Make Your Urban Kitchen Feel Enormous

Is is possible to make your urban kitchen feel enormous? Well – you can certainly make it feel as big as possible – and you still might have put plans for that Aga on the back burner (sorry) until you’ve moved out of the capital and into the countryside pile of your dreams. Nonetheless, with clever design and skilful decorative techniques, you can turn your London flat into a bright domestic haven, and have room to cook without balancing the chopping board on the toaster.

Make your urban kitchen feel enormous


Before you start planning, seek advice from someone who’s used to optimising small spaces – the need to live well without much room is growing as fast as the capital’s booming population, so there are clever new space-saving kitchen designs coming to market all the time. Someone whose bespoke kitchens are made in London will probably have more experience fitting awkward spaces than, say, a rural designer whose clients tend to enjoy larger houses and plenty of room to play with.

So stick to your London friends for recommendations – although maybe persuade your Sussex friends to earmark a spare room for whenever you need a countryside escape.

Glass ceilings can be a good thing in an urban kitchen

Not if you’re trying to get a promotion, but they’re can turn a pokey kitchen into a bright space that’s a pleasure to spend time in. This trick will only work if your kitchen has nothing built on top of it – it’s especially good for extensions, so is definitely worth considering if you’re planning an extension specifically for your kitchen. A glass ceiling – or at least a large skylight – will help the room feel as large as it can, and will make optimal use of natural light, too.

Think vertically to make your urban kitchen feel enormous


In many kitchens the wall cupboards don’t reach up to the ceiling, but in a small space you’ll need to work with every bit of vertical space available. Glass-fronted cupboards will help you find what you’re looking for, as well as keeping a bit of depth in the surfaces around you. Shelves look more casual – and hide less clutter – but are great for easy access. You may need to keep a small foldable ladder or stool tucked away in one corner – it’s usually best to keep least-used and seasonal items at the top, with daily-needed kitchenware and heavy pieces at the bottom.

Add shine and texture to your urban kitchen


Glossy units and mirrored surfaces will reflect light and make the space seem larger, but use them on every wall and you may end up feeling like you’re in an operating theatre. Lessen the oppression by introducing another material to add texture amongst the glossiness. Matte cupboard doors on one wall, dark wooden shelves, an exposed brick wall, marble surface or stone floor, brushed metal units; any of these will add interest and depth. Perhaps avoid using them all at once, though, or the space may become too visually crowded, and revert to looking pokey again.

It’s curtains for…um, curtains

Although they keep the warmth in and can add colour, curtains around a window or door steal space from the walls on each side. They also intrude forwards into the room; make the window look smaller, and let in less daylight, even when they’re open – so ditch the curtains in favour of a blind or shutter that fits neatly within the window frame.

 Do you have an urban kitchen? What have you done to make it feel larger and less pokey?

Other posts you’ll like:

Kitchen Storage Tips

Feng Shui Tips

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About Anne

Anne Lyken-Garner, the owner of DIY Projects is the published author of the inspirational memoir, Sunday's Child (available on Amazon). She's also a freelance writer, blogger and editor. She writes for, and manages 4 blogs. See how Anne can help you with editing your site at the Hire an Editor page above.


40 Responses to Make Your Urban Kitchen Feel Enormous

  1. Audi A3 Miami April 15, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Wow. These kitchens look amazing. I always wondered how some people’s kitchen look way bigger than mine, when they actually seem to be about the same size. These are great tips, and i’m definitely going to try some out!

  2. cleaning tools February 22, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    like the point about adding the shine – its very important for a kitchen to be sprakling and shining – it gives such a happy feeling

  3. mortgage brokers February 17, 2013 at 4:47 am #

    looks nice.i think this good kitchen and may be very costly.but it is looking nice.
    mortgage brokers recommends you read..The Children Hospital StoryMy Profile

  4. Merlin January 31, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Hi Anne, liked the post a lot, as usual helps get through a common problem, which is space in this case. We all are aware of the space issues in cities, and yes the interior tips you gave in your article are really helpful and suit today’s needs. Though many will not want to have a shelf in their houses now but when you think of its usefulness, it is unavoidable. Thanks for sharing the post.

  5. Nicol January 23, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    I would really love to get my kitchen walls painted and give it a brighter look because at present my kitchen walls look quite dull.I would also like to work on the lighting to give it a pleasant look.Thanks for sharing some amazing piece of advice.

