Profile picture for LemeliaJohnsonBonner

What would you do to brighten a small kitchen with no window?

I'm buying a condo with a problematic kitchen. It's 11' x 11' and in the center of the house, with no windows. Very dark and depressing, even though it was recently primed and everything in it is solid white right now. It doesn't help that the previous owner put in a dropped panel ceiling with bad florescent lighting. That's definitely going away, but I don't know how to finish the rest of the kitchen, which will have to be done kind of on the cheap. The cabinets are in good shape, so painting them would be fine. But what color? And should I go with different colors for the lower and upper cabinets? What about the walls, flooring, backsplash, and countertops?  I'm thinking all stainless appliances(?) There are so many decisions to make, and I've always been lousy at choosing color palettes.
  • August 27 2013 - US
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Answers (6)

The only thing you can do on the cheap is with lighting and paint.
White is out...any color has light phases.
The more lighting you can add the better, under cabinet lights, task lighting and main lighting.

If you wasn't on a budget to tight I have often moved the sink area to where
the user is facing the open area of the house with an island.
This works well to help in closed places where task areas are against a wall but don't know your layout.

I also agree with wetdawg and say that stainless days are limited along with
granite counter tops.
I have seen it coming for a year now, clients are asking for alternatives.
-Joseph-
  • August 27 2013
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Interior design doesn't lend itself well to a discussion.

Designers are amazingly inexpensive, and you can probably get one to come out and share thoughts with you for a couple of hundred bucks.

All the best,
  • August 27 2013
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Profile picture for LemeliaJohnsonBonner
Solar tube is a good option. I'd considered that, but will have to get it approved by the homeowners' association first. I'm only considering stainless steel appliances for the reflective aspect. Trying to figure out a way to get light bouncing around the room without overdoing it. Thanks!
  • August 27 2013
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Congratulations on your new purchase!  There are so many things you can do to brighten up your new kitchen.  The addition of under cabinet lighting will add additional designer appeal, as well as ambient light.  If you do not want to hire an electrician, which would be preferable, then you can add push lights for a more cost effective alternative.  These can be purchased at your local big box hardware stores.  Lighter painted cabinets on top, with a darker bottom is currently a popular designer trend in the Birmingham market, and is probably in your market as well.  The lighter cabinets will make the room feel much brighter.  As far as countertops, backsplash and flooring - just have fun with it.  Design to your tastes, but keep in mind that if you plan to resale in the near future, you should use more neutral designs.  Lighter colors should be used in the choice of wall paint, but don't feel locked into white.  Light grey is a popular choice in wall treatments.  I hope this helps, and that you enjoy your new kitchen!  
  • August 27 2013
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Profile picture for Martha T of POK
Drop ceilings with flourescent lighting always makes a room drab! Once that is gone you will notice a dramatic difference in the mood of the room. When choosing lighting, look for lighting you can adjust and perhaps add task lighting.

Take a look at the colors in the rooms closest to your kitchen. Think about picking out a very soft version of one of those colors and use that either on the walls or the cabinets. In a small space I'd recommend using a simple two color palette at most to make the most of the space.

Keep your appliances matching each other. Since costs range so widely, take a look at what you are able to afford first, then look at flooring, counters and backspashes. If you add patterns or textures, keep it down to one texture or pattern and look for the color close to the colors you choose for the walls and cabinets.

New pulls for the cabinets and a coordinating faucet is a nice finishing touch.

Lastly, I'd take a look online at different home decorating sites. Better Homes and Gardens has nice ideas too. Good luck!
  • August 27 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Is the kitchen with a roof above it so you can install a solar tube or two?

Stainless steel is going out of fashion, so if you like it go ahead but don't do it for a fashion statement. 
  • August 27 2013
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