The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It is supposed to be a warm and welcoming environment. A place where friends and family can gather, dine, and enjoy one another’s company. Unfortunately, small kitchens are often dark, which can make them seem smaller and less inviting. Even if you are unable to do something about the size of your kitchen, there are ways that you can brighten up the space to bring back that warm and inviting sense, allowing your kitchen to once again become the heart of your home.
Lighten the Walls
One of the simplest, and least expensive ways to create depth and a more open feeling in your kitchen is by lightening the color of the walls. If the room is currently covered in 1980′s wallpaper, you’ll want to start by using a wallpaper stripping solution. If the walls are just painted, it might be time for a fresh coat in a lighter color, but remember to wash the walls first, so that the new paint can adhere properly. Energizing colors, such as yellow, blue, or light green are excellent options for opening up the space and adding some natural light. You could also opt for a mosaic tile backsplash to create a little more depth. Choose reflective tiles, such as glass, so that light continues to bounce around the room.
Add Reflective Surfaces
As was mentioned with the backsplash, having reflective surfaces in the kitchen allow light to continue moving through the space. This creates a brighter space, which in turn creates the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is. Great options for adding reflective surfaces include stainless steel appliances, cabinetry hardware, and adding glass inserts to your cabinets. Choosing clear glass can have an added impact, as you will be able to see to the back of your cabinets, which helps create depth in the kitchen.
Another way to brighten up a dark, small kitchen is with new countertops. Granite countertops are especially effective in this aspect. Although slightly more expensive than just painting your walls, granite countertops also provide many other benefits, such as increasing the value of your home, and being easy to maintain and very durable. Choosing a glossy finish on your granite countertops can help add to the reflective surfaces aspect, which again increases the amount of light that moves throughout the kitchen, making it feel more brighter and much larger.
While cabinetry can be relatively expensive, there are ways to brighten up your kitchen with the cabinets you already have. Sanding your old cabinets down and then repainting them a lighter color can really bring a freshness to the space. White is an excellent, and trendy color for cabinets. Consider purchasing new hardware that adds a reflective touch, and the whole project will serve as a brightening factor. If you have the money in your budget, purchasing new cabinetry works also, but remember to choose a light wood or white, and consider adding some glass fronts.
It is possible that over the years your floor has darkened. This is especially true if you currently have laminate. Even though you scrub them on a regular basis, they tend to wear and become dingy. This can also happen with hardwood floors. In the event that you have laminate, you might want to consider replacing the floor with a light colored hardwood or tile, such as granite or ceramic. Remember to choose a light color to enhance the illusion of more space than what you really have. In addition, choose smaller-sized tiles. This will allow you to need more tiles, which makes it seem like your floor is much larger than it really is.
Lighting is, perhaps, the key to really brightening up a small, dark kitchen. This is especially true if your kitchen is limited on natural light from windows. You want to add a combination of task lighting, general lighting, and ambient lighting. Task lighting refers to lights used in a specific area, such as where food prep occurs. Under-cabinet lighting is a great example of task lighting. General lighting refers to the lights that come on when you flip the main switch. This would be your overhead light fixtures. Ambient lighting is lighting that helps bring the room together. This could be lights in a china cabinet to brighten up your displays, or even lights used to highlight a particular part of the room, such as an art piece. If you are unsure about what types of lights work for your space, talk to a professional light designer.
As you have learned there are some simple, and relatively inexpensive ways that you can brighten up your kitchen. Take the time to plan each aspect, from lighting and flooring to new cabinetry and granite countertops. You want everything to coordinate with the wall color and have the maximum impact on turning your kitchen back into a place you really want to be.