5 Insider Tricks for Making a Small Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger

Intentional Living

When working with small a space, it can be easy to fall victim to the limiting beliefs that come with less-than-ideal square footage, especially when it comes to the kitchen—the hub and the heart of our homes! But today’s kitchen, designed by Gina Baran, is proof that a small footprint doesn’t mean sacrificing big impact. […]

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When working with small a space, it can be easy to fall victim to the limiting beliefs that come with less-than-ideal square footage, especially when it comes to the kitchen—the hub and the heart of our homes! But today’s kitchen, designed by Gina Baran, is proof that a small footprint doesn’t mean sacrificing big impact. Hello, dreamy counter-to-ceiling tile! So, how exactly did she pull it off? Gina is walking us through five of her insider design tips on how to make your kitchen look and feel bigger. Take a peek below!

Interior Design: Gina Baran | Photography: Freebird Photography | Contractor: Molla Builders | Decor: Abode Shoppe

1. Draw the Eye Up

When your kitchen square footage is small the first thing you want to do is to draw the eye up! The best way to do this is to trick the eye and making the ceilings feel taller than they are. You can do this by adding bold tile (in pattern or shape) to a wall. In a small kitchen i’d recommend keeping it to one wall. If you add more than one wall it will feel busy and have the opposite effect you are trying to achieve. I’d also suggest the wall not be the wall facing you so that wall isn’t pulled closer. I prefer to make the accent wall either a side wall or an open wall that allows it to shine and take center stage. When working with a bold tile please keep in mind the tile should have a main base color as the kitchen and the surrounding backsplash should take a back seat and remain very simple. Subway is always a classic and pairs with everything.

2. Draw the Eye Out

Not only do you want to draw your eye up but also out! You can do this by removing cabinets from walls if storage allows. Open shelving helps keep the kitchen space feeling open where cabinet doors can really close a space in. If you must have cabinets on all walls due to storage issues then keep the doors simple with glass inserts vs. solid frame doors. Be aware, what you store in those glass cabinets will be seen so if you can’t commit to keeping them {somewhat} organized then solid doors are the way to do but please make sure they are similar in color to your walls.

3. Opt for Lighting that Doesn’t Steal the Show

Lighting can play a HUGE factor in your small space. The brighter the better but when it comes to pendant lights don’t go bold! Keep you pendant lights simple. Glass is a great option because your eye travels through them but if you must go opaque, keep the silhouette simple and the color on point with your existing elements in the space. We try to blend our lights with our cabinet color so that your eye doesn’t stop at the light. If your eye travels past any elements that hang from the ceiling the space will feel much larger.

4. Bring in the Metallics to Shine!

My go cabinet hardware is polished nickel or brushed brass in small kitchens. These two finish metallics will add that bit of edge and luxe to the space that will provide enough contrast to the monochromatic scheme but not overwhelm! Warm tones are great in white spaces where the coolness of polished nickel really pop against darker tones and natural wood.

5. Keep the floor footprint simple.

There is nothing worse than having a small kitchen area transition to a different floor than the adjoining room, especially if it these two spaces are open to each other and they go from wood to tile. If you can keep the floor material the same that will make your space feel larger. You may think that you want to add a bold floor tile but that will only defeat the purpose and give you opposite results of what you are trying to achieve. Remember you want to trick the eye so instead of looking down, you want to look ahead, use the money and invest in making the floor match the adjoining so that you’re not chopping up the spaces.


Interior Design: Gina Baran | Photography: Freebird Photography | Contractor: Molla Builders | Decor: Abode Shoppe

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