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How to brighten up a dark kitchen

Whether your kitchen has a darker look with deep cabinets and décor, or you’re working with a space that lacks much in the way of natural light, it’s still possible to brighten things up - and it’s all about the details.

So, to help you let the light in, our design experts have put together this useful guide on how to brighten up a dark kitchen with accesories and décor features.

Integra Hoxton Kitchen from Magnet available in metallic midnight blue. Smooth slab doors and a painted effect finish.

What makes a kitchen dark?

Kitchens can end up feeling a bit on the dark side for multiple reasons. Sometimes, there’s simply a lack of natural light in the room, or maybe the space is missing good artificial light that works in its favour.

Alternatively, certain style choices can darken a kitchen too. If you have dark worktops, walls, cabinets or flooring, you’ll need to think about the best lighting for your space. If you get it right, the ambience can be perfect.

Luna Kitchen from Magnet. An affordable handless look with integrated J Pull doors for a stylish and modern look.
Tatton Kitchen by Magnet. A beautiful easy to use kitchen with traditional features with stylish modern touches.

The benefits of creating a brighter kitchen

Whether you create a brighter kitchen through adding variations of light or through changing up your colour scheme, there are plenty of benefits that come with a lighter space. Bright kitchens are elegant, classic and timeless while also evoking a sense of calm and tranquillity. Light helps to enhance and complement natural features like stone and wood accents, as well as opening up a space.

Did you know that brightness and light can also enhance your mood? Research shows that certain bright colours are known to boost mood in different ways. For example, yellow lifts energy, while green creates feelings of calm and reduces stress.

How to brighten up a dark kitchen

Brightening up a dark kitchen all depends on the space you’re working with.

You might be able to do it with small improvements, or you may decide to go all out and make some bigger home renovation decisions. Read through our expert tips and see how each idea might work with your kitchen. With just a few changes, you could quickly go from dark to light and bright.


Add natural light with windows or doors

You might want to consider adding natural light to your space with additional or larger windows or doors. Depending on the space you have, this could result in some building work. From Velux windows or skylights to on-trend bi-fold or Crittall doors, elevating your kitchen design with a new feature like this can instantly flood the space with natural light while adding a beautiful new design feature.

Integra Ascoli kitchen by Magnet. Matt finish handless door with trim brushed in aluminium for a high end finish.

Enhance natural light with clever artificial light

According to Lizzie Beesley, our Head of Design: “Well-placed lighting can transform a kitchen space, and there are plenty of lighting choices to look at when it comes to deciding how to brighten up a dark kitchen. Over-cabinet and under-cabinet lighting adds general light to the space and is great at highlighting certain areas of the kitchen and creating ambience. Plinth lighting is also ideal to brighten a darker floor and add dimension to the kitchen.”

Pendant lighting can be an elegant and on-trend choice, allowing you to add specific light pockets in places where you’re lacking overhead illumination. This works well in kitchens with high ceilings, bringing your lighting closer where you need it.”

Energy-saving bulbs, like low heat-emission LEDs, will also help you lighten up your space while keeping things eco-friendly.

Add colour with appliances

“A popular trend is to add splashes of bright colour by choosing colourful appliances as part of a darker kitchen aesthetic. Adding a pop of colour in this way brightens up your space instantly without the need for more high-investment changes,” says Lizzie.

If you’re lacking inspiration for how to lighten up a dark kitchen with accessories, browse our range of Samsung Bespoke and Smeg appliances. Is bright colour a little outside of your comfort zone? You could also create this aesthetic by choosing metallic-finish appliances to reflect the light you do have in the kitchen and create a contemporary and polished finish.

Winchester kitchen by Magnet. A wood grain effect affordable alternative to solid timber built from hardwearing MDF and available in 5 colours.

Consider your hardware

The hardware in your kitchen can play an important and underestimated role in the overall look of your space.

Lizzie says: “If you have darker cabinetry, you can use lighter or coloured taps and handles to add a bit of brightness. Brass is a popular choice in many on-trend kitchens today. From bar handles to simple round knobs, switching up your door furnishings can be a simple way to create light in a darker kitchen.”

Use kitchen mirrors

Have you ever thought about adding mirrors to your kitchen design? Reflecting both natural and artificial light, mirrors also create the illusion of more space, and can be a great choice in darker or more compact kitchens. This can be a quick and inexpensive but impressive solution.

Add colour or pattern with splashbacks and backboards

If you’re working with darker cabinets, adding a statement splashback or vibrant backboard is a clever way to inject some brightness – while easy and efficiently updating your space.

Whether you opt for a light palette or a rich, colourful detailed pattern, this can create a beautiful statement feature in a darker kitchen and instantly add brightness and light. You can consider anything from marble-effect styles to on-trend patterns and tiles, depending on the style of your kitchen.

We hope you found our brightening tips useful and will use them to elevate your darker kitchen. Whether you need a flash of artificial light or a pop of statement colour, a darker kitchen can become a lighter, brighter and more inviting space with just a few simple adjustments. For more kitchen ideas and advice visit our blog. Or, book in a free design consultation with our friendly experts if you’re considering a kitchen makeover.