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Maximizing Natural Light In A Small Kitchen: 8 Tips And Tricks

Natural light does more than simply illuminate your kitchen—it brings vitality, warmth, and a welcoming vibe to the space. In small kitchens, it plays a vital role in creating a sense of openness. Whether renovating or starting from scratch, these tips will lead you to a functional and beautifully lit kitchen.

Understanding Your Space

Start by taking a good look at your kitchen as it is right now. How does the sunlight change throughout the day? Are there times when the light is too harsh or too dim? Or maybe there are certain corners that never seem to catch the light? These observations will act as a starting point to enhance the natural light effectively.


Small kitchen with island and hood over the island


If your kitchen faces north, you’ll have soft, diffused light throughout the day, whereas a south-facing kitchen gets the most sunlight. East-facing kitchens get lovely morning light, and west-facing ones get the evening glow. Knowing the direction of the sunlight will help you optimize the placement of reflective surfaces, choice of window treatments, and even the positioning of furniture.

Paint Colors

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt lighter and brighter? Often, it’s the magic of the right paint color on the walls. The color you choose can dramatically affect the light dynamics in your kitchen. Lighter shades can amplify the amount of natural light, while darker ones can absorb it, making the room feel smaller and dimmer.


Now, about the best paint colors for small kitchen. You can’t go wrong with soft shades of white, cream, or off-white. These hues reflect light beautifully, giving your kitchen a clean, open feel. Alternatively, light neutrals like soft gray, beige, or pale blue can work wonders. These tints maintain the bright ambiance while adding a touch of color to keep things interesting.

Glossy Surfaces And Appliances

While paint can do a lot, there are other ways to play with light reflection in your kitchen. One effective strategy is the use of glossy surfaces. Much like a mirror, glossy surfaces bounce light around the room. This characteristic can be particularly handy when dealing with low natural light conditions.


Everything is Open in Small Modern White Kitchen


Consider installing high-gloss countertops or cabinets or glossy floor tiles. As for appliances, opt for those with a shiny finish, like stainless steel, which can act as additional light reflectors. It’s all about creatively using shine and gloss to help light dance around your kitchen.


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Mirrors And Reflective Backsplashes

One of the most tried-and-true methods for amplifying light is the use of mirrors. When positioned correctly, they can double the amount of sunlight in your kitchen. A large mirror on a wall opposite a window can work wonders, or even a collection of smaller mirrors strategically placed can be a unique way to multiply the light.


Don’t overlook the power of a reflective backsplash. Glass tiles or shiny ceramic tiles provide a contemporary look and bounce light around, especially when sunlight hits them directly. A well-chosen backsplash can transform your kitchen from dark and dreary to bright and cheery in no time.

Open Shelving

When it comes to maximizing natural light, overhead cabinets can be an obstacle. This is where open shelving shines. It offers an unobstructed path for sunlight to travel through your kitchen, creating a sense of spaciousness. Plus, open shelves bring a chic, modern aesthetic, adding character to your kitchen.


Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Wall Open End Shelf
Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Wall Open End Shelf


To get the most out of open shelving, aim for a balance between form and function. Choose to display items that are frequently used and pleasing to the eye. Glass jars filled with colorful spices, attractive dishware, or even a few indoor plants can make your shelves beautiful and practical. 

Window Treatments

Your choice of window treatments can control the amount of sunlight that enters your kitchen. Heavy, dark curtains can block out much-needed light. Instead, opt for light, airy curtains, blinds, or shades that can be adjusted throughout the day.


Sheer curtains are a fantastic choice, allowing ample light while offering privacy. Light-colored or even white Venetian blinds can also work well, as you can tilt the slats to direct the light as desired. Alternatively, consider roller shades, which can be fully retracted to let in maximum light.

Glass Doors

If your kitchen has a door leading to the outside or another well-lit room, replacing it with a glass door can dramatically increase natural light. Glass doors allow sunlight to flow freely, and they can add a sophisticated touch to your kitchen’s decor.


Glass-Front Cabinets
Glass-Front Cabinets


Full-glass doors are great for maximum light, while frosted glass doors offer a balance between light and privacy. If you prefer a bit of detail, consider doors with glass panels or even stained glass for a pop of color and personality.

Skylights Or Solar Tubes

If structural changes are an option for you, introducing skylights or solar tubes could dramatically increase the natural light in your kitchen. These features invite the sky into your home, filling your kitchen with abundant daylight even when the space has few windows.


Consider the position and size of these features to maximize sunlight throughout the day. Consult a professional to evaluate the best placement, and don’t forget to check local building regulations. If privacy or intense sunlight is a concern, go for options with blinds or a dimming feature.



Final Words

Sometimes, the best course of action is to call in the experts. They can offer insight into materials, structural changes, and even guide you on lighting design.


Remember, each kitchen is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Use these tips as a starting point, then experiment and see what suits your space and personal style best.


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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson is a skilled content writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in kitchen and bath design. His expertise in the field and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way have made his articles a valuable resource for homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. Evan's insights have been featured in top publications like Homes & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Real Homes. He focuses on providing practical advice, innovative ideas, and detailed guides to help readers make informed decisions about their kitchen spaces. With a passion for creating content that educates and inspires, Evan's writing helps transform kitchen dreams into reality.

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