5 things interior designers say you should remove from your kitchen to make it feel bigger

Taking items away is often the key to making your home feel more spacious

Open-plan kitchen-diner with blue units and peninsula island with bar stools
(Image credit: Future PLC / Kasia Fiszer)

Something we all want to achieve with our homes is a feeling of space - because the idea of being cramped and confined within our own four walls is never ideal.

Of course, one of the best ways to do this is to ensure that the items in our homes aren't overly imposing, especially in smaller properties. Similarly, subtle design decisions can also lead to our rooms feeling constricted, and not as spacious as we'd like.

The kitchen is one room in our home where plentiful space is required – so which items should we be taking away from this room, in order make it feel bigger? This is what expert kitchen designers had to say.

Five items to remove from your kitchen

1. Oversized dining tables

Though it may feel like a clever trick, oversized items don’t always make rooms feel bigger. In fact, Jen Nash, Senior Design Lead at Magnet, said that the opposite can often happen in a kitchen. 'Squeezing in a large dining table with chairs will only overwhelm the space and make its flow impractical.” In smaller spaces, she suggests installing folding dinner tables, or even a long, sturdy wooden shelf across the wall for use as a breakfast bar.

'If you can squeeze in a table, it’s always best to opt for a rounded design, as the softer edges are less intrusive on the small space,' she explained.

Kitchen dining area under sloped ceiling with rooflights

(Image credit: Future PLC / Adelina Lliev)

2. Small flooring tiles

It's not just oversized items can that make a room feel smaller – certain design choices can also give the illusion of less space, even if your room is objectively a good size. Jen explains that in kitchens for example, small kitchen floor tile ideas may make a room feel smaller than it really is.

'Often, people think small floor tiles in a compact kitchen are the best option, as they are in proportion to the room. But in a small kitchen, the larger the floor tiles and the finer the grout lines, the more seamless and expansive a room will actually look and feel.'

Jen explained, 'Triangle grout lines, for example, will lead your eye along a galley kitchen and enhance the perspective and stretch of the room. Or, if you’d prefer to expand the width of the room, opt for hexagonal grout lines – these will deceive the eye into thinking the space is wider.'

3. Standalone appliances

kitchen with white wall tiles, a wooden countertop and wooden shelf, dark grey cabinets and a silver kettle

(Image credit: Future PLC/JAMES FRENCH)

If you’re able to decide or change where your appliances (both large and small) go in your kitchen, Jen recommends hiding them away in order to make your kitchen feel double the size.

'Standalone appliances such as fridges, freezers and wine coolers are extremely bulky and occupy a lot of space, even in the largest of properties.

'Investing in integrated appliances therefore, is a great way to free up floor space and create a more streamlined finish,' she says.

Elizabeth Sherwin, Creative Director at NAKED Kitchens, agrees that too many appliances on your worktops will result in the room feeling smaller than it really is. 'Reducing the number of items on show reveals the negative space, and this ‘breathing room’ allows the eye to focus, and therefore better appreciate the forms and finishes within the kitchen.'

4. Kitchen islands

This may surprise you – but if you're trying to squeeze in a kitchen island as a way of creating the illusion of a grander room, you may need to think again.

Ben Burbidge, MD at Kitchen Makers explained, 'Kitchen islands have become a highly sought-after addition for all styles of kitchen. And they can be fantastically versatile and eye-catching, however, they don’t suit every space. 

'Many kitchens would benefit from better flow with alternative layouts which offer similar characteristics. A peninsula, for example, can provide a better configuration in terms of making the space feel bigger in kitchens with a smaller footprint.'

Kitchen with oversized islands with floating extractor fan and stools beneath skylights

(Image credit: Future PLC)

5. Grand fixtures

Unless your kitchen is seriously sizeable, Ben also advises that oversized items, such as lighting fixtures and artwork, can also do the opposite of the desired effect, making it feel smaller, rather than bigger. Oversized items can cause a room to feel more closed in, by drawing the eye to a certain area. 

'If you are set on including grand items like chandeliers or upholstered barstools, ensure the size suits the actual space, and is not too imposing,' he says.

Does your kitchen now need a bit of a clear-out?


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine