How to Brighten a Dark Kitchen
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Dark kitchens can be dramatic and moody, but they’re a little impractical due to the need for bright light for safety. Working with sharp knives and fast-moving appliances is always safer with appropriate amounts of light to prevent accidents. Yet there’s no need to completely remodel a kitchen just to lighten and brighten it up a little bit. Here are four ways to brighten up a dark kitchen with a minor amount of work.
Add Light Colored Paint
Light-colored paint on at least one wall of the kitchen or within the cabinets is one of the easiest ways to brighten up the space, especially if electrical issues limit adding further lighting. The more walls and ceiling space covered with light paint, the brighter the room will look. Painting is a project most homeowners can handle on their own, while installing new lighting or removing dark-colored materials requires the help of a professional. Try concentrating light colors on the walls opposite of light sources like windows to increase how much light reflects in the room.
Try a Reflective Polished Finish
Changing the finishes on important fixtures in the kitchen also changes how much light is reflected rather than absorbed. Darker and matte finishes absorb light, such as matte black or oil-rubbed bronze. Polished chrome and nickel reflect light instead, increasing the brightness of the room with only minor changes. Most kitchens primarily feature these metallic finishes on kitchen faucets, sinks, and light fixtures, so it only takes a few replacements to update the whole room and make it seem brighter.
Change the Lighting
Adding more lighting is obviously the best way to brighten up a dark kitchen, but it’s not always a reasonable option to wire in permanent fixtures. Other options for introducing more light without an electrician’s help or so much of a commitment include:
- Clamp lights that clip onto nearby cabinets or beams to temporary give you plenty of task lighting
- More attractive pendant lights that anchor to the ceiling with a few screws while the attached cord allows you to avoid hard-wiring
- New shades that direct existing lights down to the countertops rather than up against the ceiling, so it’s more applicable as spotlighting.
Stick to White and Reflective Furnishings
Don’t underestimate the importance of the color of furnishings and decor. Even the color of the sink or countertops affects the overall light or dark ambiance of the room. Bringing in a side table or appliance with a glossy finish and light color can brighten up a corner where there are no lighting options. When choosing a new sink for a dark kitchen, stick to farmhouse sinks in white porcelain and reflective polished chrome finishes.