This is a collaborative post.
Some older homes really suffer when it comes to the size of their kitchens. Often, they’re tucked at the back of a property, tacked onto an extension or crammed into a small space next to the living room. This can make them difficult to use and unappealing to spend much time in. The obvious answer is to extend or to take down some walls. But this isn’t always possible. So, if you can’t physically widen the space, what can you do instead? Here are some ways to make a small kitchen feel light and airy.
Add more glazing
As kitchens are usually positioned at the rear of the house, they can suffer from a lack of light. This can make a small kitchen feel dingy and claustrophobic. That’s why it’s so important to maximise your glazing wherever possible. Bringing in more natural light increases the feeling of space, making your kitchen bright and airy.
What ways are there to increase your existing glazing? If your kitchen window is positioned on a rear wall overlooking the garden, you could switch it out for French doors to bring in more light and improve access to the outside. But if you need to keep the wall space for your base units, you could go for a picture window instead. These have minimal frames, giving you a wide and unhindered view. This creates an almost seamless connection to the outdoors.
Alternatively, you could add in extra glazing, such as a lantern or roof light. This works well in kitchens that are housed in small, single-storey extensions. These often have a low or sloping ceiling, adding to the sense of confinement. So, opening this up with glazing is a great option. Roof lanterns and lights also allow the sun to shine right into your kitchen, making it feel instantly brighter. Installing Velux windows is probably the most straightforward and cost-effective option. As these windows are openable, you can increase the ventilation in your kitchen too.
Widen the doorway
Although you might not be able to take a wall down to open out your kitchen, there are smaller structural changes you might be able to do.
Widening your doorway is one such trick. This helps to open out your space and improve the flow between rooms without needing to go fully open plan. If you want to keep some separation – so you can shut out kitchen smells or hide any mess when you’ve got friends around for a meal – you might find pocket and sliding doors a space-saving option to keep your layout flexible.
Even though you’re only making a minor structural change, you may need to increase the support over your doorway. So, it’s worth getting a skilled builder to undertake this type of improvement for you.
Take out bulky units
If your kitchen is feeling very cramped, then you’ll really want to make more space. But when you can’t extend the room, your only viable option is to take things out. And this can be a good move for several reasons.
When you have a lot of base and wall units crammed into your kitchen, it can feel claustrophobic. Units placed high on your walls aren’t always practical and they to tend to block out natural light. So, removing some or all of them can make an enormous difference to how spacious and airy your kitchen feels.
You may need to have a bit of a reorganisation and clear out any items you don’t use, so that your storage space is sufficient. But if you still need extra storage, you could replace the top cupboards with open shelves. These are less bulky and still allow natural light to flow in.
Be clever with colour and materials
One last tip that you’ll find handy for small kitchens is to change your colour scheme and bring in some shiny elements.
Lighter colours with a bit of a sheen will brighten your space and help light to bounce around. If you’re keeping your wall units, you could paint them in a lighter shade than your base units to give the illusion of a wider space.
Choosing pastel shades such as a cool blue, sage green or lemon yellow will help your room to feel nice and bright. To stop it feeling cold, add in some warm metallics such as copper, brass and rose gold. You could use these on your cupboard handles, small appliances and other accessories. In addition, you may want to choose glazed tiles and mirrored splashbacks to make sure that natural light reaches all around your worktops.