    • Denis February 9, 2013 at 9:47 am #

      Agree. Very nice kitchens… especially first one. like it

  6. Karlon January 21, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    The pics really look cool and i would love to design my kitchen as the third pics shown above.I must say that the design looks enormous and at the same time it looks quite spacious owing to the bright shade.Thanks for sharing some unique ideas.

  7. Dean January 21, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Very good tips. I have often seen people using the strangest places in the house for storage and then wonder, “Why do I never have space?” Yes you can have more space if you simply get more organised! Have proper storage spaces for bulky items you seldom use or better yet, store those items you only use occasionally at a self storage facility. As the article very cleverly states, use vertical space if your area is small. I know of homes that are so huge but the liveable area has become so small because of huge cupboards, clocks and other unnecessary storage space that can be streamlined some more. Here in Sydney, the houses are not very big so I know what I’m talking about.
    Dean recommends you read..moving-podsMy Profile

    • Anne January 21, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      I know what you mean, Dean. When we moved into this house it looked small compared to how it looks now. All of the room were taken over – literally – by large storage cupboards (built-in). Of course, we need storage, but no one needs THAT much.

      Clever storage is all about making use of the space wisely. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Martin January 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Nice post.I really love the designs shown in these pics and they look pretty cool.I would like to design a bright looking kitchen for my house and at the same time i would like to keep it simple.Lets see how things work.

  9. Pat from Avon January 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Great tips! Do you feel that new fixtures make a difference when giving your kitchen a new look? Or are they too much trouble for a small part of the kitchen’s overall appearance?

    Probably won’t make it look bigger, LOL.

    • Anne January 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      Well, sometimes new fixtures can make a difference and can inject a lift into an old kitchen. However, they can be a headache. New fixtures sometimes don’t go with older models so the attachments, pipings, washers, etc, etc, aren’t always compatible.

      It’s safer to go with things you can control like changing your kitchen cupboard doors, handles, painting in a different colour, changing the floor to a more streamlined, clean-looking one etc. Leave fixtures and fittings for when you’re going to full hog. This way when thing go wrong (if they do) you can contact the manufacturers/fitters for a full refund or repairs. Hope this helps.

  10. Jeo January 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Nice article.I want to turn my Kitchen into a bright place with a great design because at present everything looks so dim and boring.It would not suit my budget to go for a make over but i think i will do things in a small way to make it look descent and attractive.
    Jeo recommends you read..chestermere kitchenMy Profile

  11. Katie January 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Nice designs, Renovating your kitchen will add easiness to your lifestyle and value to your home. More than any other room of the house, the kitchen is the most adaptable.

  12. Jack January 17, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Nice pics.I am planning for a complete kitchen makeover and i have found your post really interesting in this regard.I think i will go for a bright color design with some cool shaded colorful glass ceilings.This will give a great look to it.

  13. Thomas January 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Wonderful designs, for me there has to be proper ventilation, It has to be spacy, well organized & important thing comfort. I like the first one a lot. Thanks a lot for the designs, will surely refer it.

  14. Nicholas January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I want my kitchen to look very bright and to achieve this i would have to change the color of my kitchen and give it some light shade.Also one thing i have noticed is that bright colors make the place look more lively and spacious.Anne what is your opinion regarding this?

    • Anne January 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      Hi Nicholas, bright colours only make the space look lively if the space is very big. If your kitchen is small, bright colours will make it look claustrophobic.

      If you have a small kitchen you should paint it cream or white. If you really want bright colours, choose a plain wall and use a colour on that wall only.

  15. James January 10, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    My kitchen is totally messed up and i want to do some changes because it really looks bad.I just want to clear things around and make it look open.I think the best way to get started is to remove all the unwanted items.Also i want my kitchen to look bright.Can you offer me some tips?

    • Anne January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Hi James. Thanks for stopping by. I run this blog so that I can give away my very best tips. The only ones I have are on this site. Here’s an article showing what we did to our dining room/kitchen. It may help inspire you

      Also, if you type in ‘kitchen’ and/or ‘storage’ in the search panel of this blog you’ll find a LOT of great articles with tips for kitchens. Let me know if you need any more help.

  16. Adam January 10, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I really liked the second one, its spacious & It’s like a bar counter, and I love alcohol station LOL. Very good designs, one of my friend is an architecture, I will surely recommend your blog to him, good post, thanks for sharing.

    • Anne January 10, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      I love counter/breakfast bars too. I can easily adapt my present kitchen to have one, but I feel it will take away some of the light coming in from a large floor-length window we have in the kitchen/diner.

