21 Ways To Brighten Your Dark Kitchen

Kitchens are one of hardest working rooms in your home. Having good lighting is such a game changer! And often overlooked in a builder-basic home. Today I’m sharing 21 ways you can brighten up your dark kitchen, and most of them you could do in a weekend!

Use 3 Layers of Lighting

Every room needs three layers of lighting: general overhead, accent, and task lighting. Most kitchens only have one or two! Task lighting especially is often over-looked, and can instantly brighten under your cabinets to make your cooking and food prep so much easier.

1. Add task lighting.

Ensure that task areas like the sink, stove, and food prep areas have dedicated lighting.

  • Upper cabinet lights
  • Light above the stove
  • Lights above the island/peninsula
  • Light above the sink

The easiest lighting addition in a dark kitchen is task lighting under the upper cabinets. Install LED strips or puck lights underneath cabinets to illuminate the countertop and workspace.

Get rechargeable motion-sensor oneslow-profile plug in ones, or hardwired ones like these.

Or place a small lamp in a dark corner of the counter. You can even set it up on a timer so it turns on automatically!

2. Upgrade you general overhead lighting.

This is your main kitchen light. Make sure it’s bright enough, high enough, and has the right number of bulbs to brighten the whole space when needed. If you flip this light on and it doesn’t feel adequate, consider swapping it out. You could also install recessed lighting.

3. Sprinkle in some accent/decorative lighting.

This is softer, extra lighting layer that is the cherry on top to make a dark kitchen feel well lit and cozy. Add pendant lights over an island or peninsula, above open shelving, or even above art on the wall.

Playing with Color

Lighter colors reflect more light and make a space feel larger and more open. Consider your current kitchen and how the colors of your fixtures, appliances, cabinets, walls, and flooring are affecting the room.

4. Choose light-colored cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes.

5. Use light shades of paint colors for the walls.

6. Paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls to create the illusion of height.

7. Use light-colored flooring, such as light wood or tiles, to create a more spacious feel.

8. Replace black appliances with stainless steel.

9. Choose light-colored or sheer curtains to allow more natural light to filter into the room.

10. Layer a light colored runner rug.

11. Add a sink skirt with a bright fabric, if you have room for it.

12. Incorporate brighter decor on the counters or walls if you have room.

Demo/Remodel Ideas to Add Better Lighting

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel soon, here are some important lighting considerations you might add to your design plans.

13. Optimize the layout.

Arrange the cabinets, appliances, and furniture to avoid blocking natural light, promote good workflow throughout the space, and create an open and inviting feel for people to gather. Sometimes it’s not about the square footage of the room, but about how you’re utilizing it.

14. Add skylights or bigger windows.

I’m in love with conservatory vibes in a kitchen. If you’re remodeling, consider if you can add skylights or bigger windows to bring in more sunlight. This can be a game changer in creating a kitchen you love and want to spend time in!

15. Add open shelving.

If possible, replace some extra upper cabinets with open shelving. This can make the room look less cluttered and bulky.

More Tips To Brighten A Dark Kitchen

16. Declutter.

I know it may be tempting, but avoid putting anything on top of your kitchen cabinets if they don’t reach the ceiling. Additionally, clear off your countertops, tidy up your open shelves or glass cabinets with only the essentials or items that make the room feel more aesthetically pleasing.

17. Avoid black hardware.

Matte black hardware can look great in a modern kitchen, but if you’re looking to create a brighter look and feel, consider nickel or brass instead.

19. When in doubt, add plants.

Plants give a fresh sense of life to a space. Use a grow light bulb if needed to help your plant thrive.

20. Add a strategically placed candle.

Give the room a little glow as the day winds down.

21. Check your light bulb temperature.

The internet has lots of opinions about the right temperature light bulb in a home (here’s a great blog post about it!). I love a warm light bulb, but it could be making your space feel dark or dingy. Consider a brighter temperature light bulb to brighten the space a bit.

Do you have more ideas to brighten up dark kitchen? Share them below!

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