Tips for visually ‘altering’ kitchen space

My home has a tiny kitchen, in all my years of homes this is probably the smallest kitchen I have ever worked in (except for those first few college apartments!)

I am looking at ideas on how to make it bigger should I decide to bite the bullet and pull cabinets out. How to I change the visual of this space when I can’t change the actual footprint?

Currently my cabinets end about 10” from the ceiling, it is a silly space which does nothing except collect dust. It is too small to display my love for oversized accessories unless I want them all to lie on their sides so the new cabinets will go to the ceiling. Whether you put actual storage, wine racking or just a faux cabinet panel with a glass insert and lighting behind it, taking the cabinets up and to the ceiling is an effective visual to making a kitchen look taller and soaring.

Flow is the answer, smooth faces, low colour contrast. Currently I have white cabinets, teal and copper countertops and a lovely copper glass backsplash – I really love the combination of colours! The trouble is; 1. I didn’t put these items in this house and I want my own touch here. 2. The high colour contrast draws a large, dark band around the mid-section of my kitchen making it look squat.

The answer for this is to stretch the cabinets vertically and do the same with the tile – open the space visually and draw the eye up and around at the same time. Long plank looking tiles are the rage right now and they look amazing installed vertically in a staggered brick lay pattern. Use discretion when picking colours to visually blend countertop to splash to cabinet base and remember that shiny surfaces will help bounce light around a room making it appear larger. Imagine you buy a stunning black dress with a svelte silhouette and then throw on a wide bright white belt – the attention is now all on the belt instead of the dress!

I saw a few ideas on Houzz this week as I was researching wee kitchen design, one was sleek flat faced white cabinets with elongated cabinet handles which draws the eye up and down.

The other added a smaller cabinet in a shock colour (like red) at the top of the cabinets which instantly snaps your head back as you see this visual surprise. I thought both ideas were kind of great. Another great tip if you have the space or are building is to eliminate the traditional window over the sink and opt for skylights. This way, you are able to add more wall cabinetry and much needed storage. The days of us gazing outside while washing dishes or putting a pie on the ledge to cool are all but behind us, might as well go for the extra storage.

By opting for low colour contrast, reflective surfaces and long vertical lines you will be able to create an illusion of space in your kitchen. Whether you are ordering new cabinets or putting a fresh coat on the existing ones you will see a big difference in the visual increase in square footage for the heart of your homes.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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