What is the best color for a small kitchen? The shade with size-enhancing power

The secret to an accentuated small kitchen begins with the right color scheme – this hue is approved by those in the know

white kitchen with navy victorian style tile backsplash
(Image credit: Craven Dunnill Jackfield)

What is the best color for a small kitchen? It is unsurprising that this question is so widely discussed in the industry when you consider the unrivaled power of your chosen hues. 

Whether you're working with a particularly compact urban space or you want to accentuate an (already) moderately-sized room – your kitchen color ideas have a significant influence on how big your space feels. But which hue is the most powerful? 

White – and similar neutral tones – is at the peak of experts' approval list – most prominently because of its reflective qualities. However, there is even more to this shade than its luminous qualities. Here's how it can benefit your small kitchen ideas – whether you decide to color drench – or create a bold, contrasting space. 

What is the best color for a small kitchen? 

'There's something about a white kitchen that just feels right. Maybe it's the clean, fresh look that white cabinets and countertops provide. Or maybe it's the way that white can make a small kitchen seem larger and brighter. Whatever the reason, white is always a good choice for small kitchens,' says kitchen designer Evan Nelson from Nelson Cabinetry.

white kitchen with wooden floor with rug in front of navy range cooker

(Image credit: MBC Interior Design / photo Lauren Pressey)

When it comes to white kitchen ideas, there is a trove of tones that continue to dominate color trends (from eggshell white to timeless ivory).

However, as Evan suggests, the size-enhancing qualities remain impactful, whichever hue you choose. 'You can go with a crisp, bright white or a softer, more muted tone. No matter what you choose, you're sure to end up with a small kitchen that looks its best,' he says. 

For maximum impact, though, the expert recommends looking for a pearly white that will 'help to reflect light and make a room feel larger. Similarly, a snow-colored white offers a modern, minimalist finish that will 'make a small space feel brighter and more open.'

white kitchen with beautiful architecture and cabinetry and rug on floor

(Image credit: 5_Lisa Sherry/Photo Stacey Van Berkel)

If you want to elevate your space using small kitchen paint colors (whether that is on your cabinetry or walls), interior designer Stacy Lewis from Eternity Modern also emphasizes its capability. 'Neutrals and muted colors can also make a small kitchen look bigger because they're better at reflecting light and illuminating narrow spaces,' she says. 'They can also highlight aesthetic ferrets in a small kitchen.'

However, the designer adds that you don't always need to go all-white to enjoy the feeling of a larger space. She adds that a monochromatic color palette in your kitchen will help to reduce visual clutter and make your small kitchen appear bigger by making a contrast. 

'High-contrast color combinations are great for open kitchens because it helps differentiate the varying elements in your kitchen,' she explains. The monochromatic contrast will also help the white stand out and consequently strengthen its power further. 

Minimalist kitchen ideas with white cabinets

(Image credit: Future)

Whether you opt for a crisp neutral scheme or you try decorating with black and white for a highly contrastable look – the question of knowing what color makes a kitchen looks bigger no longer needs to feel like a mystery. 

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.