What are two ways sellers can quickly make a room look bigger? Paint it white and add some light! And white doesn’t necessarily have to mean white. A light, neutral color will make any space appear larger. Other colors that might work include cream, light grey or lighter-tone pastels. To further enhance the feeling of spaciousness, kitchen cabinets can be painted to match the walls, letting the eye travel across the room without any breaks in color. If white is the color of choice, using several shades of white and pulling in contrasting textures will keep the room warm and cozy.
When it comes to light, natural light always trumps fixtures. If budget and time allow, a tubular skylight can flood a small room with sunlight and brighten up any dark corners in a small kitchen. Other lighting that can have a brightening effect includes under-cabinet lighting for help while cooking and pendant lights for meal-times or reading. While mirrors may not be appropriate in the kitchen, stainless steel appliances can have a similar effect, reflecting artificial and natural light. Another way to open the kitchen is to remove and replace a few cabinet doors with glass. Looking into a cabinet adds depth to the room, as long as the cabinets are uncluttered and organized around a single color (for example, white pottery).
Clutter should be avoided not only in cabinets but in the rest of the kitchen as well. Counters and tables crowded with appliances, cookware and collectibles can overpower a small space, as well as make it difficult to maneuver or even get anything accomplished. To make the room appear larger, open plains of empty space work well, and that can be achieved by caching unnecessary items.
To compliment the light floor and walls, and the empty countertops, small-scale and lightweight kitchen furniture is the rule. Slim, open table and chair legs do not block the view of the floor and walls, again making the room appear bigger as the eye is free to travel further. A bistro set or a small table under a kitchen window makes for pleasing dining.
Similarly, appliances should be purchased in scale to the kitchen. Oversized refrigerators and stoves will make a kitchen appear smaller and about ready to burst. Fortunately, appliance makers offer appliances in a variety of sizes, including compact space-saving models that make working with a small space much easier. For example, homeowners can purchase a refrigerator that only measures about 25 inches deep to match counter depth. And instead of taking up precious countertop space, microwaves, radios or televisions can be hung underneath cabinets to save counter space.
Going vertical is another way to emphasize length and height in a kitchen. Vertical storage areas can move items such as pots, pans or cooking utensils from cramped cabinets and onto walls for visual interest and a more organized space. Shelves can also move cooking items or decorative displays up and out of the way.
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), that countertops, appliances, walls and floors should be spotlessly clean. Attention should also be turned to the inside and the outside of drawers and cabinets. Organization and orderly rows of plates, cups, spaces and cans will continue the feeling of sleekness and harmony.
While knickknacks should be kept to a minimum, or perhaps removed altogether, one prop always looks good in the kitchen – a cookbook. An inexpensive holder with the cookbook propped open to a tantalizing picture makes the kitchen appear functional, and waiting for someone to step in and start cooking.