Features

Compact Kitchen Design

Creating the Illusion of a Larger Space
By Chelsie Butler
July 08, 2013

A long table, as seen in the background of this photo, can be used for food preparation in place of a countertop. 

Even with a small space, there are tactics to make it seem larger than it is, and the designers from the Swedish firm Bemz have put together an array of great ideas for stretching space in a compact kitchen. 

According to Sara Herring, marketing project manager at Bemz, opting for a cohesive palette of light, bright shades and materials dotted with bold accents of color creates a seamless, expansive look and an illusion of greater space. 

“A good idea is to keep the overall color scheme toward the milder spectrum with accents of color,” she added. “A softer color scheme is easier on the eye and can trick the brain into thinking is a calm space – it eludes to the idea of something more spacious. Competing colors can make a space feel cramped, but using all of the same color creates a bland look, and you don’t get the ‘aha’ moment.”

In small spaces, Herring also suggests using a long, narrow table that can double as a food preparation surface and a dining table.

“If you are lacking enough counter space, you can go this route instead,” she said. “The essence is that you can use your furniture and space for multiple purposes.”

A bench can be a great space saver in place of chairs and can be pushed up against the wall when not in use. Some benches have storage space in the seating area. Herring also suggests using wall-mounted benches that do not take up any space below and drop-leaf benches that can be folded up. 

                             

A wall-mounted bench takes up less space than multiple chairs and provides storage space below. 

“You can do the same thing with a table,” she added, “that can be its own unit or mounted on a wall.”

If a bench is not an option, Herring also suggests grouping stools or chairs without arms around the table because this makes is easier to get in and out of a tight space.

                             

Stools and/or chairs with no arms make it easier to get in and out of a tight space. 

Natural light in a space also helps make it feel larger. As far as artificial light, Herring says to mix different types and avoid having just one big light hanging from the ceiling in a kitchen. Spotlights under cabinets provide light to the countertops and eliminate dark corners. Accent lighting can be used to illuminate darker niches. 

                               

Ample natural light makes a cramped space feel larger. 

Creating a focal point in a kitchen can also aid in making the space seem larger. 

“Drawing attention to a certain item can draw the eye away from smaller spaces or areas on which you do not want people to focus,” said Herring. “This helps create the overall calm impression.”

She also suggests using the wall space where there are no cabinets for shelving to house pots and pans and using the space above the stove for storage if you live in a studio space.

                               

With a lack of cabinetry, shelving can be used in its place for storage.

As far as a cramped bathroom, narrow cabinets are an option, as well as again using walls for storage space. 

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