Make A Small Kitchen Look Larger Using Design, Layout & Colour

Make Your Small Kitchen Look Bigger with Design: Colour, Storage and Paint Finishes

Small Kitchens, or any smaller spaces are often underestimated. Most homeowners are unaware of the many design aspects they can incorporate to make the most out of their small kitchen.

By making the right colour and storage choice, you can easily make your small kitchen seem larger. Throughout this blog we will be covering all aspects from small kitchen design options, colour schemes, current colour trends to what we recommend and types of paint finishes.

Throughout the blog if you have any questions regarding your small kitchen design or your small kitchen renovations, feel free to request a consultation with our team here.

8 Ways to Enhance your Small Kitchen Design with Colour 

Colour is an important aspect of a small kitchen design process. When done right, colour can make your small kitchen feel and look significantly larger. Below we have highlighted different ways you can use colour in your small kitchen design to give them a big effect.

1. Try Coloured Ceilings 

porfido_grey_matt_lifestyle-800x534, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot

The use of bond colours in your small kitchen and your small kitchen design process can be overwhelming. However, if your small kitchen has high ceilings this is a best opportunity to add a bit of colour. Try incorporating colour on the ceilings of your small kitchen and above your cabinets. This is a great way to draw the eye and attention upwards giving your small kitchen a bigger illusion. Not only this but this technique will allow your small kitchen to have a pop of colour without making it look claustrophobic.

2. Match your Walls and Cabinets 

Another way to enhance the space of your small kitchen is matching your walls and cabinets. Matching your cabinet and small kitchen wall may be intimidating at first but it is a very efficient to make small kitchen look and feel larger. How? When you visually blend multiple surfaces with the same colour, this will remove visual focal points, so your eye is not drawn to any specific areas in your small kitchen.

3. Bold Splashback 

Picture-1.jpgh_, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Since you are working with limited smaller space and isolated wall surface on your small kitchen, it may be difficult to add a pop of colour. Adding a bold colour, such as navy or matte black tones to your small kitchen design can make it look choppy. However, do not worry, you can still incorporate different accents within your small kitchen with splashback. Splashback is a perfect place to add any texture or bold colour within your small kitchen.

Here are a few design ideas you can incorporate to maximise your splashback for your small kitchen, during your design process.

4. Ceiling Height Splashback

tiledep1-1024x680, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

Traditionally splashback often end at the height of cabinetries or below the range-hood. However, taking the splashback higher all the way to the ceiling will give a classic and fresh look to your small kitchen. This type of design allows all aspects of your small kitchen to unite and adds a sense of space.

5. Square Tiles

de2-1024x416, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

When you think small square tiles, most homeowners think  bathrooms and laundries. They are often not used in small kitchens and are usually not considered during the design process. However, the use of square tiles on your small kitchen splashback is a perfect way to add colour and character. If you want a bold splashback but feel the geometric tiles are too overwhelming, we encourage you to give square tiles a try.

6. 3D Effect Splashback

de3-1024x557, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ 

Using 3D effect tiles on your small kitchen splashback is a smart way create movement and texture when you are working with limited space. Paired with good lighting fixtures, 3D effect splashback will give your small kitchen the extra wow factor and contemporary feel.

These are just a few small kitchen splashback ideas, if you want to read more or want more inspiration have a look at our recent blog. We interviewed the girls at Tile Depot, where they discuss more about splashback for your small kitchen and bathroom too!

Read more…

Q and A with Tile Depot on Choosing the Right Type of Tiles for your Kitchen

How Much Do Kitchen Splashback Cost in NZ?

7. Incorporate Wood Accents 

j, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Another way to enhance your small kitchen design is to mix up the use of colours and wood accents. Stained wood cabinets and wooden flooring works well with small kitchens. Wood accents give a pop of colour without overwhelming the space of your small kitchen. However, make sure the wood tone you are using contrasts with your overall tone of your small kitchen. Try considering the underlying tones of your wood choice. For example, cherry and walnut wood tones work well with blues, whereas oak, maple, and pine work well with green tones.

