Top tips on how to make a small kitchen look bigger (2023)

In an ideal world we would all have large roomy kitchens, but often our kitchens are smaller than we would like, but that doesn't mean they can’t look bigger. Plenty of small kitchen ideas can be used in how to make a small kitchen look bigger.

‘It’s always best to start from the drawing board when looking at ways to utilise small space,' says Carolina Hansson, Head of Design at Luxury Flooring and Furnishings (opens in new tab). 'You may not be able to take on structural change to your walls and floors, but you can look to change its appearances to give the illusion of a larger room.'

How to make a small kitchen look bigger

Just because you have a small kitchen doesn't mean you can’t gain major style points and you don’t need to break the bank, there are plenty of small kitchen ideas on a budget, that will tackle any of your small kitchen problems.

‘When space (and budget) is at a premium, think about the essentials, ie storage, seating, hob etc… units which can be added to or replaced with bigger units are a clever option,' advises Mike Turley, technical director at Mereway Kitchens (opens in new tab). 'Choose neutral base colours so you can ring the changes with accessories as and when you want to. Invest in the best quality, easy-to-care for furniture you can afford, with a work surface which can be replaced if necessary. Making good use of corners is a great way to maximise space.’

1. Use slimline or integrated appliances

Top tips on how to make a small kitchen look bigger (1)

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

A great way on how to make a small kitchen look bigger is to choose appliances that aren’t chunky and take up a lot of space. Choose wisely when it comes to kitchen appliances and your kitchen appliance layout ideas allowing you to free up valuable wall and surface space and will make your kitchen feel more open.

‘Think carefully about your choice of appliances,’ advises Bruce Millar, kitchen specialist at MKM Galashiels (opens in new tab). ‘Choosing a slimline dishwasher will save you 150mm compared to standard models and despite being smaller you can still fit plenty in. An integrated fridge will also keep that flush look along your kitchen run rather than having a bulky standalone fridge taking up valuable space.

‘If you only ever really use two burners on your hob at once, then why not consider a domino hob that only has two burners to really maximise available worktop space. Finally, a combi oven might be a good idea, combining an oven and microwave in one and freeing up a whole cabinet of valuable storage space.'

'A slimline, compact sink will take up far less valuable worktop space but If you're really stuck for space, a circular or oval-shaped sink takes up even less room and will fit more comfortably into awkward spaces.’

2. Utilise clever storage

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(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

Keeping your space clutter free is also important and small kitchen storage ideas will ensure that only essential items are on show, making your space feel bigger.

‘If you want your kitchen to feel bigger it is best to keep it clean and free of clutter.' recommends Lisa Cooper, Head of Product at Thomas Sanderson (opens in new tab). 'Smart storage like benches that have extra storage underneath are perfect for freeing up floor space and offer a smart solution to your storage needs.'

'Integrated carousels are excellent for convenience as they allow you to locate different utensils quickly without you having to scramble around at the back of the cupboard,' adds Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens (opens in new tab). 'Pan drawers are another great option as they provide the depth needed to store larger items whilst keeping them accessible. You can make the most of every inch of your cupboard space with concealed drawers, pull out wire shelves and storage baskets too.’

3. Opt for open shelving

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Having open shelving instead of cupboards will make your kitchen feel wider, especially if you have a galley kitchen, giving the illusion of more space. If you decide to opt for open kitchen shelving ideas, make sure your shelves are neat and ordered and don’t over pack them so the space doesn't feel crowded. If you feel hesitant about going for complete open shelving, remove the doors from your cabinet to get a feel for the look and if you change your mind you can always pop the doors back on.

'The flexibility in design options is endless, and they can be incorporated to make as much or as little impact as you like,' says Ruth from Benchmarx. 'In smaller spaces, this feature can create an open, airy feeling that showcases a minimalist and rustic style. Clean lines and simple crockery can also communicate modern sophistication, creating a relaxed, scandi scheme.'

