12 Easy Ways to Brighten A Dark Kitchen

Not every room is blessed with natural light pouring in to brighten up space.

A kitchen, in particular, needs to be filled with light to allow maximum visibility.

You want your countertops to be illuminated enough for you to easily prepare your food.

That being said, there are ways you can brighten up a dark kitchen without undergoing major or expensive renovations.

Some of these include re-painting your walls or even adding a few key visuals to improve the kitchen’s aesthetic.

We have listed some of these below.

Hang Up More Mirrors in Your Kitchen

Interior designers have used this hack for ages to brighten up various areas of the house, including staircases.

Mirrors reflect light and make any room feel brighter and more spacious.

You can hang up a large mirror in your kitchen. If you do not have an empty space for a large mirror, you can opt for an array of small-sized decorative mirrors.

Placing them across windows will maximize the natural sunlight that enters the room.

Use Venetian Blinds Instead of Drapes or Curtains

Many kitchens have small windows as it is. Covering them with heavy or dark-colored curtains is not a good idea.

Not only does it obstruct the ventilation of air through the window, but it also reduces the amount of light in the kitchen.

The top of the window is the part where most natural light enters and reflects off the ceiling into the rest of the room.

Make sure that drapes or blinds do not block the top of the windows.

Try to avoid putting up curtains in your kitchen regardless, since they can also be a safety hazard by being at risk of catching fire.

However, if you want to maintain your privacy, it is best to opt for Venetian adjustable blinds. They can help you adjust the light in your kitchen.

Remove any other object, container, or pots that might be blocking the light from entering the kitchen.

Keeping your windows clean is equally as important since dust, dirt, and grease can reduce the light that passes through them.

Prefer A Matte Finish Over A Glossy Finish

The kitchen cabinets make up a significant portion of the kitchen. The material they are made of can affect how bright your kitchen appears.

Glossy cabinets or surfaces reflect bright light, often causing glares that can be distracting.

They make some areas look brighter and others darker.

Using a matte finish is a better option since it provides an even distribution of light, giving the kitchen a cleaner and more consistent finish.

Choose a Light Color to Paint Your Cabinets

Dark wood cabinets do have an aesthetic appeal, but they do end up making your kitchen look darker and feel smaller.

If you have a small, dark kitchen, re-painting your cabinets a lighter color can make a drastic difference.

White cabinets add a classy, sophisticated, and modern look. Your kitchen will look brighter, cleaner, and livelier with a white theme.

However, if an all-white theme is not your preferred style, you can always opt for lighter-colored shades.

Alternatively, you can use white in combination with another shade, but it is best to keep a consistent and simple theme.

Stick to two colors so that you don’t weigh down the room.

Re-Paint the Backsplash

The walls under your kitchen cabinet are more prone to getting stained or dirty since they are closest to the countertops where all your cooking prep takes place.

Re-painting the backsplash with a light hue can add a clean look to your kitchen, and make it seem brighter.

Many kitchens have a marble-tiled backsplash, which not only makes it easier to clean, but it allows for more light to be reflected.

A white backsplash can even brighten up the counter area, making it easier for you to prep your food.

Change Out Your Lightbulbs

Of all the rooms in your house, your kitchen is the most functional, so each aspect in it needs to be practical.

Cooking and preparing food requires a great deal of light, so you should make sure that the light bulbs in the kitchen are sufficient to meet the room’s needs.

For a kitchen, 80 to 100-watt lightbulbs are recommended.

If your light bulb is of a lower luminosity, you might want to consider changing them.

Install Lights Under Your Cabinets

Installing LED lights or fluorescent light bars under your kitchen cabinets is a very efficient way of brightening up the room.

They add a modern, chic look, and can improve the overall appearance of your kitchen.

Since the countertop is the most used area of your kitchen, LED lights under your cabinets will also illuminate the workbench, making it more convenient for you.

If you want to take it a step further, you add extra light fixtures above your cabinets, or even inside them if they are glass cabinets.

Transform Your Light Fixtures to Pendant Lights

High-rise ceilings make any room seem larger and airier.

However, if the light fixtures are too high up, they cannot sufficiently illuminate the entire room.

You can modify your ceiling light fixtures to become pendant lights, hanging over your counter or sink.

Apart from being functional, this is an attractive décor choice in modern kitchens.

Most lights can be transformed into pendant lights by adding an extension which you can easily buy at a home depot store.

This is a budget-friendly way of increasing the light in the room while allowing more light for your workspace.

Paint Your Ceiling a Lighter Color

If you like your walls to be colored instead of pure white, another way you can brighten up your kitchen is by painting your ceiling white.

A ceiling that is lighter than the rest of the walls reflects more light.

The natural light that comes through the window tends to hit the ceiling first. A white ceiling will reflect this light across the entire kitchen

Consider Stainless Steel Surfaces

Steel and metallic surfaces are great reflectors of light.

If you really want to make your kitchen bright, you can opt for metallic finishes on your cabinets. Steel countertops are durable and easy to clean, which adds to their advantages.

However, if you want to keep a different aesthetic, there are other ways to incorporate stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen.

You can buy a stainless-steel refrigerator, an oven, or even something as small as a silver teapot can make a difference.

Apart from steel, you can incorporate other reflective surfaces in your kitchen. For example, a touch of gold, bronze, or copper to the walls or appliances.

De-Clutter by Adding Wooden Shelves

A messy kitchen will tend to look darker and more congested. Organizing your counters and surfaces will help make the kitchen look roomier.

Wooden shelves are an excellent addition to introduce some warmth into the room.

They give you compartments to neatly place appliances and cutlery and give the room a lighter feel.

You can even use this space to add objects that add color or brightness to the kitchen.

White or blonde wood furniture is great to make the kitchen appear brighter, while also adding a classy and contemporary look.

Add Colors and Visual Distractions

A pop of color in any room acts as a visual distraction. In a dark kitchen, you can add a bright vase, a vibrant painting, or colorful containers to bring the attention to them.

A focal visual point such as a fancy light fixture or decorative pieces can make the room seem livelier and more fun, rather than dark and dull.

Alternatively, you could construct a bright gleaming island in the center of your kitchen.

Not only will this brighten up the room and give you more counter space, but it will also act as a focal visual point for the kitchen.

Keep in mind, adding too much to your kitchen will only weigh it down. Save your large paintings for a more spacious room that already has enough natural light.

The more you add to your kitchen, the darker it will get. So, it is important to maintain that balance.


Optical illusions play a big role in home décor, and minor additions or improvements can create a whole new outlook for your kitchen.

You do not need to have a magazine-worthy kitchen in order for it to be bright.

Incorporating lighter colors and a few functional aspects such as steel surfaces and mirrors can make your kitchen brighter.

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