How to Make Your Kitchen Look & Feel Bigger

If you’re a cooking aficionado, there’s nothing more dispiriting than a cramped kitchen. After all, recreating your grandmother’s hand-pulled noodle recipe requires considerable elbowroom – more than your condo’s galley can offer.But what if you can’t knock down a wall to add space? Consider hiring a general contractor to tackle one (or two) of these kitchen remodel ideas. Even though they won’t provide more square footage, they’ll provide the illusion of it.

1. STICK TO BRIGHT COLORS

Moody blues and grays have their place, and it isn’t in a small kitchen. Since these dark colors can make an already tight space feel even tighter, opt instead for a fresh coat of bright paint.

Antique whites and warm taupes are always a safe bet. But for a more playful vibe, choose a peachy nude or light blue.

2. GET GLOSSY

When selecting your paint, remember that high-gloss paints work wonders in small spaces. That’s because the sheen reflects natural and artificial light, making the kitchen seem bigger than it is.

3. DITCH YOUR CABINETS

Many homeowners have a deep emotional connection with their kitchen cabinets. How else would they conceal clutter? But when you break up with your upper cabinets and hire a general contractor to replace them with open shelving, your kitchen goes from itsty to palatial.

Open shelving helps a room feel brighter and more open. It also provides an opportunity for homeowners to add personal touches in a room that may be too small for paintings and other decorations.

4. REPAINT YOUR CABINETS

If you can’t bring yourself to bid adieu to your cabinets, consider a quick paint job. Dark wood stains like walnut and ebony absorb light, making the room dark.

The solution? Opt for a stark white or a very muted gray. You may even consider a two-tone look, painting your lower cabinets a slightly bolder color like emerald and your upper cabinets a soft sage.

5. SWAP OUT THE HARDWARE

While a professional is giving your cabinets a facelift, consider having them swap out the hardware. Since overly ornate cabinet pulls detract from your clean and minimal look, replace them with stainless steel knobs. The simpler, the better.

6. NIX YOUR CLUTTER

Disclaimer: This is more a cleaning project than a remodeling endeavor. However, cluttered countertops create a sense of chaos and busyness. (Think: the exact opposite of what you’re going for).

Dedicate a Saturday to paring down your kitchen gadgets and trinkets. Create three piles – keep, trash, and donate – and get busy. Throw away spaghetti-stained Tupperware and boxes of stale cookies, gift things you haven’t used in ages, and keep only what is useful.

7. STORE KEEPSAKES

If you just can’t part with your grandmother’s china or a super fancy pressure cooker, consider stowing these items in the attic or garage. Less stuff equals more elbowroom.

8. POP THE POPCORN CEILING

Do you have a textured ceiling? If so, it’s cramping your style by making the walls of your kitchen seem shorter than they are.

Though removing a popcorn ceiling is very time-consuming, it’s relatively low-cost. A general contractor will cover all furniture with plastic, then lightly spray the ceiling with a garden pump sprayer filled with water. (This will cut down on dust). After 15 minutes or so, they’ll get to scraping with a six- to 10-inch drywall knife.

9. REPAINT THE CEILING

While a crew is clambering up ladders, consider having them give your ceiling a fresh paint job. A stark white is a safe choice. However, painting the ceiling the same color as the walls can offer a sense of seamlessness that makes the ceiling look higher.

10. BRIGHTEN UP YOUR WINDOW TREATMENTS

Dark and heavy curtains are great for the bedroom but not so great for an itsy kitchen. Drowning out natural light is a sure way to make your galley-style kitchen look and feel smaller than it is.

What should you do instead? Either ditch the window treatments entirely or get shades that offer privacy while still allowing light to pilfer in. Plantation shutters are a smart choice.

11. ADD A MIRROR (OR TWO)

Mirrors are magicians – they can trick the eye into believing the kitchen in your boxy bungalow is bigger than it is. That being said, don’t shy away from incorporating a mirror (or two) into your kitchen design.

You might also consider adding a mirrored backsplash. Though this is a gutsier move, a mirrored backsplash does wonders by reflecting the natural and artificial light in your kitchen.

12. CHANGE THE FLOORING

Though vintage black-and-white kitchen tiles add a retro flair, they tend to be visually distracting in a small space. For a calmer and cleaner look in a corridor kitchen, consider hiring a general contractor to install a light gray herringbone tile. If you have a boxier space, consider large, 12×12 kitchen tiles.

13. SHRINK THE SINK

Farmhouse sinks are all the rage right now. After all, these palatial tubs make washing dishes (and your baby) a cinch. But huge sinks can take up a big slice of your small kitchen.

Instead, consider purchasing a simple, one-compartment sink. Many hardware stores even sell sinks with custom cutting boards that slide over the compartment when it’s not being used. This provides you with even more counter space for chopping veggies and fileting fish.

14. SLIM DOWN YOUR FRIDGE

The typical fridge takes up about 20 square feet. Though that might not seem like much, the average galley-style kitchen is a mere 70 square feet. If you do the math, that means your fridge is eating up 30% of your kitchen.

The solution isn’t to dig a root cellar or exclusively store provisions in a cooler. No, the solution is to swap out your gargantuan fridge for a slimmed-down model. Nowadays, most big-box hardware stores sell efficiency fridges that are perfect for tiny spaces.

15. UPGRADE THE LIGHTS

Do you feel anxious and overwhelmed in your cramped kitchen? It might be your lights. Research suggests that fluorescent lights can increase your heart rate and induce panic attacks.

To turn your frenetic cooking area into a palatial retreat, consider purchasing lighting fixtures that offer a softer and more balanced spectrum of light. Depending on your budget, you may even have your general contractor install smart light bulbs, which can be dimmed and adjusted using your phone.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO UPGRADE YOUR KITCHEN

If your small kitchen is in need of some TLC, call Portico. As a licensed, insured, and bonded general contractor in Charlotte, Portico can create a space that’s perfect for cooking up elaborate dinners. What’s even better? We offer free project estimates and transparent pricing. 

Reach out online or call our Charlotte kitchen remodelers at 704-742-2720 today to learn more!