The One Item That Always Makes a Kitchen Feel Bigger, According to a Real Estate Agent

published Nov 26, 2021
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According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, almost 80 percent of designers reported increasing the footprint of their kitchen remodels in 2019. In other words, people want more from their kitchens — and namely, more square footage. But not everyone has the time or budget for a kitchen remodel.

The good news: Real estate agents say you only have to take on one particular project if you want your space to immediately feel bigger. Recessed lighting is the best way to make a space feel larger than it is, says Kseniya Korolova, a Toronto-based real estate agent and sales representative with RE/MAX Metropolis Realty Brokerage.

Recessed lights, also called pot lights, offer a sleeker, more contemporary look than chandeliers or other common types of flush mount lighting. They won’t get in your way if you have low ceilings (or happen to be especially tall), and as long as you position them evenly, they should supply sufficient ambient lighting for all of the nooks and crannies of your kitchen.

Pot lights should generally be spaced about two to three feet apart, mimicking the flow of the kitchen and emphasizing the high-traffic spaces, such as countertops and islands. LED light bulbs are usually the best bet, because they’re energy efficient, long-lasting, and generate very little heat.

Korolova also recommends under-cabinet lighting to brighten up the kitchen. These stealthy fixtures can be used to highlight a decorative backsplash or to supplement ambient lighting — or both. “In my own kitchen, I have sensor lights under some of my cabinets. And I leave them on at nighttime when I want some extra light, or if I’m watching a movie, for background light,” she says.

There are a few different options when it comes to under-cabinet lighting. Recessed puck lights are low-profile fixtures that are installed directly into shelves. Since they require hard-wiring, they typically require professional installation For something more DIY-friendly, try plug-in or mounted strip lights. 

And if you are due for a more comprehensive remodel? Korolova says you should opt for minimalistic colors, fixtures and finishes to play up the roominess of the kitchen. “[For countertops] go with white or an off-white color, just because a darker kitchen eats a lot of space visually,” she says. (Plus, light-toned countertops will reflect light better, making your space appear that much brighter and bigger.) “It also helps to not have busy cabinetry. Too much detailing in the interior panels, for instance, can take away from space and be very visually heavy.”