'This type of shelving also enables easy access to your everyday essentials such as dishes, glasses and cookware. You can use them to store cookbooks, display house plants and showcase decorative vases; making them versatile and easy to re-style when you fancy a change.'

4. Choose reflective surfaces

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Another tip on how to make a small kitchen look bigger is to maximise light and get it to reach all corners of your kitchen is the use of reflective surfaces. To achieve this look consider options such as glass tiles, shiny floors, high gloss paint and glossy cabinets.

‘The colour of your kitchen worktop will also be important. Choosing glossy, reflective surfaces such as laminate, quartz or stainless steel will help bounce light around the room creating the illusion of space,’ says Bruce Millar from MKM Galashiels.

Another way to open up the space and add more reflective space is through the use of mirrors.

‘You can instantly create the illusion of space by simply adding a mirror to your kitchen. This is because the mirror will reflect light around the room, opening it up!’ says Lisa Cooper from Thomas Sanderson.

5. Zone your spaces

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(Image credit: Fibre Flooring)

Zoning your kitchen can make a big difference to how the space feels, making it easier to balance style and functionality.Taking this into consideration with small kitchen layouts will make your space go a long way

‘The idea of kitchen zoning is often talked about in larger kitchens, but even small spaces can benefit from this design idea as it keeps areas defined, uncluttered and organised,’ says Julian Downes director at Fibre (opens in new tab).

‘Adding a rug under your table is an ideal way to highlight a dining area within the kitchen space. Kitchens are traditionally an area with a lot of solid surfaces, from counter tops and cabinets to wooden and stone floors. The softer surface of a rug will add the warmth required to transform the feel of a room. Choose a bespoke rug in a smaller kitchen to make sure that it will fit the space perfectly and not overpower the room.’

6. Choose the right lighting

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Marketa Rypacek, Managing Director at Industville (opens in new tab) says, ‘The kitchen is a place where you need an even layer of functional and aesthetic lighting that combines the best of both aspects. This becomes even more essential in a small kitchen where lighting can make or break the overall look of the space.'

‘Choose kitchen pendant lights that are close to the ceiling, so your field of vision is not overcrowded, flush mounted lights are ideal for this. Don’t obstruct windows either, since the soft glow of kitchen ceiling lighting and natural lighting can work together to make the space feel light and airy.'

‘The best small kitchen lighting ideas are those that combine many types of light in a layered approach. This will create little pockets and pools of light giving a calming atmosphere. Embrace the full range of lighting sources available from pendants and wall lights to recessed and track lighting, which will allow you to create a space that is both practical and atmospheric.'

'Not only does this provide complete coverage in the space, it helps create a pleasant overall atmosphere and allows customisation of the lighting level in specific areas. With different lighting layers, you can adjust the illumination depending on the time of day and task at hand.’

7. Focus on the flooring

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(Image credit: Carpetright)

Laying directional flooring is a clever approach for how to make a small kitchen look bigger. A wide herringbone-pattern floor or chevron-format tile creates lines that draw the eye outwards and will make the kitchen floor feel wider and longer.

With your kitchen flooring stick to light tiles or pale-coloured woods that will reflect light, rather than dark, heavy colours which are light-absorbing and will make the space feel more closed-in.

8. Lose the clutter

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(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Still)

Having too much ‘stuff’ out on worktops will only make the space feel more cluttered and overcrowded. Knowing how to organise a small kitchen, with fewer pieces on show and neater worktops will make it feel bigger.

A good option of how to make a small kitchen look bigger is to only leave out the essentials that you use daily, such as the toaster, kettle and coffee maker. Stow all the lesser-used items out of sight, in full-sized cupboards or lower-down cabinets so they can be pulled out when needed, from food mixers and blenders, to sandwich makers and food processors.

9. Create a corner arrangement

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(Image credit: Future PLC / Lizzie Orme)

Having cabinets on all four walls can make a small kitchen feel overcrowded. Opting for an L-shaped arrangement with cabinets that meet in one corner, provides an ample amount of storage, without making the kitchen feel overly-crammed.

