NYC is notorious for some of the smallest apartments in the country, and a small apartment generally means a small kitchen. Many people may feel stuck or frustrated when dealing with small kitchens; feeling as though that they have limited options, or their vision can’t come to fruition because of the limited space. However, there are a lot of simple tricks that you can utilize to make your kitchen feel much larger than its physical footprint. Our designers share their favorite tips for making your small space feel like a chef’s paradise!
Probably one of the easiest ways to make your small kitchen feel larger is to focus on the color pallet in the space. Calming neutral tones will create a sophisticated base to build upon, and you can easily incorporate two or three earthy neutrals to softly brighten a space. Neutrals also provide a great deal of flexibility and adaptability. You can incorporate metallics, accent colors, or even textures to change up the overall feel of the space!
Along with neutrals, white is the top trending color to make small kitchens feel larger and brighter. White reflects light, and when you utilize it on the cabinets, ceilings, walls, and countertops, it creates a seamless space that tricks the eye into believing it has no boundaries or edges. Playing with light and shadow in a white monochrome kitchen with molding, accent lighting, and other details is a unique way to add interest.
Next to light colors, patters are the next best way to make a small space feel larger. One of the top trending patterns at the moment are geographic prints. If you scroll through social media geometric patterned backsplashes, wallpaper, and tiling dominate the feed, and for good reason! Geometric patterns have the ability to draw the eye up, creating the illusion of a taller, longer kitchen. Hexagonal patterns in particular are super trendy and popular right now, and whether they are in classic white or in a funky color, keeping a high-gloss finish will help reflect the light and make the space feel larger! Another great pattern trick is to utilize classic subway tiles, or a modern variation of the like, to run horizontally across the room. Lining up the tiles like this will make a small space feel wider.
Open Shelving or Glass Front Cabinets
Open shelves are a cool visual trick to fake square footage in a small kitchen. Rather than having large, heavy blocks of cabinetry, opening up the space with open shelving or even glass front cabinetry can create an overall more spacious look in tight quarters. However, open shelving isn’t ideal for homeowners who have cabinets bursting with items. They reduce the amount of storage a bit and should be kept neat and clean, otherwise the open, airy nature of them is negated. Open shelves are perfect for highlighting unique or sentimental pieces, or items that are used frequently like drinking glasses. If open shelves might be a step too far, opt for glass front cabinetry. This is also a great way to highlight your beautiful glassware, but allows for some protection from outside elements. You can also install accent lighting in the cabinets to really make your prized items shine! Not only will glass front cabinets create a fun focal point, but because it draws your eye into the depths of the cabinets, it will actually make the walls feel further away- once again giving the illusion of more space.
Use Lighting Strategically
Utilizing lighting to help your small kitchen feel larger is a great hack that we always recommend. While natural light is always preferable, it’s not always an option in NYC apartments, so creating a smart and strategic lighting scheme is imperative. Combining the three main types of kitchen lighting (task, ambient, and accent) in smart ways that will highlight architecture and other features of your kitchen, will help draw the eye and make the space feel light and airy. Task lighting, light under cabinet lights, will create a beautiful soft glow on your countertops, while ambient lighting will help light the rest of the space with diffused shadows. For instance, spotlights are the sleekest and easiest way to bring bright light into your small kitchen. However it’s important to consider the placement and quantity of lights in your small kitchen. Try to avoid placing lights where they could cast harsh shadows, which can make a space feel dark, cramped, and not well laid out- our incredible designers can help you create a lighting scheme that avoids these issues and make your small space shine!
Finally, creating reflective surfaces will absolutely help to make your small kitchen feel larger. Whether this is hanging mirrors around the space, or incorporating a reflective backsplash, the more you can reflect light back into the room, the brighter and larger it will feel. If you opt for a mirrored backsplash, materials like copper or antiqued gold, and other pale-colored materials are a great choice to keep things soft and modern. Using one continuous piece of material rather than tiles will also create a continuity and be overall more effective and seamless. If mirrors aren’t your style, stainless steel, high gloss paint, and glass tiles are other great ways to incorporate reflective surfaces.