Without proper lighting in your kitchen, you could potentially hurt yourself with a knife. Not to mention the gloomy mood it might put you in to spend so much time in a dark space. To save your fingertips and spirits, try some of these dark kitchen fixes to brighten up your space and your mood.
It’s almost universally acknowledged that mirrors are a small, dark room best friend. Mirrors not only make space appear bigger, but it reflects the light that is there and makes the room brighter. Luckily, mirrors come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and designs, so you’re sure to find one that’s a perfect fit for your kitchen.
Use Brighter Bulbs
Whether you use CFLs or LEDs, bulbs come in different brightness options. It can be as easy as changing out your bulbs for more intense bulbs to lighten up space. You might also want to consider a whiter light rather than warmer or orange-toned lights. Whiter light appears brighter and is better for working with tools, while orange-tinted light is better suited for mood lighting or bedroom lighting.
If you do nothing else on this list, at least install some under-cabinet lighting. This doesn’t have to be done by a professional and can even be a cheap fix. There are plenty of options on Amazon that you can apply to your cabinets yourself, and it will make a world of difference. Under-cabinet lighting is considered task lighting, which is just lighting explicitly placed for a particular task. In this case, under-cabinet lighting will brighten the countertop and make chopping, cooking, or brewing coffee that much easier.
Add More Color
Monochromatic designs are soothing and appealing to many of us; however, when a room is dark and struggles with feeling bright and cheery, it might be best to add more color to the kitchen. This could be a happy yellow, a vibrant blue, or a cheeky pink. Add a bit of color in the form of kitchen towels, fruit bowls on the counter, unique pendant lights, or colorful backsplash. Just a bit of color can add layer and brightness into a kitchen and make it not feel so drab.
Add Metallic Details
We’ve probably all been blinded by the hood of a silver car on a sunny day, and we can take that same idea and apply it in our kitchens. While we don’t suggest you park your car in there, adding some metallic details can allow the light to bounce around and brighten up space. This could be in the form of metallic backsplash tiles, stainless steel appliances, or metallic artwork you hang on the wall. It also adds a bit of sparkle!
Paint Cabinets a Lighter Color
This is by no means a small afternoon project, but repainting dark cabinets can completely change the look and feel of a kitchen. Without changing anything else, painting dark wood cabinets a bright white can bring so much more light and space to a kitchen. You could even consider other colors like light gray, powder blue, or maybe even a bold yellow.
Install a Light Colored Backsplash
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of a metallic backsplash, but you could also go for a brightly colored backsplash. White and yellow are excellent colors to brighten up the back wall, and with the added under-cabinet lighting you installed, you’re kitchen will be bright enough for any task! You might even consider glass tiles to take advantage of the color and reflective properties it has.
Full Kitchen Remodel
If all this fails and your kitchen is doomed to be dark and gloomy, there’s always the option for a complete kitchen remodel. While this is the most extensive and most significant investment of all these options, it is the best way to transform a drab kitchen into a cheery and bright place for cooking, baking, and morning coffee routines. Your contractor can help you tear down walls, add more lighting, and might even open the space to the rest of your home so you can take advantage of all it has to offer.
Sometimes it’s all about making do with what you have, and all of these options will take the available light you have and bump it up. Whether you add mirrors, metallic details, and brighter bulbs, adding at least one of these will make it less risky to chop those veggies. But, if you’re ready to take the leap and dive into a complete kitchen remodel, we’re here to help you.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.