Published: 09:35, 03 April 2018
A kitchen of any size can feel roomy if you know a few tricks. Sticking to white cabinets and walls is a good start, but there are many other ways to create extra room or the illusion of a bigger space, all without sacrificing a sense of personality. Check out these 12 ideas for balancing storage, style and long sightlines to get a functional layout with a spacious vibe.
Consider shallow cabinets
Here’s some outside-the-box thinking: not all of your base cabinets have to be the standard 600mm depth. Most cabinet ranges also come in a 300 to 450mm depth, often used for wall cabinets.
Using slimmer base cabinets for one area has its advantages. It opens up a bit more floor space, which can make a big difference in a tight kitchen. It also reduces your storage slightly, but often the backs of deep cabinets are hard to reach anyway, so the shallower cabinets can be just right for everyday items.
Reduce your hardware
It’s a no-brainer that eliminating worktop clutter is important for keeping a kitchen looking open and breezy, but you can take this a step further by removing the hardware.
Using cabinet doors with push-click catches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your new kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger. It also gives you fewer items to bump into or get your clothing caught on, so the space will feel easier to move around, too.
Choose a compact dishwasher
Most standard dishwashers come in a 600mm width, but compact dishwashers in a 450mm width are growing in popularity.
Saving that 150mm can give you a bigger cabinet elsewhere. Naturally, a smaller dishwasher also fills up faster, which means you can run a full load more often instead of waiting a day between washes or running the machine while only half full. For smaller households, this can be a perfect option.
Put your fridge on a diet
Speaking of saving space, choosing a slimmer refrigerator can really open up your kitchen as well. Clients usually want the largest fridge they can fit, but these big, 900mm-and-up models often end up full of clutter or simply remain half empty.
If you don’t cook often, or frequently shop for fresh produce, try slimming down your fridge to 740mm or even less if you can find it, and leaving more room available for other essentials.
Mirror your splashback
When you’re tucked into the kitchen working away on dinner, that’s when the space usually feels the smallest.
Using a mirror for the splashback opens up the sightlines, making the room seem much bigger, especially from close up. For a smart, moodier effect, use a tinted glass so the reflection is more subtle.
Switch wall units for shelves
In a small kitchen, removing all the upper cabinets may not be a practical option, but you can always use as much or as little shelving as you like to house just your most attractive everyday items.
A few open shelves on one wall will perfectly hold daily-use tableware, storage jars and cookbooks, and give the room a much more open feel. It can also give a beautiful window a little more space to breathe, so the whole room feels less stuffed.
Install cabinet lighting
The importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough, and in kitchens especially, the lighting is often insufficient, coming just from ceiling fixtures in the centre of the room. Add lighting under, above and even inside the cabinets to make the room feel much brighter and bigger, as the dark shadows around the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.
For a quick fix, add plug-in LED strip fixtures or battery-powered tap lights under the cabinets for extra brightness.
Shorten your splashback
So you’ve carefully configured your storage, and now you have some beautiful open wall space. To make that wall look 3m tall (even if it’s only 2.4m), try using a short, minimal splashback in a colour that blends with the wall.
The lack of an obvious dividing line between where the tiles stop and the plain wall starts keeps the planes of the wall looking taller, so your open space looks positively vast.