Making the most of a Cosy Kitchen

We'd all love a spacious kitchen full of character, but sometimes we have to make do with one which is a little more...'cosy'. But little kitchens can still be enjoyable spaces, and there are a few great tricks you can use to make the area at least feel a little bigger (even if inviting a few friends over will soon remind you otherwise!)

First of all, think about the natural light you get in your kitchen. As design expert Julia Kendall explains, if you want to make the room seem bigger, you need to make friends with the sunshine. Ensure as much light as possible gets in through your window by clearing away the clutter, then bounce it around your kitchen as much as you can.

Textured surfaces such as carpets and wallpapers are out - they absorb light. Instead, bring in a tiled floor such as this reflective polished porcelain tile, which bounces off light and enlarges a space.

You can even use a hardwood floor - anything glossy works well. On the walls, Metro tiles offer the high-gloss finish you want using light colours. By using Metro, you can allow its interesting shape to provide the subtle style with simple, block colours.

With many hard and glossy surfaces, that light will bounce around and make your room feel much brighter and bigger. You can add flashes of colour using feature tiles or small wall hangings, but try and keep as much surface area as possible looking sleek and shiny.

Kitchens are functional spaces, so you'll need to keep some of the essentials - a fridge, cooker, etc - but see what you can do without, as unnecessary or rarely-used bits and pieces are a waste of space, most of the time. And rather than cluttering up your work spaces with all your pots and jars, try to add more storage space - a narrow, high set of drawers can be very useful. One tip: try furniture with high legs. If your eyes can see the floor - even if there is something hovering over this space - the room will feel bigger.

Another interesting idea is replacing your cupboard doors with glass-fronted ones; not only will this give the appearance of more space, the glass front will also give you some extra light reflection.

The only thing you need to remember is that showing off the inside of your cupboards means you're going to have to try and keep them neat! If you can, try extending your cabinets right up to the ceiling; even if you are not using that space for something functional - although there is no reason you shouldn't - long cabinets will make your ceiling seem higher.

One advantage of a small kitchen is that changes are easier to make - so feel free to take these tips and experiment!

For more tips on making a small room seem bigger see Julia's video here.

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