How To

How to Make Your Kitchen Look Brighter

Kitchens are known for being some of the brightest rooms in homes—or, at least, they should be. If your kitchen is dark without plenty of natural or overhead light, that’s a problem. Dark kitchens make cooking, food prep, and eating much less enjoyable. So, how do you make your kitchen look brighter?


1. Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

Wait… aren’t we talking about kitchens and not bathrooms? Yep, you’re still on the right blog post. Mirrors are usually associated with bathrooms, as well as bedrooms and common spaces. However, a mirror in any room makes it feel more open, so why not put one up on your kitchen wall? If you hang one opposite a window it creates the illusion of even more open space!


Low on wall space? Add a lightweight mirror on the side of the refrigerator or cabinet. Alternatively, add a mirror in the hallway or dining area that looks into the kitchen. Mirrors in these areas still add to the illusion of a bigger, brighter kitchen.


2. Add “Overhead” Lighting

Overhead lighting is incredibly expensive to add to a home after it’s built. If you’re on a budget, or you just want to make your kitchen feel brighter more quickly, then add a clamp-on lamp to available shelving for some extra light. These can also be screwed into walls to give you more options for placement.


Most people don’t use the top of the refrigerator very much, so think about adding a cool lamp up here and plugging it into the closest outlet controlled by a light switch.


3. Brighten Up Your Bulbs

The fluorescent lighting that comes in most rentals is notorious for being unflattering and dim. Change out your bulbs for “bright white” or “daylight white.” Another option is simply to increase the wattage. Bulbs less than 60 watts just don’t give enough light to brighten up a dim kitchen—80−100 is better.

4. Bring Down Recessed Lighting

Many homes come standard with recessed lighting, especially modern builds. However, if this recessed lighting isn’t enough for the light you want in your cooking and dining space, lower it!


All you need is a conversion kit to change a recessed light into a pendant light, which allows the lamp and bulb to hang down and shine light closer to where you want it.

5. Utilize the Under-Cabinet Space

The space underneath cabinets is underutilized—especially if there isn’t lighting there! You can install a variety of under-cabinet lights, such as fluorescent or LED bars or puck lights, as a way to get some extra light on your food prep spaces.


An additional benefit of under-cabinet lighting is that you can use it as a night light when you shut down the rest of the house. If anyone gets up in the middle of the night or wakes up before dawn, these under-cabinet lights aren’t as forceful for adjusting eyes.


6. Decorate with Your Favorite (Bright) Colors

A kitchen is a fun place to add some pops of color to brighten your space. There’s so much to choose from with this idea:

  • Artwork
  • Accent wall(s)
  • Backsplash
  • Dishes
  • Floor mats
  • Plants
  • Cabinet doors
  • Drawer pulls
  • Curtains or window treatments

Any of these add visual distraction and extra color to brighten up a too-dark space. The best colors to brighten up a dark kitchen are white, yellow, light or bright blue, light or bright green, and bright red.

7. Create Contrast

The eye enjoys looking at pleasing contrast. Use your decorative pieces or color choices to create spaces that draw the eye, especially if these are near well-lit places.


Paint using two contrasting colors (e.g., yellow and blue). Wallpaper on the main wall or below the ceiling with an interesting pattern. Add a tile backsplash (or a stick-on one!) to draw in the eye. If your design style and abilities can handle it, do all of the above and more!

8. The More Metallic the Merrier

Metallic spaces are common in kitchens—sinks, appliances, even pots, and pans! This is doubly beneficial when trying to brighten up a dark culinary area because metallic spaces and objects reflect light.


If you can invest in an upgrade, use stainless steel appliances. When you’re replacing your sink, opt for a copper farmhouse style that reflects natural light beautifully. Use the space over a kitchen island to hang copper or steel pots and pans. Adding metallic pieces doesn’t have to be expensive, though: choose some cool metallic art or plant pots to create the same effect.

9. Stay Away from Dark Wood

Dark cabinets and drawers make a kitchen feel smaller and more cramped. Brightening up these facades works wonders! Replacing drawers and cabinets doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, either. Choose to simply replace the doors and drawer fronts, or just sand and re-stain them with a lighter finish. Cabinets and drawers take well to varied paint colors, too, so you could choose a white, yellow, or bright red shade that strays completely from the classic wood!

10. Choose a Bright Backsplash

This idea was mentioned in other sections; however, it’s so effective that we’re mentioning it by itself, too. The backsplash usually contains the main area of the kitchen: the stove, sink, and main counter prep area. Since this is arguably where people spend the majority of their kitchen time, it makes sense to prioritize brightening it up!


Backsplashes are often installed with tile. If you’re not up for a big DIY project and investment, though, there are more budget-friendly choices. Choose a stick-on backsplash (they come in countless designs!) or paint your own with a fun pattern and shade.


A Bright Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

A bright room brightens anyone’s mood. Light (or the feeling of brightness) makes monotonous chores such as dishes and cleaning a pleasant part of your day. Use some of these tips to brighten up your kitchen and enjoy the improved positive atmosphere. Find the best deals when upgrading your kitchen on Spoken and never overpay for quality furniture again!