erica320

how would you brighten this kitchen?

erica320
last month
last modified: last month

Without ripping out the cabinets, how could I brighten and refresh my kitchen? I’m open to new backsplash and countertops. Just not sure what would match with the cabinets.



Comments (55)

  • Sammie J
    last month

    Lighting is the answer! Your kitchen is not dated - so I wouldn't start replacing counters at this point unless there is something functional you don't like about them. Before counters, I'd replace the flooring.

    erica320 thanked Sammie J
  • PRO
    PhDesign Company
    last month

    Hi. So this is controversial, but I'd take out the upper cabinets on that wall, with the very cool windows. Open shelving on either side of the stove, and a great range hood, could be very budget friendly. Is your style more contemporary and modern, or traditional/transitional?

    erica320 thanked PhDesign Company
  • Related Discussions

    How do I brighten up the kitchen

    Q

    Comments (66)
    So one of the designers on the show property envy had an interesting take on dark rooms. She said everyone is always trying to fight them-she says rather than fight them see the darkness as an advantage and go with it! Dark rooms can be jewels! It's like if you have curly hair and you're always trying to make it straight. Just go with the curls! It will be beautiful and dramatic. That being said, I also like counters, cabinets, and an ebony floor sounds super sexy. What a perfect backdrop for pops of color or pops of metallic!
    ...See More

    Dark Wood Paneling (not smooth) How would you brighten?

    Q

    Comments (1)
    Yes I would paint it in a minute! I never could stand paneled walls it looks too outdated. The first thing you would have to do is prime it , two coats should do it . Then pick a color that will work with whatever choice of furniture you are going to choose and are you planning on leaving the beams and ceiling that color. I actually would keep the chest and the area rug don't look too bad either unless your budget can afford to replace it . Do you already have furniture picked out and if so what color is it? Let me know and I will respond with color ideas. Furniture placement has a lot to do with it as well. Get back to me and I will help.
    ...See More

    How To Brighten Espresso Kitchen Cabinets

    Q

    Comments (19)
    I like the blue/grey you painted your walls against all the piney beige wood beams and trim. I would paint a piece of cardboard and try the color out in the back of your cupboards to see if you like it in there and whether it goes nicely with the granite. If the open dining room beside your kitchen has the same color on it' s walls with the pine, it would look nice pulled into your open concept kitchen. It looks as though you may have a touch of that blue/grey in your shade on the kitchen window as well. Beautiful home!
    ...See More

    How to brighten a dark galley kitchen?

    Q

    Comments (12)
    Flair lighting is right on. You do have dark on dark on dark. Without changing one of the three elements (flooring, cabinets, counter top) you are destined to spin your wheels in a dark kitchen. Pot lighting/can lighting is probably the best way to get it very bright. A swag lamp + under counter lighting might be a short term solution for your long term problem. A bright white rug would go a long way....but it won't the end of the project....it will be the beginning. Do a little bit now but save up so you can have a good go at the renovation that will get this kitchen to brighten. The simplest would be white cabs with white backsplash. Leave the counters and flooring dark would be fine.
    ...See More
  • ital mover
    last month

    How about bolder runner rugs in front of the cabinets, a fancy light over the island and a cream microwave?


    Unique Loom Crab Positano Rug, 2'7x10' · More Info


    Modern Geometric Faceted Glass Pendant 1 Light Metal Single Bulb Gold Brass · More Info



    or if all that is too wild, a more conservative runner


    Surya Modern Classics Rectangle Moss 2'6 x 8' Area Rug · More Info

    and pendant


    Volume Lighting Roth 1-Light Polished Brass Pendant · More Info


    erica320 thanked ital mover
  • ital mover
    last month
    last modified: last month

    (not sure all those have the right sizes but you get the idea)

    If you did a bolder rug, it might be worth painting the space between the cabinets and the ceiling just the right color, and having a new backsplash

    erica320 thanked ital mover
  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    lighting might help.

    Do you like the granite? if not, you could just about anything since the wood is pretty neutral.

    your wood cabs and granite is rather blah, so maybe that's why it looks a little dull

    A new countertop and a diff backsplash would prob make the biggest impact.

    I might paint the island a diff color, but that's me.

    Maybe do some pendant lights over the island, or the sink.

    Look like you could do a larger island. maybe an overhang w/a few stools? you could do that w/a new countertop.

    you'll have to give more info of what you like, or want, otherwise you'll get 100 different suggestions.