For extra worktop space, try adding a small freestanding small kitchen island idea in the centre of the kitchen. Or bring in a breakfast table and chairs positioned in the opposite corner and there’ll be somewhere for the family to gather.

10. Add height with a dual-toned kitchen

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(Image credit: Magnet)

Create the illusion of space with thoughtful two tone kitchen cabinet ideas.Try incorporating two shades into the colour scheme and see how how to make a small kitchen look bigger with this trick.

A darker colour on the base units helps to define the layout and works as an anchor point. Opting for a lighter shade on the upper wall units will draw the eye upwards and help make the kitchen feel brighter and more open.

11. Add a focal point with wallpaper

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(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Make a narrow galley kitchen feel more spacious by wallpapering one end in a lively print. A busy pattern on the narrowest wall will draw the eye along and create the illusion of extra width which is key to how to make a small kitchen look bigger.

Choose a design that complements your kitchen’s decor. Match the colour and pattern to kitchen cabinets, a colourful splashback, wall colour or flooring for a chic, co-ordinated look.

12. Match worktops and splashbacks

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

Consider opting for matching worktops and kitchen splashback ideas for how to make a small kitchen look bigger. Choose a pale colour or light-reflective surface and extend the worktops up the walls to give a seamless appearance and uninterrupted finish. Having no harsh breaks makes walls recede visually and creates a feeling of calm and spaciousness.

13. Let the light in

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(Image credit: Future PLC/ Barbara Bazso)

Natural light will enlarge any space and make it instantly feel brighter and more spacious. Maximise what light you do have in a small kitchen by keeping any window treatments to a minimum. If windows aren’t overlooked at street level, consider doing away with window coverings completely if you can. Plants and greenery displayed on the windowsill will keep it from looking too bare and empty.

If some form of covering is a must, consider a sheer blind that will give privacy without blocking too much light. Or try classic cafe-style shutters that will obscure the bottom section of window, while still allowing plenty of light through at the top.

14. Switch out your cabinet doors

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(Image credit: Amtico)

Replacing wall units with open shelving is an easy budget kitchen idea for making how to make a small kitchen look bigger. But if you don’t want to lose any valuable cupboard space, there is another option. Swapping solid doors for glazed fronts will have a similar effect and make the kitchen feel less crowded.

If you have panelled cabinet doors, it’s fairly simple just to replace the panels with glazing. If that isn’t possible, there are lots of replacement door companies that offer this service. Try painting or tiling the interior a lighter colour. This will help draw the eye past cabinet frames and inside, so walls will feel further away.

What colours make a small kitchen look bigger?

The colour of your kitchen can have a major impact on how to make a small kitchen look bigger, and there are plenty of small kitchen paint colours for a big improvement. Light-reflecting shades will bouncing the light around the space, making it appear larger. White is an obvious colour choice for a small kitchen, but white kitchen ideas aren’t the only option.

‘Blue is the best colour for making a space feel bigger,’ advises Annie Sloan (opens in new tab) colour and paint expert. ‘It’s recessive, which means it draws the eye outwards, blurs horizon lines and gives a sense of never-ending space. It’s also a calming, meditative colour which encourages us to breath-in-and-out, creating a psychological and spiritual sense of space as well as the physical illusion. White, of course, is your other option and is so easy to work with.’

Darren Watts, store development and design director of Wren Kitchens (opens in new tab) adds, ‘‘Light colours with plenty of white tint naturally reflect light in your kitchen, making your space appear bigger. Bright white or cream is the obvious choice, but greens, yellows, and blues are also great picks.’

Strategically-placed dark coloured base units can help ground the layout and by teaming them with a paler colour at the top, the eye will be drawn upwards.

What flooring makes a small kitchen look bigger?

‘Using large floor tiles can make your small kitchen feel bigger, especially if you choose light colours. You can also use horizontal wooden or tiled flooring to make your kitchen feel wider,’ advises Darren from Wren Kitchens.

