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Lighten up gloomy kitchens with today’s trends

There’s a difference between a traditional kitchen with rich, dark wood-grained cabinets and a kitchen that simply sucks the light out of your day. If your kitchen falls into the latter category, aim for lighter colors and finishes with a cost-friendly kitchen remodeling. You can prioritize which of these ideas will give you the most return on your dollar.  Then either start with the top priority and add features as budget allows, or pick two or three of them for an all-out siege on your kitchen’s partners in gloom. Here’s a list to pick and choose from:

  1. Lighting: If nothing else, look for new ways to illuminate your kitchen.  Charming pendant lights over the island. Focal point sink lighting.  Under-cabinet task lights. Pretty track lights on curved tracks.  Rope lights inside glass-door cabinets and under toe kicks. A ceiling light inside the pantry that can leak out through partially closed doors for ambiance.  A bigger kitchen window with blinds or shades instead of curtains, or a garden window. Ceiling tube lights or a bigger ventilated skylight.  One or two of these can ramp up the lumens.
  2. Creative painting: Strip off wallpaper, clean off paste residue, and paint the kitchen a light buttery yellow, a soft apple green, or a hint of camel. Then reface the cabinet cases by having them lightly sanded and applying a light wash of the wall color. For an updated accent, paint just the face frames of the cabinet cases with a glossy, somewhat brighter version of the wall color. Reface with new doors and drawer fronts with the same color-wash as the cabinet cases. Alternately, paint the cabinet cases with the wall color and reface with doors of light bamboo or a pale wood grain. Mixing paint and wood grain on cabinets is quite popular.
  3. Countertops: Since granite and other natural stones tend to be very porous and stain-prone, replace countertops with fuss-free stainless steel or light-hued granite-like laminate. Swanstone, Corian and similar products offer non-porous compressed polymer countertops that are sanitary and durable.  Silestone, says its manufacturer, is “a compound made of natural quartz, which makes it extraordinarily hard and resilient.” This gives it bacteriostatic protection along with both stone textures and solid colors.
  4. Flooring: Floors reflect light up into the kitchen. If tile or kitchen-rated wood floors are more than you want to spend, check out high-quality, realistic vinyl  planks and tiles like those from Earthwerks and other brands.

Create a budget, prioritize a master plan, and study all your beautiful options. You’ll be delighted at how a brighter kitchen can rev up your enthusiasm for cooking and entertaining.


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