Sometimes, incorporating real wood in your small kitchen design can get very expensive. To solve this problem, our designers recommend the use of high-quality MDF wood that give the same wood accents at a budget-friendly cost.

What is MDF?

Below we will quickly cover what MDF is and the pros of using it in your small kitchen.

MDF stands for “Medium-Density Fibreboard” and is often referred as engineered wood. MDF is becoming more and more popular with kitchen manufacturers and cabinet makers. This is because, it comes with multiple positive aspects. These aspects are and not limited to:

  • No warping or cracking
  • Smooth finish
  • Easy to customise to your design needs
  • Cost effective
  • High water resistance
Screen-Shot-2021-08-26-at-2.35.48-PM-1024x682, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

MDF Cabinets, Kitchen Renovation, Blockhouse Bay

Read more…

What are the differences between MDF vs Solid Wood 

Blockhouse Bay Full Kitchen Renovation using MDF cabinets

8.  Don’t be Afraid to go All White

White on white kitchen designs are the most common type of design, especially with small kitchens. Basic white cabinets can make your kitchen feel more open and airier, which is very beneficial. If you are considering using white cabinets and/or white tones, we recommend using high-gloss lacquer finish products. High-gloss lacquer finishes will reflect light and blur the lines of your cabinets and will take away any appearances of overwhelming solid chunks.

If white on white seems to be boring, you can switch out a white wall for a pale grey wall, contrasting subtle contrast.

Example of a All-White Kitchens..

Have a look at a full white kitchen renovations done for our clients at Half Moon Bay here.

3 Quick Tips to Transform your Small Kitchen with Colour and Storage 

Whether it is extra counter space for cooking, or extra floorspace for company, everyone loves to have a little more extra space in their kitchen. However, for small kitchen owners this may just be a dream. Don’t be discouraged, small kitchens have a charm of its own and with a few changes here and there it can make a significant difference to your small kitchen. With the right choices in colour and smart storage solutions, these little tweaks to your small kitchen design can be life changing.

In this section we will be covering 3 easy tips you can incorporate to spice up and make the most out of your small kitchen.

1. Make Space with the Use of Pale Tones 

g, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

The choice of paint colour of your small kitchen can either make or break your small kitchen design. Especially when you are working with limited space, the right colour choice can create illusion of a larger space. To enhance the benefits of colour during your small kitchen design process, we recommend going with pale tones. Pale tones within your small kitchen will make the room feel light and airy. We recommend moving away from darker colours, as it may make your small kitchen feel and look claustrophobic. A great example of a pale tone colour is Pukaki ES2 from Dulux, shown on the image below.

n, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

The choice of pale tones may seem boring, however these soft neutral shades in colour are timeless and will give your small kitchen a luxurious and spacious feel. There is a reason these tones are most popular during the small kitchen design process.

Some neutral tones we recommend are Grey Lynn 131, Lytelton 130, Lyttelton Double E12, Mt Hikurangi E10, Pukaki ES2 and Ohai C209. These colours are from the Dulux Most Loved Interior Colour ranges.

2. Get Smart with Storage 

Smart storage designs go hand in hand with a good colour choice. These two aspects should be taken into consideration during your small kitchen design process. This will ensure you are making the most of the space you are working with and will make your small kitchen look more spacious. Since small kitchens already have such limited space, you want to try keep everyday clutter tucked away behind cupboard doors. Cabinet storage is your best friend with your small kitchen design. Even though open shelving may be convenient, we recommend moving away from these types of small kitchen storages. There are many space-saving solutions for tidy cupboards, such as easy-to-grab organisers or drawer dividers.

Here are some quick storage ideas you can incorporate to get the most out of your small kitchen space.

