In an ideal world, we’d all be blessed with huge, magazine-worthy kitchens with windows and natural light galore. In reality, we do the best with what we have and sometimes that means using every trick in the book to add brightness to a dark, cave-like cooking space. Let these kitchen transformation tips be your guiding light (we know you see what we did there).
There’s a reason why design pros turn to white paint to lighten a dark room – but they often take the concept even further. White cabinets, white countertops and white tiles will all contribute to a brightening effect. As Matthew McConaughey’s decorator cousin likes to say, “all white, all white, all white.”
Dark wood cabinets in a light-starved space aren’t doing anyone any favours. Replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with white ones (or go the DIY route with a can of white paint), marvel at your kitchen’s transformation and wonder why you didn’t do it years ago.
Related: How to Transform a Dated Century-Old Home Into a Light-Drenched Dream
This one might seem obvious, but using brighter lightbulbs in kitchen light fixtures will make a world of difference – and you’d be amazed how often this little “trick” is overlooked. Choose the highest allowable wattage for each fixture and let those bulbs work their electrical magic.
Make a Splash
Adding a white backsplash to the space under your kitchen cabinets will go a long way towards brightening the room. In luxe marble or classic subway tile, it’s a small change that will make a huge impact.
Related: 24 Small Kitchen Design Ideas You’ll Wish You Tried Sooner
Adding pops of colour to your kitchen decor scheme isn’t just a great way to inject some personality into the space, it’ll also brighten the room significantly, especially if you choose a bold shade. Stick to one or two colours to keep the look cohesive.
Related: This Light-Filled Vancouver Home Takes Design Cues From its Scenic Surroundings
No one’s going to notice that your kitchen has no natural light when they’re too busy staring at a gorgeously bold design feature. Create a stunning focal point – like these eye-catching tiles or a vintage chandelier – and accentuate the positive.
It’s the oldest decorating trick in the book: add a mirror to any room and suddenly you’ve created the illusion of a light, airy space. Why not use it to strategic effect in the kitchen? Hang one directly across from any windows and soak in all that extra brightness.
Come on Down
Rather than recessed lighting, opt for pendant lights, which will quite literally bring the light closer to you (and to your kitchen workspace, where you’re presumably working with sharp knives and could use all the extra brightness you can get).
Related: 20 Black Kitchen Ideas That Will Inspire You to Go Dark
To combat a dark, claustrophobic space, you’ve got to lean heavily into airy and open – which is precisely where open shelving comes in. The white subway tiles behind these shelves add to the sunny feel of the room; just keep clutter at bay to maintain that clean, bright vibe.
Wood You Rather
The danger of an all-white space is that, without other elements of visual interest, it can feel cold or even sterile. Add warmth and texture to your kitchen – while still keeping things light – with a mix of white and blond wood furniture.
If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen window, do yourself a favour and don’t cover it up with curtains or sheers. Dare to go bare and you might be surprised by how much extra natural light shines through – even if it means your neighbours can see you stirring steel-cut oats in your jammies.
If dark wood floors are making your dimly lit kitchen seem gloomy, break up the sombre surface with a gleaming white island. Whether you go for a custom built-in or opt for something more budget-friendly, the result will be a lighter, brighter space.
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