If your kitchen seems a bit dark and dingy, you may not have the budget to replace all the cabinets with something in a lighter colour or to cut out a new window and let in more light. However, there are many budget-friendly ways to brighten up a dark kitchen that don't involve heavy construction. Note a few of those suggestions here.
Lower or expand the lighting
Pendant lights can pull the overhead light down by several inches or centimetres, which can make the benchtops and cabinets seem brighter. This can also help to lighten up a dark floor. If the kitchen is long and narrow, you might swap out the light fixture for track lighting, as this can mean extending the lights to the far end of the kitchen that may seem the darkest.
Add metallic or high gloss paint
Painting the walls white is one of the most obvious ways to brighten up any dark room, but you might take this one step further and use a metallic or high gloss paint in the kitchen, to reflect even more light. You don't need to actually cover the walls completely with a metallic paint, as this might seem a bit overwhelming; instead, choose your favourite colour in a metallic shade and paint a few bold, vertical or horizontal stripes down the centre of the walls.
Add a kitchen rug
If the flooring of the kitchen is very dark and you can't afford to replace it with a brighter tile or shade of hardwood, choose a bright kitchen rug or two for the space. A rubber-based anti-fatigue mat with a bright and colourful surface can make the kitchen space look brighter while also offering some comfort underfoot. For smaller kitchens, choose runners, or buy a rubber mat and carefully cut it down to size.
Glass is a great way to reflect light and make a space seem brighter. Opt for a glass benchtop or splash backs, or remove some cabinet faces and replace them with glass. If you have an open wall, you might find an old window frame and hang it like a picture. Choose glass or clear acrylic storage bins and canisters for the counters rather than metal. Swap out the door handles and drawer pulls for pieces made of glass. Choose glass light covers for those new pendant lights or track lighting rather than metal, to allow as much light to shine into your dark kitchen as possible.