    BTW, what is that under the cabs? I can't tell if it's a mural, a window looking outside, or an aquarium! (ok, not an aquarium, but it does look like it)

    erica320 thanked Beth H. :
  • erica320
    Original Author
    last month

    I don't love the granite. It's very busy and very hard to keep clean since it's impossible to see crumbs. I'm not sure what my style is called but I will post a pic of the entire area that is next to the kitchen. Under the cabinets are windows. As you can see, it's pretty dark

    which is why I want to lighten the kitchen up. After reading all these wonderful comments, I'm thinking changing the granite to a lighter (such as taj mahal) and the backsplash but that I have no idea just as long as it's not too busy) so any ideas on backsplash now would be so helpful!!

  • ital mover
    last month

    I hear you about a surface where you can't see crumbs or find something you dropped. I have terrazzo floors in my rental, an it's time consuming!


    I noticed from an earlier picture that your backsplash extends all around your windows. It's pleasant, and I'm not sure I would bother changing it if you end up picking a counter top that doesn't clash with it.


    Is there any chance you could remove the microwave and cabinetry over the stove and replace it with a solid window and range hood to bring in the light you want?




    erica320 thanked ital mover
  • decoenthusiaste
    last month

    The windows under the cabs are great, in the daytime, but probably seem like black holes at night. Install LED lighting under the cabinets and upgrade the can lights too, change your counter top to something lighter that you love and that works with the flooring. Is your oven in the island or across the room? If things still look dark, especially in the corner by the fridge, try LEDs above the cabinets too.

    erica320 thanked decoenthusiaste
  • Jeanne Seefus
    last month

    @Maureen This is a little off topic but do you have any idea who makes those beautiful brass cabinet pulls?

  • dan1888
    last month
    last modified: last month

    You have ambient lighting but lack good task lighting. Undercab led strip lights is an inexpensive step. YouTube has videos on the diy install. 4" led cans above the counter 8'" or so in front of the upper cabinets would be worthwhile. You want to place them so you don't cast a shadow on your work.450 lumens is recommended. It makes a big positive impact in your workflow.

    erica320 thanked dan1888
  • Jeanne Seefus
    last month

    @Maureen Thanks so much

  • PRO
    IRP Architects
    last month

    Lighting is definitely key, and extending the window along the external wall to make it taller would be beautiful. In terms of materials, however, there are a few replacements you could make.

    A white marble benchtop would make it vibrant and easier to clean, although white marble may not suit the cream flooring so a cream bench top could compliment the flooring. The shelving also creates a very dark appearance and in many of my designs, clients have loved bright white vinyl wrapped cupboards; even if you would rather keep the brown to match the loungeroom, timber absorbs a lot of light so a brown vinyl finish would still reflect more light to brighten the room. Finally, the ceiling seems dark so a hanging light could also provide more shine on the ceiling.


    Let me know your thoughts and I hope this helps!

  • Lucy Pavlik
    last month

    I would add a light fixture above the island and two pendants above the sink. In addition change the counter tops to a lighter color.
    The lighting under the cabinets look like is blue, I would change that too.

    erica320 thanked Lucy Pavlik
  • slab
    last month

    I would keep the countertops. They look like they are in great condition. Adjust the lighting as everyone else has mentioned but I would paint the cabinets a warm off white. I think if the cabinets are painted it would give the brightness desired. If then you are dissatisfied with that you could move to a change in counters.

    erica320 thanked slab
  • meadgina
    last month

    Hi, I would put warm rope lighting on the top of the cabinets (you don't want to see the rope) and put some big pretty pieces on the top of the cabinets spread them out to draw the eye up.

    You might need more Bright Can lighting that shines down on the edge of the counters using warm lighting only.

    Also under cabinet lighting would brighten up your space especially where there is dark shadows.

    It is really lighting that you need more than anything. I would put three pendant lights hanging down. And yes if you can afford it, change the counter top to a white quartz and carry it up the backsplash. Good luck. Your kitchen isn't really bad.



  • yeonassky
    last month

    I know what you mean about the crumbs! I truly wish there were such a thing as a counter Roomba.

    I love your windows! If it were my place and I could afford it I would make your cupboards on either side of the stove glass and put windows behind them.

    I think a lighter counter would look very nice. Good lighting is always the place to start to my mind though as somebody else mentioned above.