      I suppose we have to decide what we won’t mind losing – for what we’re gaining. Personally, the light is more important to me because we have some pretty dark days here.

      Thanks for the recommendation. I do appreciate it.

  17. Adam January 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    There are so many plans this years, my income is pretty decent, I want to build a product rather then providing service, like that the life would be little easy.

  18. Jack January 9, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    I was planning to design a glass ceiling for my kitchen and make it look like a modern one.I was thinking of the possible designs that i could employ for it but at the same time i have to control my budget.Can give me so advice regarding this?

    • Anne January 9, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Jack, I have no experience with glass ceilings for kitchens. If you live in a one-storey house you could have a glass ceiling in the form of a conservatory, but be prepared to clean it regularly. Glass ceilings need thorough cleaning AT LEAST once a year.

      You also have to put up with visible bird poop etc (depending on where you live). The look and feel of the kitchen will be fantastic, though. It will be bright and airy. I had 2 sky-lights in my last kitchen and it made a real difference to the entire room. It’s impossible to do that with this house because the entire building is 2 storeyed.

  19. Peter January 9, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    Hi Anne,
    I really love the way that you share things and i am in love with all your interior designing posts.This post will surely give me some insight when i decide to renovate my kitchen.I want my kitchen to look very bright and spacious.Lets see how things work.

  20. Jannet January 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    My kitchen is totally messed up and i would like to get things corrected.I am going for a complete kitchen renovation or i would rather say that i am looking for a make over.I would like to optimize my kitchen in a way that i can minimize things to the least.

  21. Steve January 8, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Wonderful designs, really loved it. I liked the 3rd one, it is giving that royal lavish look. I’m planning to renovate my kitchen this year, I’ve already postponed it twice. Your blog will surely help me ot , thanks a lot for sharing.

  22. James January 8, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    I feel very congested with curtains around in the kitchen. Either they keep flying due to the air coming in from the window and disturb the food preparation or get dirty soon because I tend to wipe my hands with them when I do not get the kitchen napkin. I prefer them to be only in the bedrooms.

    • Anne January 8, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Your comment made me smile. I’ve never wiped my hands on kitchen curtains, but I know what you mean 🙂 I’ve never liked them and have never had them in my kitchens. When we bought this house (and our last one) there were curtains in the kitchens but I got rid of them sharpish.

  23. Alex January 7, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    I would love to design a kitchen for me as the one that you have showed in this article but i will surely be short of those bucks.I think i will do things in a small way and this will really help to be in control of my budget.I was considering the idea of fitting a modular kitchen.

    • Margaux Allen March 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      We are on the same page Alex! I truly love the design but I am concern with the cost.

  24. Paul January 5, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Good designs, I really love my kitchen because I’m a big foodie & I want my kitchen always to be well organized & if Kitchen is Wonderful so the outcome (Food) gonna be wonderful also LOL. I will keep these designs for my future reference, Good post, thanks for sharing.

  25. Steve January 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Anne,
    I just love the way that you present your content and i just love to read your blogs.The pics that you have shared look extremely awesome and i wish that my kitchen would look like this.I have to do some kitchen renovation work and i am going begin by work on it soon but in a small way.

    • Anne January 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      I know what you mean, Steve. A lot of work around the house had to be done bit by bit. If you look at our extreme makeover page you’ll see that the work we did was all done in stages. Sometimes we don’t really have to do a total renovation in the kitchen. Changing cupboard doors is one cheap way of making your kitchen look brand new.

  26. Thomas January 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Well a kitchen is that place of the house that needs to be clean and wide enough for you to work there easily. The place should be airy and should provide a lot of mobility. You cannot work properly in a congested kitchen with a dull surrounding and bad smell. You have provided some really good tips in your post. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Nelson January 3, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    My wife gonna be very happy after reading this post, but I will not show this too her, as this may cause a big hole in my pocket LOL, honestly speaking great ideas, will take these tips when I will renovate my house, good post, thanks for sharing.

    • Anne January 3, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks for dropping by, Nelson. Go ahead and show it to your wife. The ideas you get here can be kept for when you can afford the change. Nothing has to be done straight away, but it’s good to keep a collection of things you like so you know exactly what you want when the time comes.

  28. self sagacity January 2, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    those photos are really inspiring. Good job with the content of this post Anne. Happy New Year~
    self sagacity recommends you read..3 Facts About Dahlias Purple and White TipsMy Profile

    • Anne January 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks, Amanda. And the same to you too.

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