The best small kitchen design ideas

How to make your petite kitchen feel grand

photo by @jerseyicecreamco

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Whether it is grabbing a snack or spending hours preparing a feast, kitchens really are the heart of any home. Unfortunately for a lot of us (myself included) we live in inner city apartments where every square metre is valuable and the small kitchen is usually then crammed in the corner. Whilst we may not be able to change the actual size of the kitchen there are some clever tricks that can be applied to give the illusion of a larger, more welcoming kitchen that everyone will want to spend more time in.

6 tips to make your small kitchen feel grand


Colour is the easiest way to visually manipulate the size of your kitchen and make it seem much larger than it is. When dealing with small kitchen spaces, we would always recommend painting the walls, skirting and trims all the same colour. No breaks in the paint colour will visually open the space, giving the illusion of higher ceilings and a grander space. We also recommend choosing cabinetry and countertop finishes that are within a similar colour family to your walls. Again, this avoids any sharp contrasts that create visual boundaries contributing to a space feeling small.

source image: @monsieurnoto

open shelving

Open shelving is a recommendation that come with a warning sign. Replacing your overhead kitchen cupboards with open shelving will make your small kitchen feel more open and therefore larger. This is as it reduces the visual heaviness that closed cabinets create. In saying this however, there is no point in swapping to open shelving unless you are able to hide cutter away. A disorganised display of plates, pots and pans will only make the space feel more crowded.

source image: styled by Josefin Hååg photographed by Krisofer Johnsson


Light alongside the right colour has the ability to amplify a space by making it feel brighter and more inviting. If you have the budget, the ideal solution is to install a skylight or increase the size of a window to let as much natural light in as possible. If this isn’t an option, then ensuring you have enough light and of the right temperature can be very effective too. We recommend either 2700  or 3000K for kitchen downlights as it is still a warm, homely white, though cool enough to give your kitchen a clearer appearance.

source image: @nordic_design

integrated appliances

As we spoke about with colour, the same visual principles apply with appliances. Breaks in finishes or colours tend to contribute to a room feeling smaller. By integrating appliances such as dishwashers and fridges into the joinery the kitchen will feel more unified, fluid and therefore larger in appearance.


Related: Want to know why reduced clutter improves your wellbeing? 


image source: Joseph Dirand’s Paris apartment

vertical lines

Drawing the eye up rather than horizontal is a principle used in not only fashion but also interior design. A great design idea is continuing the same finish along the countertop and up the wall, preferably the whole way (if possible) as this gives the illusion of a larger space. A finish such as stainless steel or a large stone slab as a splashback will give an unbroken, seamless appearance.  Remember, less visual breaks is the paramount way to increase the ‘size’ of your small kitchen.

source image: @nordiskakok


If you kitchen is so tight that two people can’t squeeze past each other, you may want to consider changing the depth of the cabinets on one side. Reducing the depth of cabinets from the standard 600mm to 300mm or 450mm will make a huge difference to your narrow kitchen. Shallow cabinets, especially for plates and dry food are often better and more convenient storage as deep cabinets can be a pain with items being hard to reach and forgotten about. I often find random noodles that are 2 years past their expiry.

source image:


We’re two down-to-earth Aussie gals sharing a passion for quality design and designing spaces that improve your well-being.


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