How do you make a small dark kitchen look brighter and bigger?

When it comes to home design, the kitchen is one of the most important and heavily-used rooms in the house. But if your kitchen is small and lacks natural light, it can feel cramped, gloomy, and uninviting. However, there are many ways to make a small dark kitchen look brighter and more spacious. In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips and design ideas to transform your small kitchen into a bright and welcoming space.

Table of Contents

1. Use Light Colors

2. Install Lighting Fixtures

3. Use Mirrors and Glass

4. Declutter Your Space

5. Upgrade Your Appliances

6. Create an Outdoor Kitchen

7. Conclusion

Use Light Colors

One of the simplest and most effective ways to brighten up a dark kitchen is by using light colors. If you have dark cabinets or countertops, consider painting them in a lighter shade like white or cream. Lighter colors reflect light and create the illusion of more space, giving your kitchen a brighter and more open feel. You can also experiment with light-colored flooring, tiles or wallpaper to add warmth and brightness to your kitchen.

If you’re not ready to commit to a full paint job, try adding pops of color through decorative accents like curtains, rugs, or artwork. As suggested by TheKitchn, “If you feel as if your too-dark kitchen is past the point of no return, channel your inner Bob Ross and add a few happy splotches of color. This might be a bright vase, a curtain, lights, a backsplash, or a piece of art. This visual distraction will brighten up your space.”

Install Lighting Fixtures

Lighting plays a crucial role in making your kitchen appear brighter and more spacious. A well-lit kitchen creates a warm and inviting ambiance, making it a more comfortable space to spend time in. If your kitchen lacks natural light, installing lighting fixtures is an easy way to improve the illumination of your space.

When it comes to lighting, consider adding several different types of fixtures to create a layered effect. According to The Kitchn, having “multiple sources of light add warmth, illuminate dark corners, and add to the coziness of the space. Having several lighting sources also makes me feel as if I have a larger space because I can change the mood with the flick of a switch.”[4]

For overhead lighting, try using LED lights that emit a natural white light instead of yellowish incandescent bulbs. You can also add task lighting underneath your cabinets or above your sink to brighten up work areas. Installing pendant lights over an island or dining area can also add an extra touch of elegance and style to your kitchen.

Use Mirrors and Glass

Mirrors and glass are great for creating the illusion of a bigger and brighter space. By reflecting light and bouncing it around the room, mirrors and glass can make your kitchen seem more open and airy. Consider adding a mirrored backsplash to reflect light and create a sense of depth. If you have upper cabinets, consider replacing the solid doors with glass inserts or open shelving to create a more spacious feel.

Declutter Your Space

A cluttered kitchen can make even the most spacious of kitchens feel cramped and small. To make your small kitchen appear bigger, decluttering is key. Take some time to remove any unnecessary items from your countertops and cabinets. Consider using space-saving organizers, like pull-out shelves or stackable containers, to free up more storage space. By keeping your kitchen clean and uncluttered, the space will feel more open and inviting.

Upgrade Your Appliances

Old, outdated appliances can make your kitchen feel dreary and uninviting. Upgrading your appliances to newer, more energy-efficient models can not only boost your home’s value but also create a brighter and more modern look. Stainless steel appliances, for example, reflect light and create a sleek, streamlined look.

Create an Outdoor Kitchen

If you have limited indoor space, consider creating an outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen can provide additional space for cooking and entertaining, as well as plenty of natural light. With the right design and setup, an outdoor kitchen can be just as functional and stylish as an indoor one. You can add features like a grill, sink, and countertop for a complete outdoor kitchen experience.


A small dark kitchen can feel limiting and uninviting, but with some creativity and planning, it’s possible to transform it into a bright and open space. By using light colors, installing lighting fixtures, incorporating mirrors and glass, decluttering your space, upgrading your appliances, or even creating an outdoor kitchen, you can make your small kitchen feel bigger and more welcoming. With these practical tips and design ideas, you’ll be able to create a kitchen that you’ll love spending time in for years to come.

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