    I'm sure you know this but your apples and other sensitive fruit and veg will ripen more swiftly when they are near ripening bananas like that. Ripening bananas gives off a lot of ethene a gas that hastens ripening. My apologies if I offend for mentioning this. I mention it because science and I'm a science nerd. :√(

    erica320 thanked yeonassky
  • Monica Towns
    last month

    I Love the cabinet wood color and design. More ceiling pot lights would brighten it up. Perhaps a lighter color backsplash and less beigey coloured flooring. Perhaps a light floor runner carpet. The cabinets are awesome so I would leave them for sure as is. Ceiling lighting will definitely make the difference. I had dimmable lighting installed in my kitchen so I can make it super bright when I’m working in there and dim at night for ambiance. Good luck. Do what YOU love. Not what’s expected, but what you love.

    erica320 thanked Monica Towns
  • Jennifer Schuessler
    last month

    I would replace the cabinet doors above the stove with glass paneled ones and then paint the island and the cabinets directly below and above the stove to match the floor, a nice cream color, and distress them. That would break up all sameness with the color. Hang a chandelier and pendants that complement what’s over your table. Then you can decide if you need to replace the countertops.

    erica320 thanked Jennifer Schuessler
  • mben258
    last month

    I would paint the cabinets white, put hardware on the cabinets, and paint the walls a bright color. after that I would look at lights backsplash, etc.

  • etemarch
    last month

    I would paint the cabinets a very light gray color, add new lighting such as hanging lights and add under cabinet lighting.

    erica320 thanked etemarch
  • PRO
    RFD Consulting
    last month

    Think about whether you are open to painting the cabinets white and then pick a new countertop color - now that would brighten it up

  • aniluap2
    last month

    From your pictures the space seems very brown. You could brighten it up by simply painting your cabinets in a lighter color. Maybe a greenish grey or simply a pale grey and maybe the island in another shade of grey. Bring in some brighter slashes of color in the kitchen accessories, like bright yellow or whatever appeals to you. Then carry that color into your living space with decorative pillows, a vase, rug etc. that reflects the colors that you chose for your cabinets and the accent color. This will tie the spaces together and brighten the whole look. Kitchen cabinets should be professionally spray painted for durability.

    erica320 thanked aniluap2
  • trixylarue
    last month

    Daylight LED bulbs help a bunch. I would change the wall paint. Then I would paint the island & either paint the back of the pennisula or wall paper it. Adding an accent color in accessories would break up all the brown. Have fun decorating!

    erica320 thanked trixylarue
  • oreet
    last month

    I’m hearing that you want to improve but not go crazy with expense......it’s easily done. More lighting is a must so install under cabinet lighting, a pendant over the Island and get additional recessed lighting if needed (hard to see from the pictures). Next I would get a professional to paint only the upper cabinets in a creamy/white. Change the countertops to a cream colour porcelain or granite that has some brown/beige in it. This will tie the upper and lower cabinets together. You can run the same stone as a backsplash or find a tile that is close in color to the newly painted cabinets. Good luck.

    erica320 thanked oreet
  • Clarissa Kirsten
    last month

    I agree with a lot of the above comments. I would remove the microwave and put in a decorative range hood, change out the granite to quartz. Something white that has a bit of a gold and grey veining. Maybe, run the quartz up the wall(as a backsplash)Put in under cabinet Led lighting and some nice pendants over your peninsula. If you could, I would extend your island a bit to encompass your garbage and microwave.

    erica320 thanked Clarissa Kirsten
  • sandeeteedee
    last month

    I don't think the countertops are as necessary to change as the cabinets. Look into having them painted or resurfacing the door fronts to a creamy color rather than blah brown. You might even get them painted one color on top, another on the bottom, shades off the same sample card. Then, 'someday' you can replace backsplash and countertops when it fits your budget. I am a real fan of quartz in all it's different forms and know you will love the simpler patterns in that. I like all the suggestions for sparkly lighting and bold rugs, but if the cabinetry was lighter those choices would be easier too. First step is to get the 'bones' right.

    erica320 thanked sandeeteedee
  • di3h1s
    last month

    Wow, So much storage. This is a nice kitchen with so many good design elements. Think about what you really need to have on your counters and put away what you only use occasionally. If you can do without a rug by the sink, try eliminating that. Add under cabinet lights, these can be plug in, and if possible over cabinet lights. An electrician can add an outlet if desired. Your kitchen will look totally different and much brighter.

    erica320 thanked di3h1s
  • Veronica
    last month

    my vote is to remove some of those upper cabinets and install open shelves. I LOVE my open shelves.

    erica320 thanked Veronica
  • joanshurtz
    last month

    You might also consider painting only the upper cabinets with a lighter coordinating color, possibly extending that color to the wall above the cabinets.

