Do you feel like the walls are caving in every time you walk into the kitchen? Do your dark kitchen cabinets make your kitchen feel small and cramped? There are many ways to add light to a dark kitchen, depending on the resources available to you. Check out these tips on how to brighten a dark kitchen from O’Hanlon Kitchens, sure to suit any budget.
Add Recessed Lighting in Strategic Areas
If you have the means to install recessed lighting in your kitchen, it will change the way you feel in the space. The recessed lights are tucked into the ceiling, so they do not detract from your sight line. Install lights in front of your upper cabinets so the entire light shines down. Think about the areas where you need light the most, like above the sink and around food prep areas. Put lights in those strategic places, and you can fill out the rest of the room accordingly.
Paint or Stain the Cabinets a Lighter Color
One of the easiest ways to lighten a kitchen is to use lighter colors in the space. This means painting or staining the kitchen cabinets, since they make up the bulk of the kitchen. If you plan to get new cabinets, look for lighter colors. You could use white cabinets, light grey cabinets, light wood stains, and much more.
If you are worried about fingerprints on white cabinets, use dark-colored lower cabinets to hide the dirt. These cabinets are most susceptible to spills, child messes, fingerprints, and more. You’ll have a light color at eye-level, so the kitchen will still feel brighter overall.
Take Advantage of the Natural Light in the Kitchen
This is a potentially free way to brighten your dark kitchen! If you have windows in the area, don’t block them with window treatments! If you’re worried about privacy, you could add privacy film to the window that still allows light to pour in. You could also use sheer curtains in place of dark curtains. The more natural light you have in the kitchen, the bigger it will feel.
Use Reflective Surfaces, Such as Stainless Steel and Gloss Tile
You want the light to bounce around your kitchen. This doesn’t mean you have to install mirrors everywhere. You can achieve the same effect with reflective surfaces. Upgrade from black appliances to stainless steel. Add a glossy tile backsplash that complements your other finishes in the space. Find ways to help light travel in the kitchen, and the space will quickly feel more pleasant to be in.
Install Under-Cabinet Lighting
Your ceiling isn’t the only place you can install light fixtures. Under-cabinet lighting can create a glow all-around the kitchen, long after the sun goes down. If you have reflective tile on the backsplash, the light will travel even further. The lighting also showcases any décor you have on your countertops that would otherwise be in the shadow from the upper cabinets. Show off your gorgeous backsplash or funky cookware with inexpensive lighting solutions.
Avoid Busy Patterns for Flooring, Countertops and Accessories
To help the kitchen feel lighter and more open, you want the eye to travel throughout the space. If you have a busy countertop or intricate mosaic backsplash, the eye is going to stop at those accent pieces. There’s nothing wrong with having a focal point for the kitchen, but you need to be careful with how that impacts the feel of the room. In this case, you’ll be better off with a streamlined look with minimal interruptions.
Open the Kitchen to Other Rooms
This is a bit more complicated than the options above, but it is a way to brighten a dark kitchen. Make use of the light from other rooms and create a line of sight into the kitchen. You could either remove a wall completely or create a ‘window’ to the other room. This is a good option for load-bearing walls, and it doesn’t require an expensive support beam for construction. Opening a wall may not be an option for everyone, but if you have the opportunity, take it!
Completely Transform Your Dark Kitchen with a Full Kitchen Remodel
Want a fresh start for your dark kitchen? Our talented team is here to help. Get a full kitchen remodel that’s light, bright, and airy. We’ll take into account all the current struggles you face with your kitchen, and we’ll find innovative solutions to address them. Your custom kitchen will be designed with light in mind. If you want new cabinets and countertops only, consider our direct replacement program with a 10-day install time. You’ll have a beautiful new kitchen in no time at all!