Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Easy Ways to Lighten a Dark Kitchen

I recently had a reader email me asking for tips on lighting up her dark kitchen.  She loves the look of white kitchens but unfortunately any major changes are not in their budget right now. 


As you can see the kitchen isn't horrible it's just really dark. The cabinets are clean and modern and the floor is at least light. 

If you don't have the means to give your kitchen a complete overhaul there are still a lot of easy changes you can do. 
1. I love the idea of using a beautiful tea towel as art. Something white with a little color will really brighten up the kitchen. 
2. If any of my clients ever have windows in the kitchen I always recommend installing a roman shade. A window treatment is a great way to add some pattern and color to the space distracting the eye from all the brown going on. Since this kitchen has all warm tones I chose a blue fabric to add a cooler feel to the space. Roman shades can be pricey so if you want to save some money you can make a faux roman shade using this tutorial
3. The easiest thing to do to lighten up the space is to add as many white accessories as possible. White will help to break up the brown. White serving pieces could also be added to top the kitchen cabinets.
4. I think adding crystal knobs to all the cabinets would be amazing.  
5. These canisters are bright and cheery and would really help bring the kitchen to life. 
6. I have patterned bowls displayed in my kitchen and I love them!
7. Because the kitchen appliances are all dark it would be great to brighten the oven up with a fun dishtowel
8. Although the client doesn't want to do any painting I'm going to strongly recommend painting the tile backsplash. I love this tutorial. I really feel like transforming the backsplash will help break up the darkness of the cabinets and countertops. 

What would you do to lighten up this dark kitchen? 

22 comments:

  1. Hello, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

    RES 342 Week 1

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  2. I know the client doesn't want to paint...but man, I would be dying to paint the cabinets and put some new hardware on them! Pretty fabrics that you picked out.

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  3. So I have the same problem and have added colorful towels and roman shades as well. Another solution is to add a fun kitchen rug! You could do something with color and pattern, or (my solution) a sisal rug with a bold, thick fabric border. It's a nice way to break up all the brown as well.

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  4. This is such a great post! I love all of your ideas, and they are ideal for people who are renting too.

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  5. If she can't paint the backsplash she could at least change out the outlet covers to a lighter shade, its really distracting right now!

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  6. Thanks for this! I have cherry cabinets and black appliances and have been struggling with the same thing. We can't afford to replace the appliances yet, and as much as I love white cabinetry, we paid extra to upgrade to the cherry and I would never paint over them -- they're just too pretty!

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  7. Love all these ideas! Especially the crystal knobs! So excited to start fixing her up! Thanks so much! And completely agree about the outlet covers as mentioned above.

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  8. By the time you invest in the accessories, you might as well buy 2 gallons of paint and go at those cabinets! The backsplash will be fine then (as long as you change those horrendous outlet covers - bugging me!!).

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  9. I see why the owner does not want to paint the cabinets - that is a huge undertaking! We have cabinets that are not quite as dark as hers and stainless appliances, but our fridge is black because it came from our old house and was in very good shape so we did not want to spend the money to replace it. What I have done to lighten things up were new white knobs, BM's Rich Cream on the walls and we did light colored slipcovers on the kitchen chairs, and white plantation shutters on the windows. Totally changed the look. Also, new light fixtures (no black, no oil rubbed bronze) go a long way!

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    1. I love all these ideas! I have dark cabinets too and I think accessorizing can go a long way to keep things light! Slipcovers on the chairs is a fantastic idea.

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  10. Great tips! I would say take some of the doors off the upper cabinets. That way you can put something like white dishes or serving pieces in there and they'll act like bright spots in the room!

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    1. Yes! That is such a great tip. It will also be a fun opportunity to put pretty dishes on display.

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    2. Love the idea of taking off some doors to show off pretty dishes!

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  11. Thanks for sharing my easy no-sew Roman shade tutorial! Love your tips, especially the one about adding white accessories. It definitely does make a huge difference! :)

    XO,
    Laura
    Inspiration for Moms

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  12. Great advice, and I love your finds! Thanks for sharing.
    Suppose Anything Goes

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  13. I'm also in on the idea of adding a fun rug or runner, and on doing something with the backsplash. I think that would completely change the look of the whole kitchen. Even just an inexpensive, clean, simple tile. I'm intrigued by this painting the backsplash idea though too. I'd be interested to see what it looks like in person.

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  14. I second the painting of the back splash. It was the first think I thought of as the dark tile really jumps out and it makes the room so cluttered looking. You gave out some great ideas. Could she put glass in some of the upper cabinet doors and maybe add lights to high light them. That could lighten up the room a bit more.

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  15. Have her report back so we can see the AFTER!

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  16. Thanks for this post! All these things are so cute, I am going to make a shade for my kitchen with that fabric now, it is perfect! My cabinets look a lot like those, and I have wasted so much time wishing they were white. I can't paint them right now, so these suggestions are really helpful. I did buy a cute rug that brightened it up, and I have a plant in a bright little pot on the window sill.

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  17. I have the same problem!! I just don't have a backsplash and have been having a hard time finding one that will lighten up my space and still go good with my cabinets. I agree though, accessorizing will lighten the space a lot! Kristen, I think you need to do two posts on this!

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  18. Such great input from your readers! Great suggestion about taking off some of the cabinet fronts. Painting a backsplash could be disastrous if you don't have a semi-smooth to smooth tile {which the tutorial did have} I would highly recommend doing a test run on sample before doing a whole kitchen. It's such a great idea though! Adding a rug and knobs will make a huge difference. Great post Kirsten.

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  19. Thanks for featuring my tutorial, Kirsten. I honestly didn't know if I could successfully paint my tile backsplash, but I realized I had nothing to lose by trying it. The follow-up is that 18 months later, it still looks perfect. So glad I did it! You gave your reader some great suggestions, and since we just moved (again) to a rental where I can't paint my dark cabinets, I'll be using some of your ideas, too. Thanks so much!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means a lot. I try and answer any questions directly in the comment section so if you ask a question come back to look for my answer. However it is much easier for me to answer questions through email at kirstenkrason@gmail.com.

Have a Great Day!

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