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How to increase natural light in your kitchen

Natural light - Kitchen island with pendant lighting

Even if most of your home has good lighting, having one room with less light or dim natural lighting is less than ideal – even more so when it’s your kitchen. Natural lighting is one of the most desirable features in a home – a study by Origin Global even revealed that the number one feature people look for in a new home is natural light. However, kitchens can often be lacking in this, especially if they’re north-facing or located at the back of a house and only get sun for part of the day – and a dark, dingy kitchen can really bring a home down.

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and when you spend so much time cooking, eating, socialising and entertaining, it’s important to make sure it’s a space you want to spend time in! So, if you’re lacking in natural light, read on to find out how to make the most of your space, and how to make your kitchen feel light and airy.

Use bright, light colours on your walls

The best (and easiest!) way to increase the natural lighting in your kitchen is to paint the walls in a bright, light colour. Pure white has the highest level of light reflectance, so any natural light that comes into your kitchen will be reflected and amplified. If your kitchen is dark or dingy and you need to increase natural light, unfortunately, you might have to forgo a dark, dramatic kitchen or statement feature walls – keep it light, airy and simple with white or a chic light grey.

Bright coloured kitchen wall

Use a glossier paint

Following on from the previous point – if you do go for a brighter, lighter wall paint, go for a glossier finish. This doesn’t mean you have to go for full gloss, which can cause glare, but maybe consider going one step glossier than what you currently have – so if you like matte, try eggshell or semi-gloss, all the way up to regular gloss if you’re really having a natural light problem.

Gloss kitchen

Choose reflective surfaces

Everyone knows the age-old maxim – mirrors make a room feel bigger. As cliché as it may be, it’s true – and in the same way, reflective surfaces also help to increase natural light in a room! Natural light will bounce from reflective surfaces and make your kitchen feel brighter, as well as bigger by doubling the space.

We think mirrors are a great idea for wall decoration, especially if you have a kitchen-diner with space around a dining table. But if your kitchen doesn’t have the wall space to spare, there are alternatives – one of our favourite options is using glass tiles or high-gloss ceramic tiles on your splashback and units. This will add a reflective gleam to keep your kitchen well-lit by natural light, as well as looking stylish and super on-trend.

Reflective kitchen surfaces

Polished floors

It’s easy to overlook when it comes to keeping your kitchen well-lit, but your flooring can play a big part in accentuating all of your natural lighting. A dark or matte slate finish floor will absorb light, but a lighter, shiny flooring like ceramic, light coloured wood or a high-gloss vinyl will also help to emphasise natural light. Plus, bonus – shiny surfaces are easy to sweep and keep clean. Look into a lighter finish like a milk-painted wood or a versatile vinyl flooring, and you’re sure to find a finish that will work with your kitchen.

Polished kitchen floor

Pick your accessories with care

To counteract a dark and gloomy space, keep your space and kitchen accessories bright. Pops of colour will draw the eye, especially if the rest of your kitchen is in light shades, and will help to disguise a lack of natural light. Open kitchen shelving helps to keep your kitchen feel light and airy and add to a sunny vibe, and if you add white subway tiles it will help bounce even more natural light into the space. Metallic accessories are also a good pick – just make sure not to use too many or your house might start looking like a showroom.

Kitchen with metallic accessories

Install glass panels or blocks

This is a bit more of a project, and won’t work for all kitchens – but if you’re really struggling for any natural lighting and you have the space, you could consider replacing part of an exterior wall with glass panels or blocks. These will need to be installed carefully by a professional, as they (obviously) aren’t load bearing, but they can look really effective, especially behind a sink as an alternative to a standard splashback. They’ll still offer privacy, but let in plenty of natural light.

Kitchen with bi fold doors

Add extra lighting to your kitchen

Admittedly, this isn’t natural light, but you can give your kitchen all the help it can get with natural light bulbs and extra lighting in the darkest corners to boost the overall brightness. Think about places where cabinets overhand, alcoves, or any odd little spaces where you could add some extra light with a lamp or another light source. You can even add lighting in places you might not expect, like under your cabinets – check out our guide to under cabinet lighting for more on how to add this to your kitchen. For a pendant light or recessed light, use a natural light bulb in a warmer colour to keep the warm and bright feeling. Having a north-facing kitchen or a room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light can be a pain, but by using these smart tips and tricks you should be able to make the most of every sunbeam, and boost your kitchen’s natural lighting to create a warmer, brighter space.

For more kitchen inspiration, check out our kitchen design guides, including an entire section on lighting ideas.

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