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Advice on improving my dark kitchen

(40 Posts)
Scones Sun 17-Oct-21 16:30:01

I have just moved to a new house and I don't like the kitchen at all. It's dark and not at all to my taste. (I'd like cream units and pale wooden work tops!) The kitchen is immaculate, it was only fitted about 4 years ago and the house has been used as a holiday home since then so the kitchen has barely been used.

It seems such a waste to replace it and I can't really afford it. I'd really welcome any ideas on how I can improve it without spending a fortune? The main problem is that with the black worktop and tiles it's so dark in there. There are overhead spotlights but still the black sucks up the light. This photo was taken on a very bright afternoon and makes the room look much lighter than it is.

Any design tips would be very welcome.

Callistemon Sun 17-Oct-21 16:38:32

It looks good quality.

Could you have the doors and drawer fronts painted cream or a lighter colour and change the tiles? The tiles look black too, light or white would be better.
I'd keep the worktops, are they granite or laminate?
If laminate, could you buy overlay of quartz?

What is outside? Is there a wall, a tree, a shrub which is making the room dark?

silverlining48 Sun 17-Oct-21 16:39:21

A friend painted her kitchen units a very soft light grey for the same reason and it has made a huge difference. Yours are relatively new and i understand you might not want to but if you aren’t happy it might be worth doing. It would make a big difference. Perhaps they could be sprayed professionally for an even better finish.
I have a kitchen which never gets the sun so it’s on the dark side which i also dislike, especially a kitchen. I have white/ cream units with light oak surfaces, white tiles and floor, done 3 or 4 years ago so won’t need changing again. It’s much lighter now.

Lizzie72 Sun 17-Oct-21 16:40:31

You could paint the tiles white or cream?

MerylStreep Sun 17-Oct-21 16:49:23

To add to what others have said, IKEA work surfaces are very good at a reasonable price. You could also fit low energy lighting under the wall units.

Scones Sun 17-Oct-21 16:53:58

This is all such great advice. Thank you. I need to do some research and thinking.

You're right Callistemon, there's a 6ft garden wall just outside the window which doesn't help at all. OH, now I'm thinking along your lines...perhaps I could paint that white to reflect some light in!!

SueDonim Sun 17-Oct-21 16:55:25

I’d look at getting the worktops and tiles replaced with lighter colours. They can be done relatively inexpensively and you could maybe incorporate under-cabinet lighting if the units don’t have it already.

Good luck - I hate dark rooms too.

SueDonim Sun 17-Oct-21 16:56:51

Another thought is to see how much lighting would cost for the kickboards beneath the floor units. I’ve seen it in kitchens and it’s lovely.

nadateturbe Sun 17-Oct-21 17:04:06

Agree wirh replacing tiles definitely, and perhaps worktops, not sure. Maybe under cabinet lighting would help. If the units are pretty good I wouldn't replace them.

Peasblossom Sun 17-Oct-21 17:20:27

A cheap temporary fix for the worktops could be some big, light coloured worktop savers.

I agree that changing/painting the splash back would make a world of difference.

Callistemon Sun 17-Oct-21 17:25:14

Scones

This is all such great advice. Thank you. I need to do some research and thinking.

You're right Callistemon, there's a 6ft garden wall just outside the window which doesn't help at all. OH, now I'm thinking along your lines...perhaps I could paint that white to reflect some light in!!

We've just painted a garden wall, we used Sandtex Masonry paint and it went on well. Other brands are available.
You could hang those wall baskets full of bright flowers on it to add some interest.

FarNorth Sun 17-Oct-21 17:28:56

Painting the wall outside sounds like a good idea.
I'd also look at painting the tiles rather than replacing them.

FlexibleFriend Sun 17-Oct-21 17:53:45

Replace the overhead lights with cool white lcd lights and add under cupboard lights also lcd cool white. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

humptydumpty Sun 17-Oct-21 18:19:43

Scones this company might be able to help but I have no idea how much they charge:

www.kitchen-magic.com/kitchen-refurbishment?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIk5ev7vnR8wIVQzcYCh20tw4OEAAYAyAAEgJ-_fD_BwE

Callistemon Sun 17-Oct-21 18:23:45

Someone just recommended a similar firm to me to update my kitchen, I think it was this one:
www.dreamdoors.co.uk

I need a total re-vamp though.

(And so does the kitchen 😁)

Amberone Sun 17-Oct-21 18:29:03

I wouldn't paint the tiles, but I would change out the worktops and put some nice under cupboard lights in, as FlexibleFriend suggested.

I also agree about painting the wall - our living room is quite dark and when we changed the tarmac drive to a pale resin drive it was amazing how much light was reflected into the room even though the drive is six feet from the window.

Lauren59 Sun 17-Oct-21 18:37:06

You might look at those stick on tiles to cover the dark tiles. They come in many different colours and patterns and are used quite often for that purpose.

mokryna Sun 17-Oct-21 18:46:49

It was suggested on one tv program to take have a firm in to spray the doors in a lighter (white?) colour. Try that first as there are a lot of them and then see if something needs to be done with the tiles and tops.

choughdancer Sun 17-Oct-21 18:46:56

I think if it was me, I would paint or have painted the cupboard doors as recommended above, then do something to the backsplash tiles. Either cover or replace them with white ones, or even a mirror finish to maximise light. I would leave the worktop until you had made other changes, and then see if it really needed to go. Good luck! Do come back with an after picture too!

H1954 Sun 17-Oct-21 18:53:17

If the existing cabinet doors are in good condition I don't think you will have much trouble selling them......try FB Marketplace. This would at least give you some spare cash to put towards new doors of your choice. I would keep the workshops though and maybe consider replacing the dark tiles or possibly overlaying with some brushed steel sheets if you don't want the hassle of re-tiling.

Shandy57 Sun 17-Oct-21 19:22:17

I'm just about to strip the vinyl off my MDF kitchen doors and use Frenchic Al Fresco paint to brighten the kitchen up. It is a chalk paint, also suitable for wood, the best finish is to use a roller.

I'm also going to paint the tiles in a contrasting colour.

My worktop isn't wood, it's MDF and vinyl, so I'm going to rewrap that too.

Callistemon Sun 17-Oct-21 20:17:37

choughdancer

I think if it was me, I would paint or have painted the cupboard doors as recommended above, then do something to the backsplash tiles. Either cover or replace them with white ones, or even a mirror finish to maximise light. I would leave the worktop until you had made other changes, and then see if it really needed to go. Good luck! Do come back with an after picture too!

That reminded me of when we moved house and our 'new' kitchen had mirror tiles. I didn't like them (or the wonderful kitchen) and I remember the next door neighbour coming in for coffee and saying that the previous owner used to sit on a bar stool and admire herself in the mirror tiles. 😁

Redhead56 Sun 17-Oct-21 20:29:20

My DD transformed her 70s kitchen. She painted her black tiles white and cupboards pale grey she covered the unit tops with a stick on light wood grain covering.
She changed the handles on the draws and doors. It looks fab what a transformation costing about £150 and three days work.

Callistemon Sun 17-Oct-21 20:32:11

Redhead she should start a business!

Scones Sun 17-Oct-21 20:32:37

Thank you all so very much for going to so much trouble to help. Such creative ideas and lots of contacts too. And the odd laugh - yep, I know exactly what you mean about a re-vamp Callistemon. When I've done the kitchen I'm next smile The light coloured worktop saver idea is genius idea Peasblossom I can do that tomorrow!

Definitely going to look at tiles, painting the wall and lighting. I will post up pictures as soon as I'm done.