How Kitchen Renovation Creates More Space

Everyone craves a bigger kitchen in their home. More bench space, two sinks, dishwasher: you name it. Here at PlaceMate Architects we know kitchens: we know the ins and outs and we know how a renovation can make your kitchen appear more spacious. Contact us now if this is something you’re interested in.

What makes a well-designed kitchen?

Two things. More space and good storage. To optimise both is to have a satisfying and functioning space. At PlaceMate architects we value creating spaces that are liveable and functional.

In Brisbane, the most common character house is a Queenslander. Although we will never stop raving about the beauty of a classically designed Queenslander, they do have their flaws, and the kitchen design is one of them. As PlaceMate Architects specialise in Queenslanders, we do know our way around making the kitchen more liveable.

How can I make my kitchen bigger?

So practically, how can you make your kitchen bigger? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Interior design is arguably the most important factor in making your kitchen seem larger than it actually is. While a successful interior “illusion”, is a renovation job well done.

Adding reflective surfaces and mirror elements into the space, for example, the splashback, will open it up and bounce light through the room.

Glass and reflective surfaces make your kitchen feel larger

Glass and reflective surfaces make your kitchen feel larger

Vertical lines give the illusion of height within the interiors. Horizontal lines give the illusion of width. This kitchen in Oxley is not as tall as it is wide. We added wood panelling with a grain that ran in a vertical direction. Although subtle, this feature provides the illusion of height.

This Oxley example also provides lovely and satisfying symmetry. This balances out the room, making it seem bigger and more cohesive within itself.

Another aspect within this Oxley project that is an interior design feature is the glass splashback. This opens up the space even more, supplying the kitchen with more greenery, space, and connection to the outside.

White gloss gives the illusion of more space.

White gloss gives the illusion of more space.

The above space is quite small but expresses its expanse through its modern, fresh, and bright feeling. The glossy finishes on the splashback of this particular kitchen also give the illusion of a brighter, bigger kitchen. The reflections that this glossy finish provides benefit the space greatly.


How beneficial is light in a small kitchen? You want to maximise the amount of light, natural or artificial. This will open the space and minimise the feeling of being cramped.

If your current kitchen does not allow natural light to enter, we would highly recommend your renovation include windows. Windows will open up your space to the outside world, which will in turn not only brighten up the kitchen but also bring a sense of connection to the surrounding environment.

In terms of artificial light, brighter equals bigger. How are the light bulbs and fittings in your kitchen? Do they omit enough light to make your kitchen feel open? Try to add as much light you can to your kitchen, especially if natural light is not an option. One example of this is strip lighting underneath your overhead cupboards. This example from our Auchenflower project below showcases a gorgeous, bright splashback and the added light is the x factor. Adding lights underneath benchtops as well creates and fosters a lovely, modern aspect.

When choosing colours, aim to go brighter. The brighter, the more open your kitchen will feel.

More artificial light in the kitchen equals bigger and brighter.

More artificial light in the kitchen equals bigger and brighter.

Keep it Simple

When it comes to kitchens, the simpler the better. Especially if you are working with a small area, you want to keep everything minimal. An overcrowded space is an unliveable one.  

One example is how to minimise clutter is by installing push or click cupboards instead of handles. Even things you may think are small, like handles on cupboards, build up and start getting in the way. Optimise your space by minimising the details.


Along the same vein as keeping things simple and minimal, try to downsize your appliances. Smaller appliances may not sound ideal to you now, but these will make your kitchen seem so much bigger than it is. Downsizing the dishwasher, sinks, and stove when renovating will make space for bigger benchtops, and in turn, become a more liveable area.


Adding a feature to a small kitchen is always a fun idea.

This recently renovated home in West End seems quite large at first glance but is actually quite small. In this particular project, PlaceMate Architects opened up the Queenslander’s space by knocking down dividing walls. This gave us the ability to add in a feature: a beautiful freestanding island. The island also connects the splashback tiles and original pressed tin ceiling. Not only does this make the space more liveable, and maximise bench space, it grabs the attention of the onlooker, distracting them from the small area.

Open up the kitchen space by knocking down the dividing walls.

Open up the kitchen space by knocking down the dividing walls.

At PlaceMate Architects, we know kitchens and how renovation and design can make yours more liveable. Watch this space for more design tips!

Want to know more? Request a site visit with Jan Hogarth, principle architect,