What color makes a kitchen look bigger? A definitive answer to the enduring question

Looking to accentuate a compact kitchen? Experts agree this tone will make your space feel 'five times bigger' than reality

white kitchen with white countertops, pearlescent backsplash tiles, brass faucet, white pendants, beige woven bar stools
(Image credit: Sho and Co/Ryan Shapiro)

What color makes a kitchen look bigger? It is a question that many designers often ponder, and one that we now have a definitive answer for.

While kitchen color ideas usually tend to divide those in the know (whether that's in regard to color trends or our well-being), designers unusually agree on this superior tone. But what is the color in question?

According to experts, white is the best color for a small kitchen, thanks to its reflective, luminous qualities that instantly emphasize a small space. Here's how designers style the tone to make the most of its power.  

What color makes a kitchen look bigger?

'Shades of white and neutral tones like beige and cream, when used on walls as paint colors or wallpapers, countertops, and cabinetry, create a sense of space,' says Chenise Bhimull, an interior designer at ZFC Real Estate

white kitchen with everhot range cooker

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

According to the designer, white (and similar hues) reflect light (consequently making the space feel bigger) while providing a seamless finish to your room.

To elevate your small kitchen further, Chenise recommends 'adding texture and character through natural and neutral stones like marble,' which are especially powerful when used on countertops. And Massimo Buster Minale, the founder of  Buster + Punch, agrees. He suggests combining light, white tones with a gray stone to allow your kitchen to breathe. 

'The interplay between the stone units and natural light sources maximizes and enhances the brightness of your room, making it feel larger and airier,' he says. Meanwhile, for kitchens that run parallel to a garden (or other outdoor space), Massimo recommends pairing the tone with a green finish. 

White kitchen with wood cabinets and marble backsplash

(Image credit: Sola)

'The soft green of the kitchen units fuses with the outdoor space to create the illusion of one larger, coherent block,' he says. 'It helps to connect the interiors to the natural outdoor tones to make your kitchen feel larger and more vibrant, adding the serenity of nature into your home.'

And these designers are not alone in their observations. Kelly Taylor from Kelly Taylor Interior Design similarly celebrates the power of white kitchen ideas – a color that she frequently uses in her designs. However, she adds that incorporating black or charcoal accents will make the space feel 'five times bigger than it actually is.'

The reflectivity of the high gloss white cabinets, coupled with the textured, reflective silver tiles – and a little pop of honed black granite for contrast makes [the] kitchen look five times bigger than it actually is,' she says. 'Pair that with light floors, and the space feels expansive.'

White kitchen

(Image credit: Havwoods/Tom Griffiths)

Whether you're looking for small kitchen paint ideas or you are looking to inject this tone through your countertop or kitchen island – designers are in agreement. White is the color you need in your small scheme. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.