  • Utilise Utensil Trays.
  • Try Vertical Storage: if you have high ceiling try using little ‘chandeliers’ you can hang your pots and pans.
  • Label your pantry sections.
  • Install better cabinets that fit your everyday life style: have a look at ‘ready to assemble’ cabinet storage options.

These are just a few of many storage ideas that will help keep your small kitchen organised. Read more about smart storage solutions here.

The storage option we usually recommend to our clients regarding their small kitchen design are:

  • DTC Soft Close Draws
  • Magic Corner Shelves
  • Pull out Storage Baskets
DSC06664-1024x682, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Custom built pantry with pull out drawers in a Kitchen renovation in Papatoetoe, Auckland

Read more about the Papatoetoe Kitchen Renovation here.

IMG_0834-1024x683, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Pull Out Rubbish Bin (and storage) Kitchen Renovation, in Massey, Auckland

Read more about the Massey Kitchen Renovation here.

DSC05555-1000, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Magic Corner Storage, Kitchen Renovation in Hillsborough, Auckland

Read more about Hillsborough Kitchen Renovation here.

3. Incorporate Texture to your Small Kitchen Design 

m, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

If you want to get decorative with your small kitchen, you can also add texture and pops of colour. Texture and pops of colour can be added through tile splash backs and through kitchenware. Bright kitchenware and hints of wooden accents can create new focal points. These focal points will ultimately draw focus away from the size of your small kitchen. Little details like this are a good and clever distraction technique, making your small kitchen feel bigger. You can also incorporate potted plants to add breathing life, without making your small kitchen feel too cluttered.

Colour Scheme Recommendations for your Small Kitchen 

White, cream, and neutral tones are incredibly popular. However, if you are wanted to dip your toes into different colour palettes other than neutrals, we have some recommendations.

Frosted Steel

4257_2-550x347, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

Consider grey tones for a timeless and sophisticated look for your small kitchen. Grey tones can be used as a backdrop with kitchens with brighter accents in accessories, such as kettle, toaster, and hand towels.

Caramel Latte

jorge-de-jorge-pHbAY99SRB4-unsplash-819x1024, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

A creamy light brown colour palette will add a touch of warm to your small kitchen. Consider using these tones during your small kitchen design process to create a cosy and inviting environment.

Deep Fossil

Try incorporating a darker grey to add a more dramatic effect to your small kitchen design. Dark grey tones are a modern, striking, and stylish way to hide any imperfections your small kitchen may have. Try pair it with a lighter grey tone, like frosted steel for a two-tone look.

Lemon Pie

Tribeca_60x246_Pollen_Kitchen_comp-500x500, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

If greys and whites are too dull, brighten up your home with a bright citrus yellow. Try pair it with darker colours to create a pop, or pair it with white accents for a fresh summer appeal.

Current Small Kitchen Design Trends 

If you are having trouble finding the perfect colour, or you can’t decide on a shade for your small kitchen design, that’s okay! We have listed current small kitchen design trends loved by interior designers and other clients. Have a look and see if any current colour trends, as well as rising trends interest or fit your ideal small kitchen design.

Note: There are many magazines and online kitchen galleries that have a variety of different small kitchen designs. We recommend doing more research and finding a small kitchen design or small kitchen colour scheme you like and go from there. Have a look at our case studies of past client renovations for more inspiration here.

Sand_Wood_crp-800x371, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

  • White, ivory, yellow, red, green, blue, and grey are all very trendy and popular small kitchen paint colours, for both walls and accents.


  • Calming colours, such as white or ivory. Light and airy colour palettes will instantly brighten up your small kitchen. The use of a neutral colour is a good base canvas to add in pops of colour here and there.

