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7 Features That Make Your Kitchen Feel Small

Does your kitchen feel small no matter what you do? You keep the countertops spotless and the blinds open, but you just can’t get that “big open kitchen” feeling. Perhaps it’s time to identify what’s making your kitchen seem tighter than it is. Here are some common features that make a kitchen feel small.

Poor Lighting or Insufficient Lighting in Key Areas

A well-lit kitchen naturally feels more open. You may not have much natural lighting to work with, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a tiny kitchen. Find ways to illuminate your kitchen throughout. Recessed lighting along the perimeter and under-cabinet lights above the countertops can bring new light in every corner of the kitchen. If you’re relying on a window and one central light for the room, you’re missing out on a bigger experience.

Cluttered Countertops

Visual clutter makes a space feel small. Even if you only have small appliances on your countertops, they could create the sense that the walls are closing in. Keep countertop clutter to a minimum, and be strategic with where you place these items. Aim to make the counters as open as possible so the eye travels around the room.

Dark Cabinets (Particularly in Small Kitchens)

It’s no secret that dark cabinets make kitchens feel smaller. They work well in large kitchens that need to feel more cozy, but they create a cave-like experience for smaller kitchens. You don’t necessarily need white cabinets to make the kitchen feel bigger, but you may want a lighter paint/stain color.

Busy Backsplash or Cluttered Open Shelving

The way you make a room feel bigger is by guiding a person’s eye throughout the space. If you have a busy backsplash or cluttered open shelves, that stops the line of sight. Instead of looking around the room, visitors focus on each individual element. Design is mostly “mind over matter,” so you have to trick the mind into thinking the room is large.

Cramped Kitchen Layout

The layout of your kitchen affects how it feels. You could take the same square footage with two different layouts, and one is going to feel much larger than the other. If your kitchen only has one place to enter and exit the room, it probably feels cramped. If you have an island in the center that is too large for the space, it’s going to feel small in there. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to kitchen design elements. Make sure your layout and fixtures are proportional to the space you have.

Small Floor Tile

Much like a detailed backsplash, small floor tile keeps the eye from traveling across the room. Using long or large tile can draw the eye further into the space, which creates an open experience.

The way your tile is laid out may also influence the open feeling. Herringbone patterns are beautiful, but they do not carry the eye forward like a staggered subway layout. Use your flooring strategically to make your kitchen feel larger.

Too Much Visual Contrast

As we’ve harped on several times now, you want someone’s eye to work its way around the kitchen. Contrasting elements stop that flow temporarily and may make the kitchen feel smaller. Work with a monochromatic color pallet or something that doesn’t have many jarring elements. If you want a pop of contrast, choose one accent wall to act as a focal point.

O’Hanlon Kitchens specializes in creating open, welcoming kitchen designs. Contact us at 443-285-0558 to set up your design consultation.


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