Top 5 Hacks for Small Kitchen Design 


Article by Donna Hoffman

Photography by Peter Rymwid Architectural Photography

I’ve got good news for you: Every kitchen “type” has a design challenge. Feel better? It’s true! 

Large kitchens can quickly get cavernous, cold and inefficient. Small kitchens can feel like an endless struggle for space and breathing room. Either way, the answer is always found in wise design strategy. 

Here are my top 5 hacks for small kitchen design – please steal them! 

1.  Lighten cabinetry color, but add warmth with counters 

The brilliance of the white kitchen is that white is a receding color. It appears to move away from the eye thus making spaces look bigger. Wrap at least your perimeter in white or creamy cabinetry and you’ll visually enlarge your space. 

If you’re worried about the kitchen getting too cold looking, you can go dark on your counters for a rich look, or if you have an island you can do dark island cabinetry topped by a light counter there only. 

If you maintain a greater balance of lighter color in the kitchen in total, you’ll be utilizing this never-fail space-making hack. 

2.  Add glass cabinetry  

It at all possible, add 2-4 glass cabinets. Doing so will massively increase the sense of “space” and “window”. To do this well however, you must be sure they are beautifully styled. 

If glass cabinetry is not your thing and you’re a neatnik, swap out some upper cabinets for open shelving. The lack of bulk above the counter creates a sense of expanded space and if it’s right for your style, you can continue your back splash all the way to the ceiling which ALSO increases the sense of spaciousness. 

3.  Enlarge the windows with this trick

Avoid inside mounted window treatments or treatments mounted on the casement frame. Instead opt for something mounted as high above the window as possible. This allows you to stay off the glass even more while also creating the illusion of a taller window. Win, win. 

4.   Add reflectivity + shine: 

Think high polish instead of matt for island lighting, or cabinet hardware. Consider glass pulls for drawers only. Don’t discount an accessory or two in a glass or mirror. Shine returns and enhances light which in turn helps spaces feel more fresh and open.  

5.   Edit like a merciless maniac

Yes, coffee mug collector, this means you. How many best Aunt mugs does a woman need? How many colanders? How many spatulas?  

The idea here is to reduce your storage needs so that you can get more OFF your countertops and INTO your cabinetry. This allows for more clear expanses of counter tops, which in turn reduces visual clutter and makes kitchens feel lighter, brighter and bigger. 

P.S. getting rid of the fridge magnets and family photos stuck on it willy-nilly is a must. Want family photos nearby? Try to digital frame to hold about 100 images that will rotate through a slide show. 

To all things design, there is a solution. Try any one of these hacks and you’ll fool the eye and create a feeling of more space! 


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