Calx_Aquamarina_100x300-15999999x9999999-1024x640, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

  • Playful colour palettes are also very in demand, especially yellow tones. Using bright paint colours give an energized effect and is very eye-catching. If you are wanting more of a spring/summer vibe in your small kitchen you can incorporate pops of bright colour on the walls as a splashback or inside of cabinets.

optical-shades-media-sangroha-JDvQvdqITzs-unsplash-1024x683, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

  • Red is a very popular colour used in small kitchen design. As red is a very bold colour it may be risky to incorporate it in small kitchens if your main goal is to give the illusion of a larger space. Bold colours like red can significantly overpower the room and make it feel dark and heavy. However, reds with a hint of pink, or a cherry red are a classic favourite to clients and designers. If you are wanting to incorporate red tones in your small kitchen, we recommend incorporating hints of it, as a splashback or as an accent through kitchenware.

Ceramica-Fioranese_Cementine_Rivestimenti-1-800x1067-768x1024, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

  • Crips Blues paired with white can create a beachy vibe and compliments wood accents. Navy blues are becoming more popular with kitchen cabinets or islands. Since small kitchens usually do not come with an island, you can incorporate navy tones on your small kitchen cabinets. Since it is a very striking colour if overdone, especially in a small kitchen can give the kitchen a squished feeling. Blue colour tones pair well with white walls and stainless-steel appliances.

Read more…

Have a look at the blue splashback done for our clients at Papatoetoe here.

York_Slim_Gris_Matt-800x822, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

  • Grey is the new white. Grey can work wonders in a kitchen, especially small kitchens. This colour palette can offer a soft, soothing effect and pairs nicely with navy cabinets. You can also complement it with brighter shades such as, pumpkin orange, lemon yellow and cherry red.

Types of Paint Finishes for your Small Kitchen Design

Like there is a lot of different paint colour options, there are many different types of paint finishes. In this section we have highlighted the different paint finishes you will most commonly see.

Note: some paint finishes will not be suitable for kitchen surfaces and walls. Make sure you talk to professionals or consult with your renovation company to make sure chosen paint finish is suitable for the kitchen environment.

What is ‘Paint Finish’

Paints for interior walls come in different types of finishes and sheens. We refer ‘finishes’ and ‘sheens’ to the level of shininess and/or glossiness that is visible after a coat of paint is dry. Paint finishes are usually categorises into a five-level classification in order to indicate the level of shininess.

The level of the finish are identified by the amount of light the coat reflects. Shiner and paints with a high-gloss finish usually have a high levels of resin and binders. Whereas paint finishes that are more flatter and sheen have a higher level of pigments. If you choose to go with glossier paints for your small kitchen, we recommend painting two or even three costs of paint to get maximum coverage.

We will highlight the five classifications and to give you an idea of which type of paint you would like to incorporate during your small kitchen design.

Metallic_Rock_Silver_600x1200-800x601, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Photo Credit: Tile Depot NZ

Flat & Matte Paint Finish

A flat or matte paint has a smooth, subtle, velvet like finish that hide any imperfections that may occur. However, flat finishes diffuse light and tend hold on to access dirt being harder to maintain than other finishes. We recommend these types of finishes for areas such as the ceilings or walls in low-used rooms. This type of finish may not be the best options for your small kitchen, but could definitely be an option for the kitchen ceiling if you are after a luxurious velvet finish.

Don’t be afraid to consult with your designers during your small kitchen design process. Alternatively you can request a free consultation with one of the designers at Superior Renovations here.

Eggshell Paint Finish

Eggshell paint finishes is what you would think when hearing the name. This type of finish is more textured compared to flat finishes and have more of a scrubbable and rustic look. Eggshell finishes are most suited for ceilings and walls in environments that receive low to moderate wear. Very similar to the flat paint finish, the eggshell finish could be a good option for your small kitchen ceiling giving it a rustic look.

Satin Paint Finish

Satin finish is often interchangeably used with eggshell finishes. This type of finish is more sheen than eggshell finishes and is one of the most versatile paint finishes. Satin finish paints provide a soft, silky and a little glowy texture perfect for more active rooms. The simple but luxury finish is multi-purpose and can be used for all walls around the house. This includes kitchen and bathrooms!