Amanda Telford, Marketing Manager at CTD Tiles (opens in new tab) also recommends using larger floor tiles to create a sense of openness. ‘In smaller areas, large format tiles can help create the illusion of more space thanks to the clean lines and fewer joints that make the floor look busy.’

Or with a small, galley kitchen, opt for directional flooring that runs the length of the kitchen and will draw the eye along.

What kind of splashback makes a kitchen look bigger?

‘Choosing a glass panel splashback can make your kitchen feel bigger, by reflecting the light throughout your space,' says Darren from Wren Kitchens. 'You can also choose glossy tiles that complement your chosen aesthetic.’

‘Opt for tiles in a striking colour as it adds contrast to interiors, you can get tiles in all styles and sizes that can be positioned in all different ways,' recommends Amanda , from CTD Tiles. 'To create the illusion of a bigger and taller room, then lay your tiled splashback vertically as this will draw the eye up.’


What color makes a small kitchen look bigger? ›

Go with Light Colors

Light colors are more reflective than dark colors and they will make your kitchen appear bigger as well as more open and airy. Light blues, greens, or pale yellows are other great colors to make your space look larger than life.

What is the best backsplash to make a kitchen look bigger? ›

Add a Reflective Backsplash

Adding a reflective backsplash is a reliable way to make a kitchen look bigger without a large renovation. Using materials such as glass, stainless steel, glossy tiles, and mirrors can provide that reflection to make your kitchen look far bigger than it is.

What color countertops look best in a small kitchen? ›

White is your best friend in a small kitchen. It reflects light, enhancing the sense of space and making the walls recede. When you include white on cabinetry, countertops, walls, and the ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries.

What do I do if my kitchen is too small? ›

  1. Add hooks all over the place!
  2. Store stuff out in the open.
  3. Put little corners to good use.
  4. Use windowsills as storage.
  5. Hang a pegboard.
  6. Use the tops of your cabinets.
  7. Consider a fold-down table.
  8. Get cute folding chairs and hang them up.
Dec 2, 2021

What is the most efficient arrangement for a small kitchen? ›

The most efficient layout for a kitchen, including small kitchens, is the U-shaped layout. Although this layout produces two, deep corner cabinets, clever cabinet additions such as sliding storage units makes light of these previously difficult storage areas.

How can I make a small kitchen look expensive? ›

Colours such as creams and beiges can make a kitchen look elegant and expensive. If your kitchen is modern, you can use dark colours, such as blacks and greys, which can make it look lavish and extravagant. White reflects light and makes the space look bigger, so complement white with some wood and metallic highlights.

What is the best wall color for a small kitchen? ›

If you have a small kitchen, white and neutral paint colors can be a lifesaver. White paint reflects light, makes walls recede, and increases the sense of space. When you use it on your walls, countertops, cabinetry, and ceiling, you create a cohesive space with few boundaries or edges to limit the eye.

What backsplash will never go out of style? ›

Subway tile is the most enduring choice for a backsplash. Avoid bold, trendy colors, and instead look for white or neutrals. Keep it simple, and bring in color elsewhere in the kitchen, with more easily replaced items, such as dish towels, art, bowls of fruit and rugs.

Should countertop be lighter or darker than backsplash? ›

Rather than have your backsplash be a light shade as well, it should be darker than the counters.

What is a good color for kitchen backsplash? ›

Neutral kitchen backsplashes are classic and will work well in modern kitchens. They also blend into the background to let other elements stand out more. For example, if you have a white kitchen countertop like marble or quartz, consider gray kitchen backsplashes to blend well with your kitchen countertop.

Should countertop be lighter or darker than cabinets? ›

Dark kitchen cabinets will make the kitchen appear smaller and it may be difficult to see what is on the counters. On the other hand, if your kitchen has light colored cabinetry or furniture that stands out in comparison with darker kitchen colors, then darker countertops will work well.

Should a small kitchen have light or dark cabinets? ›

If your kitchen is on the small side or is not well-lit, darker colored cabinets could make the area feel cramped. A lighter cabinet color, on the other hand, will help a small kitchen feel more open and spacious.

