close up of a kitchen cupboard area with three visible kitchen cupboard painted in a coral orange colour, with added matt black handles, supported by a small area of square tiles and a matt black sink, YesColours

How to decorate a small kitchen

By Iona Bower on

A lot of hard work and good feels happen in kitchens, from gatherings with friends, to favourite meals cooked for loved ones, but you don’t need a sprawling space to make the magic happen and sometimes the best things come in small packages. 

If you have a small-space kitchen, here are a few easy ways to update it to make the most of every square inch.


close up of a kitchen cupboard area with three visible kitchen cupboard painted in a coral orange colour, with added matt black handles, supported by a small area of square tiles and a matt black sink

Let's put a smile on these cupboards with a lick of bright and joyful paint. Pictured here is the incredible utility room of Fran @forever_bungalow, transformed beautifully with our Joyful Orange eggshell paint colour. See the makeover here.


Use several shades of one colour.

Paint different ‘zones’ in the different shades to add depth. So choose your palette - let’s take YesColours' blue colour palette as an example, and then choose three that tone well but include lights to feel spacious and darks to add depth. Perhaps Loving Teal, Calming Blue and Serene Blue. Use each colour on your cupboards, both upper and lower, walls and skirtings, and take the paint right up to the ceiling, giving you horizontal ‘blocks’ of the various shades.

Having cupboards run up to the ceiling will add storage and simultaneously make the room feel taller. One shade might be for the prep area, another for a storage area and a third for a dining space.


Use lights and darks to add height.

Contrary to what every other interiors website will tell you, you don’t have to go for all white high gloss units and pale wall colours in order to give the illusion of space. If you love dramatic colours, just keep them to the cupboards below the counter and go for a lighter colour on top which will again make the ceiling feel higher and make the walls recede a little. YesColours’ Passionate Lilac in eggshell is a really nice dramatic shade for lower cupboards, and it pairs well with the trendy Electric Mint Green on the upper section.


A close up of wooden floorboards, painted in two colours symmetrically with top half in a blue lilac colour and bottom colour in mint green colour

Don't mind us, we're just admiring the perfect colour combo of our Passionate Lilac and Electric Mint Green paint colours.


Add bright colour in small areas.

For a really bold kitchen, you don’t need to drench every wall and it can be tricky to find the exact shade you want in cupboard doors, anyway, so you might want to consider adding bold colour in ‘pops’ elsewhere. If you’ve already got fairly neutral cupboard doors and drawers, maybe try some really bright tiles for a splashback, like these Cuba Havana wall tiles from Your Tiles.

Or dedicate an alcove or two to a really bright shade of paint such as YesColours’ Passionate Pink paint colour in eggshell. Use the bold colour pops to draw the eye along the run of units and make the space feel bigger. 


Paint the floor.

Don’t feel you need to leave colour to the walls only. In a small kitchen where you might have floor-to-ceiling cupboards to maximise storage, and little wall space, it pays to think outside the box. Floor colours, particularly chequerboard or other geometric styles, can lead the eye to the end of a room, using perspective to make the space feel bigger. These chequerboard Venetian Red Tiles from Harvey Maria have a jolly Fifties diner feel about them.

A colourful rug or runner can also be used in this way, or to delineate a dining area. This Iris Apfel Birds of a Feather Rug from Ruggable is completely washable and would add colour and interest to a dining area at one end of the kitchen.


photo of a small kitchen space decorated with different bright colours - dark grey cupboards, wooden worktops, electric yellow radiator on the neutral wall, bright orange blinds and sun reflecting on the stripes on the floor, painted in white and mint green

There's no such thing as 'too much colour', even when it comes to a small kitchen space. Nia from @nia_does_diy proves that more is more with using a bright colour palette in this room and painting the floor in our Electric Mint Green and Passionate Warm White paint colours. 


Utilise the ceiling.

We feel rather sorry for ceilings; the most oft forgotten of the six ‘walls’ in a room. If you’re not standing on it or staring at it, it’s hard to remember this surface is there... You can change all that by embracing the ceiling as part of your small kitchen. It can become extra storage if you’re short on cupboards with a pot rack like this Seven Lath Gizmo Rack from Cast In Style (copper pots optional but always look lovely).

A ceiling can also be used to add pattern. If you have cupboards on each wall, the ceiling might be just the spot for a bold print wallpaper, like this Cuddle Clouds paper from Rebel Walls. And it’s good for holding an indoor plant or six, too. Just like this snake plant from Oxy Plants - the perfect kitchen addition.


photo of a spacious neutral kitchen with a lot of natural sunlight, on the left there are white kitchen cupboards and a fridge, then a neutral vintage rug on the floor and a peach coloured wall next to the back yard door and window frame

Even the most neutral home could have a little pop of colour, thanks to our Graceful and Serene paint collections. Steal this look with leaving everything white/neutral and painting the main wall in our Serene Peach eggshell paint colour. 


Pare back the bits and bobs.

If you’re changing the cupboard doors go for handle-less ones. They look sleeker and therefore create the illusion of space. They also stop you catching the pockets of your trousers on them. So annoying. 

Keeping worktops fairly clear, too, really helps, so if you’re doing a full-on renovation, look for storage solutions such as chopping boards that slide into spaces between cupboards and larder cupboards that pull out to store lots of utensils inside. If you’re just doing a quick update, wall storage can be added, such as this wall-mounted gin bar, for instance. You can never have enough space for gin, after all. Even in the smallest of kitchens.


 photo of a wooden children's playing kitchen with lilac painted cupboards and utensils hanging from the top shelf

Any kitchen could turn into the kitchen of someone's dreams... even when that someone is your little human. Now you can upcycle all kitchen cupboards (for big and small chefs alike) with our eggshell paint colours. Try our Fresh Lilac eggshell paint for pastel marshmallow vibes.


If you’re looking for a little help with our Calming Pink paint colour (or any other colour from the YesColours palette), book a colour consultation with us. It's easy, it's fun... and there's a free option available too.

Share your YesColours home transformation by tagging us on Instagram.