  • kimber235
    last month

    My before and after with painted cabinets. Make sure they are done professionally by specialists. Still a fraction of the cost of refacing or replacement.

  • Gwendolyn Hayes
    last month
    last modified: last month

    First thing is to declutter the countertops. The windows are fabulous and you're hiding them. Find a place to store all those small appliances when not in use. Would you consider installing a range instead of the cooktop? You could use the wall oven space for more storage for all your small appliances. And change the microwave to a hood. I'd change the backsplash. If cost doesn't matter then go ahead and get new countertops. And paint the walls. Maybe paint the island and add a wood countertop to it just to mix things up a bit. I wouldn't paint the cabinets unless you hate them as is. It's a lot of work. But do consider removing the crown molding if possible. Unless your house is very traditional and formal the crown molding just feels heavy. Your cabinets look a little low. If there isn't at least 18 inches between counter and cabinet look into having them raised.

    erica320 thanked Gwendolyn Hayes
  • Nancy Fisher
    last month

    I see what you mean by the kitchen needing to be brightened up a bit. I really like the colors you already have, just a little too much brown. Do you have children? If so I would suggest having them make some pictures using the brighter colors in your kitchen and on paper or canvas (if you want) that will fit the cabinet doors inside the current trim. Have them framed in bright colored frames to match some of your colors and mount them on the upper cabinet doors. This would be a good way to show off art work with out having the refrigerator clutter we often end up with.


    erica320 thanked Nancy Fisher
  • 2blackcat
    last month

    There are lots of great suggestions in all the comments. Find what feels right & what your budget allows. You can't go wrong making small or large changes that will make your space feel much more pleasurable.


    Kitchen Area

    • * Free: Put away counter appliances that are not regularly used. Just a little cleanup will let more light come in through those great windows.
    • Low Cost: Under cabinet lighting brightens up that dark space and makes a big difference
    • Pendant lighting (dimmable)
    • * If your budget allows: Lighter Counters

    Living Room

    • Low Cost: A brighter array of pillows mixed in with what you have. They are all dark against a dark sofa, so add some pattern for visual interest.
    • Low cost: 2 floor lights - One uplight & one reading light
    erica320 thanked 2blackcat
  • Amy Hansen
    last month

    You have a very nice kitchen!! The beading framing the tops of your cupboards are a fun detail. I agree with others: cream countertops, bolder rug(s), bolder decor, brighter lighting, and possibly removing or changing some of the upper cabinets above the stove area. The line of upper cabinets is monotonous and feels heavy.

    erica320 thanked Amy Hansen
  • dvbb
    last month

    I'd do new LED ceiling lighting and add a satin black pendant over the island. Paint the island black and change all cabinet pulls to black. Then paint the walls to match the lightest color in the floor--the light gray wall fights with all the beige tones. If you change the countertops (yours aren't bad but seem "heavy"), I'd go with a creamy quartzite (but make sure all your cream colors go together).

    erica320 thanked dvbb
  • estherespina
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If you just moved the upper cabinets up at least 6 Inches it would Lighten up that space. The heaviness is from The upper cabinets darkening your counter. Those cool windows are nice design element. Show them off. this doesn’t need to be a 20k remodel. A lighter backsplash behind the stove !!!!!!

    erica320 thanked estherespina
  • Mary Aitken-Daniels Walls
    last month

    I would paint cabinets upper and lowers and replace a couple of cabinet doors with glass front doors and just make a couple of small changes to the lighting. It would not only lighten the kitchen it would open up the room as well

    erica320 thanked Mary Aitken-Daniels Walls
  • HU-99786910
    last month

    Add LED rope lighting above the cabinets. You can buy it by the foot and it is encased in a clear plastic tube. I've also seen it placed under cabinets too. Also try changing out a few of the cabinet doors to glass panel fronts. Paint the wall above the cabinets the same color as the ceiling.

    erica320 thanked HU-99786910
  • Michele Darden
    last month

    I agree with Ital Mover, the microwave seems heavy in the current location. If replacing it with a hood is too big of a project, perhaps modifying the cabinet so the micro could sit a bit higher would allow more light over the stove, lighten the look, better showcase the surrounding windows and leave enough clearance for managing large pots.

    erica320 thanked Michele Darden
  • PRO
    Altair
    last month

    Colorful carpet and if budget allows new countertop + painting the cabinets.

    erica320 thanked Altair
  • dee_mckervey
    last month

    The only thing I don't like is that heavy microwave above the stove! Could you remove it and move it or even the upper cabinet if possible and get another hood? And leave those window areas uncluttered. I agree with adding more lighting, too!

    erica320 thanked dee_mckervey
  • chklenda
    last month

    The cheapest, quickest change would be to lighten the cabinets with paint. It would make a huge difference. Start with that first, then decide what needs to be done next.

