Having small windows in your kitchen can present some challenges, but with careful planning and design choices, you can create a space that feels bright and open. Here are some tips for making the most of small kitchen windows.

Choosing the Right Window Treatments

  • Opt for light colored, sheer curtains to allow maximum light to filter through. Dark or heavy drapes will make the space feel closed in.
  • Adjustable blinds are a great option for controlling light and privacy. Mini blinds work well on small windows.
  • Avoid heavy valances and swags that will obstruct the window. A simple curtain rod positioned high and wide will give the illusion of a larger window.
  • If your window faces your neighbor’s window or a busy street, consider frosted window film or sheer shades to diffuse the view while still allowing light in.

Complement with Mirrors and Lighting

  • Strategically place mirrors across from windows to reflect and amplify natural light.
  • Use pale reflective surfaces on cabinets and walls near the window to bounce light around.
  • Add task lighting over key work stations to provide adequate illumination for food prep and clean up.
  • Install dimmers on overhead lights so you can adjust according to the amount of natural light coming in.

Keep the Area Around Windows Clear

  • Don’t block windows with upper cabinets or furniture. Leave space around the window to allow light to spread.
  • Use glass cabinet doors above and around windows to maintain an open feel.
  • If your window is near your sink, limit window dressing to a minimal valance or wood blind for privacy. Avoid heavy treatments that obstruct light.

Choose Bright Colors and Finishes

-Paint walls and cabinets in light, bright colors like white, pale yellow or light blue to reflect light.

-Stick with light countertops and backsplashes. Dark granite or limestone will absorb light rather than bounce it around the room.

-Use satin or semi-gloss paints rather than flat, which can look dark and highlight imperfections.

-Glossy subway tile, stainless steel and chrome finishes also aid in light reflection.

Work with What You Have

-Identify the sunniest spot in your kitchen and plan your key work area there.

-Consider investing in a small window box to bring in some cheery greenery. Herbs can add fresh flavor while maximizing views.

-Frame the window with flattering window treatments and decor to create a focal point. Display beautiful dishware in glass-front cabinets.

With some creativity and strategic design choices, small kitchen windows can be made to feel bright, airy and attractive. Proper lighting and mirror placement, combined with light colors and finishes, opens up even the smallest kitchen. Focus on keeping the window area clear and maximizing every bit of natural light for a fresh, welcoming kitchen space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Kitchen Windows

Here are answers to some common questions about designing and decorating a kitchen with small windows:

Should I replace small windows with a larger size?

Replacing windows in a kitchen can be very expensive, so consider your budget. Adding or enlarging a window may require reframing the wall. Often the best solution is working with the existing window. However, if renovating that is an option, larger windows can significantly brighten up a dark, cramped kitchen.

What is the minimum window size for a kitchen?

Kitchens should have windows that are no less than 10% of the total floor area, so at least 7-8 sq feet for a 70 sq ft kitchen. Ventilation is also a consideration. Building codes often dictate minimum window sizes based on room use.

Where should I install curtains on a small window?

Mount curtain rods as high and as wide as possible to give the illusion of a larger window. Position them 3-6 inches above the window frame and extend curtain width 6-12 inches beyond the actual window for optimal light exposure.

How high should I hang window treatments above a kitchen sink?

It’s best to install window treatments at least 12 inches above the top of the window over a kitchen sink. This helps prevent moisture damage from splashing water and provides privacy while allowing light exposure from the top of the window.

Should I install a valance over small kitchen windows?

Valances frequently obstruct light coming in from small windows. To allow maximum light exposure, it’s best to skip a valance and extend simple curtain panels 6 inches to a foot on either side of the window instead.

What about window film and tint?

Window film can help reduce heat and glare. Some frosted and patterned films diffuse views while allowing light transmission. Dark tint blocks light, so only use this on windows not needed for task lighting, ventilation or views.

What small kitchen window ideas maximize light?

Some tricks to reflect and bounce light around a small kitchen window include pale paint colors, mirrored backsplashes, glass cabinet doors, and placing mirrors or pendant lighting across from the window. Keep the sill and surrounding area clutter-free.


Small kitchen windows present unique lighting and privacy challenges, but they can be transformed into aesthetic focal points with the right window treatments and a few adjustments. Carefully planned lighting, mirrors, window dressings and decor can make a petite window feel much larger and brighter. Keep the window unobstructed, use light colors and finishes, and supplement with task lighting as needed. With a little creativity, small kitchen windows can be made both beautiful and functional.