”

While it can be expensive to replace the entire flooring, vinyl floorings are always an option, which are ideal for renters. However, they may not last very long due to kitchens being high traffic areas.

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