6 Ways to Brighten Up a DARK Kitchen

Posted by Glenwood Custom Cabinetry Glenwood Custom Cabinetry
For a while there it seemed that the sign of quality in a new home was a beautiful Cherry Kitchen.  Every contractor and builder seemed to believe that Cherry wood in a rich stain was the sign of an rich design with expensive products.  ....but one of the things they overlooked when installing the gorgeous wood was to balance the dark tones with some other form of light.  I love the warmth of a rich Cherry or Walnut wood in a dark stained finish, but there's got to be a sense of balance in the space or it can consume the room.

Here are a few ways to lighten up an otherwise dark room:

1.  Windows.  Despite the time of day that this image was taken, the room appears more spacious because of the windows.  Not only are they ample, which will provide a tremendous amount of sunlight during the day, they are also framed out in larger than usual casings, painted in a bright semi-gloss paint.  The white color of these larger moldings obviously increases the "light factor" but so does the finish:  Semi-gloss paint reflects the light in the room adding even more light.

2.  Open Spaces.  The other thing that's helpful in this kitchen is also the abundance of open or glass-door cabinets.  In the island, by simply placing a few white ceramic platters it draws the eye to the space and accentuates the presence of space there.  ....Left and right of the rangehood the cabinets fixed with glass doors highlight the homeowners' stemware and china collection while increasing the light values on that wall.

3.  Wall Color.  ...so you're not ready to start major demolition to exterior walls for the sake of additional windows, how about rethinking your paint choices?  This image shows the impact of a can of paint.   ....and while I'm not sure it's my favorite color for this room, it definitely brightens the space and attempts to balance out the weight of the left side of the room.

I think if I was going to inject that seafoam color into my dark kitchen, I might do it this way.  4.  Reflective Backsplash  Here the color is in the form of a glass tile backsplash.  The color visually separates the dark base cabinets from the dark uppers and the reflective quality of the glass also contributes to the brightness of the space.
5.  Countertops

This design feels light and open because of their choice of a lighter countertop, but also because the countertop material is void of design.  Its simplicity keeps the kitchen serene as well as light.  ...and carrying the countertop up the walls a few inches adds to the visual height of this contrasting color, breaking it up further.  Lastly, the height of the uppers also facilitates the brightness as by stopping short of the ceiling they were able to add just a little more light (via paint on the walls) before reaching the ceiling.  (and once again the designer added glass (this time frosted) to the uppers to contribute to the light of the space as well)

...and of course there's the easiest way to lighten a kitchen:  6.  LIGHTING:

I've lost count of how many lights are in this kitchen!!  3 pendants over the island, (note the shine of the countertop reflects some of that light back up again)  6 recessed cans overhead (that I can see!) for a well illuminated walkway...
Under cabinetry lighting beneath the uppers, and halogen pucks in the hood.
The stainless further reflects the light, as does the cabinetry which is finished in a high-gloss or lacquer finish.

What could have been a dungeon of darkness is a beacon of light!!