What is the most popular kitchen counter? ›

1. Quartz. Currently the most popular choice in kitchen countertops, homeowners choose quartz surfacing because of its many advantages.

What is the most popular kitchen backsplash? ›

Ceramic tile is the most popular option for a kitchen backsplash. Ceramic tiles are incredibly versatile—they come in many shapes, sizes and colors and can be installed in numerous patterns.

What color cabinets are good for small kitchens? ›

Light color kitchen ideas like a white-on-white palette create the illusion of a larger space. Mix crisp white, buttery white, and gray-toned white finishes to create a seamless look. Select warm wood cabinets and floors that take the chill off white surfaces and give your small kitchen an inviting aura.

How do you arrange a small kitchen? ›

General Organizing Tips for Small Kitchens

put as much as you can into closed spaces as possible (in cabinets, behind doors, bins, etc.) things that do live “out” keep in non-clear containers (reduces the look of clutter) bins or containers inside cabinets should be clear so you can see what's inside.

What size is considered small kitchen? ›

70 square feet: In 2009, the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association defined a small kitchen as being smaller than 70 square feet and a big kitchen as being larger than this. 100 square feet: Given that the 10′ x 10′ kitchen is a standard benchmark for estimating kitchen remodel costs.

What adds the most value to a kitchen? ›

What Are the Important Kitchen Updates that Add Home Value?
  • Cabinet Refacing and Refinishing. ...
  • Update Your Kitchen Countertops. ...
  • Modern Tile Backsplash. ...
  • Invest in New Kitchen Appliances. ...
  • Don't Forget About Kitchen Light Fixtures. ...
  • New Kitchen Sink and Faucet.
Jan 11, 2021

What makes a kitchen look luxury? ›

Luxury kitchen designs utilize high-quality materials such as cabinets or countertops, professional space planning, modern technologies & appliances, proper lighting and beautiful interior design.

Which color is not good for kitchen? ›

Blue, black, dark grey and purple are not considered good colors for kitchen as per Vastu Shastra. They can affect the positive energies around your kitchen and, more specifically, your home.

What is the new kitchen color for 2023? ›

"Neutrals like white, cream, gray, and greige are trending in 2023," says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr Paint Company. 'Blank Canvas is the perfect warm, welcoming white with a transformative power that offers limitless design opportunities," she adds.

What is the most fashionable kitchen colour? ›

In first place is the perennially popular white kitchen, a well-deserved placement given its versatility and adaptability. Further down the list, we find more adventurous choices, with red, pink and yellow all appearing in the top ten.

Where should small kitchen appliances go when not in use? ›

You should store them where you use them. Three rules of thumb are to put frequently used appliances on the countertop or the lowest shelf of an upper cabinet for easy reach; rarely used appliances should go to the top of the cabinets; and never-used items should be sold or donated.

Should the refrigerator be near sink or stove? ›

Generally, the sink, main refrigerator, and stove need to be near each other, allowing easy access for food preparation. Allow minimum 4 and maximum 9 feet between each point to easily maneuver. The dishwasher is best located near the sink so you have less distance to travel with dirty dishes.

Is it OK to put a refrigerator in front of a window? ›

Fridges should never be placed directly next to a heat source or in locations affected by direct sunlight for long durations.

What is the kitchen trend for 2023? ›

While white will continue to be a popular choice for kitchens in 2023, we can expect to see kitchens get a bit more colorful in the new year. In particular, homeowners are embracing warmer tones and bold pops of color rather than monochromatic, Scandinavian-style minimalism or white and gray farmhouse-style kitchens.

What color cabinets never go out of style? ›

What Color Cabinets Never Go Out of Style?
  • Bright White. Bright white cabinetry has been a trend of late and we don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. ...
  • Natural Tones. Natural tones can be a great choice, as they introduce elements of nature into your space. ...
  • Navy Blue. ...
  • Pastel Pink. ...
  • Two-Tone.
Aug 2, 2022

What is the most timeless kitchen cabinet color? ›

White is the most timeless cabinet color of all, with popularity dating back over half a century. It's hard to beat the crisp, clean beauty of bright white cabinets. They lighten the entire room and lend a refreshing, airy feel.

