Whether in a city loft or a three-bedroom bungalow, many homeowners find themselves short on kitchen space. Even if it’s not possible to create the wide-open kitchen of your dreams within your home’s current footprint, cooking in a small area doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a few savvy design choices, you can maximize a compact kitchen and make it fit your needs. These 9 smart strategies will help you live larger in a small space.

#1: Streamline Appliances

Eliminate clutter by choosing sleek and compact appliances. A glass cooktop makes a great extension of your prep area, and its flat surface blends with the countertops, creating a look that’s visually uncluttered. Similarly, small vent hoods with space on each side can make a kitchen feel more open simply by breaking up a wall of cabinets.

#2: Open the Shelves

While a sky-high bank of cabinets can provide ample storage, it also can overwhelm a small space. Instead, opt for open shelving—floating shelves will provide plenty of room to stack dishes and cups without sacrificing style or space. For a quick revamp of existing cabinets, replace solid doors with glass ones—or remove the doors altogether—to create more depth and trick your brain into thinking walls are further away. (Caveat: If your dishes are on display, you’ll need to keep everything organized and color-coordinated, since clutter can make a room feel cramped.)

#3: Think White

Too much color can close in a room, but white opens up small spaces by reflecting light. This popular kitchen color also unifies a look because there are no visual boundaries to stop your eye. Try mixing several different shades—from crisp white to vintage ivory—to add texture. For a hint of color, choose a bold backsplash or paint a single horizontal stripe across each wall. You also can introduce a favorite hue through barstools or appliances, which will add just enough color without overwhelming the space.

#4: Be a Lightweight

Lightweight, clean-lined furnishings such as open tables, stainless steel carts or armless chairs make spaces feel larger by allowing you to see past them. Plus, they’re much easier to maneuver in and around. For extra workspace, opt for a small table rather than a traditional island, which can loom large in a compact kitchen. A fabulous piece of furniture turned island also can double as a chic buffet for entertaining.

#5: Pause for Reflection

Open your kitchen instantly by incorporating reflective materials such as a mirrored backsplash, ceramic tile countertops and stainless steel appliances. They work like magic by giving the illusion of more space. Reflective backsplashes work especially well in the tiniest of kitchens since they make the walls appear as if they have no end.

#6: Let the Sun In

Natural light enlarges a room, so minimize window treatments—or forgo them completely—to allow the maximum amount of light into your kitchen. Opaque shades are a great choice because they filter light in while still maintaining privacy. If you’re planning a major overhaul, consider adding bay windows or skylights if your kitchen doesn’t get enough natural light.

#7: See a Pattern

While visual clutter can make a room feel small, certain flooring patterns—such as large checkerboard or horizontal stripes—can actually enlarge a kitchen by creating a longer path for the eye to follow. As with clothing, this makes a room feel wider than it is. With wood floors, mix light and dark tones to create a striped effect, or add a striped rug for a quick fix.

#8: Build It In

Built-in shelves and cabinets provide valuable storage without taking up precious floor space because they’re flush with walls. While recessed storage is easier to plan if you’re doing a total redesign, you can carve out built-in nooks from any extra space. To polish the look, trim built-ins and paint or stain them to match cabinetry so they’ll blend with the rest of the design.

#9: Go Hardware-Free

To further de-clutter a cramped space, opt for European-style minimalist cabinetry with flat-panel drawers and doors. You’ll save inches of desperately needed space normally taken up by traditional cabinets. If those are too sparse for you, look for modern designs with streamlined hardware that’s still less intrusive.

Original Article Posted On: http://www.cultivate.com/articles/9-ways-make-your-kitchen-feel-bigger

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