Semi-Gloss Paint Finish

Semi-gloss typically has anymore from 40-70% gloss. This type of finish reflects a lot of light and gives just the right amount of lovely gleam and glow. Semi-gloss paint finishes are the most commonly seen finish in kitchens and bathrooms. The sheen look that is easy to clean and durable to high-traffic and/more high-use areas, such as hallways. In small kitchens semi-gloss finishes are a popular choice often used for a colourful/creative backsplash.

High-Gloss Paint Finish

High-gloss paint finishes are very shiny. Majority of homeowners find this type of finish to be overwhelming for usage around residential homes. High-gloss paint finishes are likely to be used in industrial spaces where there will be frequent washing/heavy washing.

Best Paint Finish for your Small Kitchen

So, now you are aware of the variety of paint finishes available, and all the information can be very overwhelming. We have narrowed down the options with the best type of finishes that will be ideal for your small kitchen and the kitchen environment, recommended by us!

  • Mix and Match with Satin paint finish and Semi-Gloss paint finish:

A common paint scheme used by small kitchen designers are incorporating both satin and semi-gloss paints. Satin paint finishes on walls, with semi-gloss paint finishes on any cabinet and additional wood accents are very popular.

  • Backsplash:

Backsplash are a good decorative aspect you can use in your small kitchen and small kitchen design. We recommend using semi-gloss or high-gloss paint finishes for your backsplash design. This is because they are durable to any scrubbing and cleaning that will occur.

  • Be smart with Flat or Matte Paints:

The use of flat or matte paints in high-impact areas, such as your small kitchen are difficult to clean. In most cases the best way to clean a coat of flat or matte paint finish is too repaint it which can be a hassle. Therefore, if you love the look of flat paint and want to incorporate it in your small kitchen, we recommend using scrubbable flat or matte paint.

Colour may seem like a small element when designing your small kitchen. However, with the right colour schemes and kitchen designs are incorporated it can have significant benefits. There are so many colour, design options and paint finishes to choose from for your small kitchen. This blog has covered the current trends and our recommendations, however, these are not the limits! Are a lot more designs and colour you can incorporate to your small kitchen design. Feel free to reach out to our designers by booking a free consultation.

What are the kitchen colour for 2021?

Neutral tones are always a favourite with our clients. However, recently we have seen a lot of clients go for grey tones and matte blacks.

Are white kitchens out of style?

No! All white kitchens will never go out of style. If you want to add a bit of colour, try incorporate colourful appliances, such as toasters, kettles and pots.

Who can I talk to about my kitchen design?

Our designers are always open to go through kitchen ideas and designs. Feel free to book a free consultation at


Further Resources for your house renovation

  1. Featured projects and Client stories to see specifications on some of the projects.
  2. Real client stories from Auckland

Need more information?

Take advantage of our FREE Complete Home Renovation Guide (48 pages), whether you’re already renovating or in the process of deciding to renovate, it’s not an easy process, this guide which includes a free 100+ point check list – will help you avoid costly mistakes.

Download Free Renovation Guide (PDF)




Superior Renovations is quickly becoming one of the most recommended Kitchen Renovation & Bathroom Renovation company in Auckland and it all comes down to our friendly approach, straightforward pricing, and transparency. When your Auckland home needs renovation/ remodeling services, Superior Renovation is the team you can count on for high-quality workmanship, efficient progress, and cost-effective solutions.

Get started now by booking a free in-home consultation.

Request Your In-home Consultation 

Or call us on   0800 199 888



finance-badge1000x1000, Kitchen Renovation, Bathroom Renovation, House Renovation Auckland

Have you been putting off getting renovations done?

We have partnered with Q Mastercard ® to provide you an 18 Month Interest-Free Payment Option, you can enjoy your new home now and stress less.

Learn More about Interest-Free Payment Options*

*Lending criteria, fees, terms and conditions apply. Mastercard is a registered trademark and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.



Please note: Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Superior Renovations is not in any way liabe for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]