What makes a kitchen look dated? ›

Outdated Appliances. If the appliances are old, then the entire space will appear dated. White and small appliances tend to give an outdated impression. Although appliances are often one of the more costly updates, they can significantly impact your home's future real estate value.

What is the most popular color for kitchen countertops? ›

If you're asking for the most popular kitchen countertops, then those in white or off-white tones are one on the list. You can choose granite, quartz, or marble for this matter as long as it projects that color.

Should a backsplash match countertop or floor? ›

Always aim to complement each material you're using. Pick a tone in the counter top material and find a tile that highlights it. Again aim for some contrast between the flooring and cabinet color. Once you pick a tile for the floor, most manufacturers provide backsplash tiles to complement the floor tile you choose.

What is the rule of thumb for backsplash? ›

In general, the backsplash is installed to the height of four inches from the surface of the countertop. These backsplashes can be of any material or color, but we suggest that it compliments the cabinets and the countertops.

What is the best backsplash height? ›

A standard backsplash continues from the kitchen countertops to approximately three to six inches up the wall, with four inches typically being the most common height.

What color countertop is timeless? ›

Pick Classic, Neutral Colors

When choosing a quartz countertop that's designed to last through the decades, stick with neutrals like beiges, grays, off-whites, and bright whites.

What color countertop is best for resale? ›

Light neutrals are the most popular choice, with 27% of survey respondents reporting that having a white kitchen would make them more likely to buy a property, followed by 22% who would be swayed by a light grey kitchen. More surprisingly, bold colourways like black and dark blue also made the list.

What color cabinets brighten kitchen? ›

There are many different shades of white to choose from, but all of them will help your room feel bright and fresh. White cabinets can also brighten up a dark room. Some good neutral colors for kitchen cabinets include light gray, dark gray, or greige (a mix of gray and beige).

What is the most popular color for a small kitchen? ›

To enlarge a small kitchen, it is best to choose light and cool colors because they are the most effective in terms of optical illusion. Our brain associates light blue and green with the sky, ocean or any other quiet and open natural space.

What color cabinets look cleanest? ›

White cabinets evoke a clean and sanitary look, while creating a light and airy feel to your kitchen. White or light colored cabinets show dirt and grime more quickly than dark cabinets and require constant cleanup.

What are the three most popular countertops? ›

The Top Three Types Of Kitchen Countertops
  1. Quartz. Quartz countertops are popular for a number of different reasons. ...
  2. Marble Countertops. Like quartz, marble is a natural stone and therefore it has some advantages and some disadvantages. ...
  3. Granite.

What is the number one countertop? ›

Quartz: Best Overall Choice

Quartz countertops—a form of engineered stone—may well be the best of all countertop materials when all factors are considered. Quartz countertops are made from natural stone byproducts (leftover rubble from quarrying) which are pulverized and blended with resins to form slabs.

What goes first countertops or flooring? ›

If you're replacing both your flooring and countertops, we advise you to choose your countertop first. The countertop is often the largest, overall expense in a kitchen design - so it deserves to be a feature item. Once you select the countertop, you can work backwards to select flooring from there.

What color is best for a small kitchen? ›

To enlarge a small kitchen, it is best to choose light and cool colors because they are the most effective in terms of optical illusion. Our brain associates light blue and green with the sky, ocean or any other quiet and open natural space.

Do ceiling height cabinets make kitchen look bigger? ›

Advantages of Kitchen Cabinets That Go All The Way Up to the Ceiling. It is vital to point out that most people prefer to use 42'' tall upper cabinets as they accord them much more space while also touching the ceiling thus making it appear visibly larger.

What are popular kitchen wall colors for 2023? ›

"Neutrals like white, cream, gray, and greige are trending in 2023," says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr Paint Company. 'Blank Canvas is the perfect warm, welcoming white with a transformative power that offers limitless design opportunities," she adds.


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