  • P M
    last month

    Everything is in good condition, so it would be wasteful to rip out the counter just for fashion’s sake. I would consider painting the cabinets a light, cream color (or have them stripped and lighten the stain, which us more expensive), and putting a pendant light over the island. If you don’t have undercabinet lighting, put some in. If you can afford it, remove the cornice from the tops of the cabinets and run the cabinets to the ceiling (you could even do glas doors up there, with lighting), for less dated look. Part of what is making the kitchen look dark is the amount of dark brown you have elsewhere, in your furnishings. If you bring in more color in the living space, you might be happier with the kitchen.


    Ignore the fussy details of this kitchen, but this is what I am talking about, with the color and reconfiguration of the cabinets:






  • erica320
    Original Author
    last month

    As much as I love the idea of painting the cabinets, I’m so hesitant bc I had my bathroom cabinets (which are not even used as much as the kitchen ones) professionally done two years ago and they’re are so many knicks and scratches already. I was thinking the countertop (maybe like a Taj Mahal quartz) might do the trick and bring the cabinets up to date a bit along with a more contemporary backsplash like some of these posts mentioned. I will however ask around to people who have painted their kitchen cabinets to hear their experience with maintaining it. Thank you again for these wonderful ideas. They’re really helping me!

  • Jonny Quest
    last month

    Better lighting would improve things quite a bit. There are so many dark corners and crevices. Also there is no color other than brown or beige. Perhaps incorporating more color would help. Brighter ceiling color may help. I’m not a fan of granite but if it is in good shape I’d keep it. But I’m a bit biased as I live near a quarry and know the impacts of removing stone from the earth looks like. So take my opinion with a big grain of salt.

    I do agree with another poster, painting cabinets is great but if lighting isn’t improved it’s probably not going to improve things very much. If you can find someone to assist you with a lighting scheme that would be money well spent. ...Especially if you’re not changing the footprint of the space.

    But from my perspective (& not meant to be insulting) what your kitchen lacks is color and YOUR personality. You have a great base to start from. Perhaps before you begin find a designer to help you? Color ideas are easy to solicit from others but personality will be cultivated over time. A designer could help you with that I think. Think about what you like, how you use the space, and how others inhabit the space with you. There doesn’t seem to be any art in the space. Consider adding. This doesn’t necessarily mean items on your walls but could include everyday items you’d use in your kitchen. These items could be selected for both form and function. Houzz is a wonderful space for ideas but can be overwhelming AND a lot of the spaces featured are so very similar.

    Painting cabinets is not for you if you want a pristine paint job over time. There will be nicks in the paint. Mine were painted in 2005 and are just beginning to age. Care is pretty simple. I wipe down cabinets with soapy towel and then a damp towel maybe twice a year unless I make a mess. Otherwise I wipe dust off maybe once a month? But I’d do the same with stained cabinets.

    Good luck

    erica320 thanked Jonny Quest
  • dseaman
    last month

    Maybe lights on top of the cabinets

    erica320 thanked dseaman
  • k2thecarpenter
    last month


    Please don’t remove the granite countertops. Even if they aren’t your preferred color, that stone was mined from the earth and shipped to you. The environmental cost is huge. I think you can get your desired effect without resorting to that


    If your budget is modest this is what I would do:

    1. Paint your uppers and island a creamy white to tie in the floor and that counters to the rest of the kitchen.

    2. add under cabinet lights that come on with the above cans.

    3. if its still too brown, paint the lowers and earthy grey green (very popular right now)



    I like other suggestions on removing the shelving left and right of the range, but I think you need that storage. So I would try painting first.

    erica320 thanked k2thecarpenter
  • PRO
    Ankit Kapoor
    last month

    I have only two suggestions for your kitchen.

    First you can paint all your cabinets with white color or lower and island cabinets.

    If you can't do this right now then add stylish bright color lights that will make your kitchen more brighter.

    I will go with the first option if I was you.