In Partnership WithThe Home Depot

3 Easy, No-Reno Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

updated Aug 8, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

A delicious home-cooked meal is one of life’s greatest joys. And though Samantha and her roommate had a modern and bright kitchen in their Chicago apartment, one important ingredient was missing: a place to eat.

With a small open-concept kitchen and living area, they usually ate meals on the sofa. And they didn’t do much entertaining, since there wasn’t a good spot for friends to gather. So Samantha set out to make their kitchen and dining area more functional. She also wanted it to match the new cohesive, grown-up look of the rest of the space, which had previously been a hodgepodge of furnishings they’d acquired through college and their early twenties.

Samantha was able to check all those boxes with furniture and organizational accessories from The Home Depot’s online collection. With smart designs for small spaces, plus the latest styles at affordable prices, The Home Depot had everything she needed to enjoy home-cooked meals at a real table. Here’s how she made it work.

1. Think Proportionally

You don’t have to balance your dinner plate on your knees: Even the narrow space between Samantha’s kitchen and living area was enough for a mini dining room. Her modern dining table has a small footprint and a glass top to keep the area from feeling cramped and heavy. Transparent materials like glass have little visual “weight.” (Plus, a round table is easier to navigate around than one with corners.) Adding two minimalist dining chairs stays on trend without interrupting the room’s flow.

By making room against the back wall for a slim and elegant bar cart, she set the tone for entertaining — plus gained open storage — without sacrificing much space. “I never would’ve thought to do that, but it works really well and allows us to have both things in the space,” Samantha says. And just beyond the dining area, a neutral area rug in the living room helps each area feel distinct.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

2. Get Smart About Organization

Mismatched dishes and glassware can be hard to store efficiently. Buy matching sets — they nest and stack better! Samantha chose a classic white porcelain dish set that’s stylish enough for entertaining and streamlined enough to store easily. To corral her glam champagne gold flatware, she got a 5-piece drawer organizer set. The natural bamboo will last for years, and the sizes let her personalize storage to her needs.

Then it was time for the pantry. Trust us: A clear bin with a handle is a cabinet’s best friend. They’re easy to access yet make use of the whole depth of the cabinet, they allow you to see labels, and they stack for even more storage. Samantha got some for her spices and canned goods, as well as a few elegant canisters for dry goods. Their bamboo lids are a handsome alternative to plastic, and they line up more neatly than a bunch of mismatched boxes and bags.

Samantha gave the same treatment to the area under the kitchen sink, too. “We realized we could better organize some pantry items and the cabinet under the kitchen sink, which ironically had become a mess of cleaning supplies,” she says. “Now it’s all neatly laid out and we can find what we’re looking for.”

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

3. Save Counterspace for the Essentials

Look, we get it: You don’t want to lug out the stand mixer every time you have a cookie craving. But if space is limited, reserve the counter for the VIP items you reach for daily — and pick ones you like to look at. Samantha prioritized space for a cute retro coffee maker and coordinating pink kettle, plus a sleek air fryer that can tuck under the cabinets when not in use. A polished metallic tray keeps soap and sponges handy.

She also set herself up for success at the stovetop, keeping everything she needs within arm’s reach. Wood and silicone cooking utensils will wear well and wash easily, and they look lovely in an elegant marble canister. A rich acacia wood cutting board stores neatly along the wall, and a marble trivet can double as a cheese board or tray for ingredients and spices. And for the perfect finishing touch? A rosy Dutch oven, which can sit out as decor, since she rarely uses all four burners at once.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Stylist: Amanda Wolfson Davis

“The first time I had a meal at our new table, it was like a whole new world had opened up,” Samantha says. “I honestly don’t know how we went so long without it. It literally makes me want to eat more homemade meals.”