Kitchens

The colors that will maximize daylight – and make your kitchen feel bigger and brighter

A light-filled kitchen is only a paintbrush away – but you may need to rethink your green cabinets

Kitchen paint tips
(Image credit: deVOL)

Maximizing daylight is one of the most simple yet effective things you can do to transform your kitchen. While your space will feel optimistic and brighter, it will also feel more welcoming and, perhaps most importantly, it will feel bigger too. The more light, the larger the kitchen will feel, so it's important to accentuate the kitchen's organic assets and drench the space in as much sunlight as possible.

See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens 

No matter the size of your kitchen, it is only inevitable to want to create the illusion of more space – but is it really possible to achieve this through color? According to the experts, it is more than possible. 

Here, the figures at the top of the kitchen and color industries share the shades we need to emphasize daylight and make the space feel larger and sunnier, just in time for the mid-summer months ahead. 

Kitchen paint tips

(Image credit: Wall Mushroom 142 in Intelligent Matt Emulsion £53 for 2.5L, Highlight stripe Pompeian Ash 293 Kitchen Units in Flint 236 Intelligent Satinwood £75.50 for 2.5L by Little Greene. )

How can we maximize daylight in our kitchen?  

Kitchen designer Tom Howley, Design Director at the eponymous kitchen company, suggests using neutral colors, including 'lighter wood finishes and paint colors' that 'work well to expand the perceived space of [our] kitchen.'

'Pair light tones with very light-colored countertops, and your kitchen will look spacious and airy. If you do decide on floor-to-ceiling cabinets, these should only be fitted with glass door display cabinets. This will open up the space in a way that opaque cabinetry will not in a smaller kitchen,' Tom explains.

Kitchen paint tips

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

See: Kitchen lighting ideas – to set the scene for cooking, eating and entertaining

'Soft shades of warm whites and earthy beige work well on their own but even better when used in a two-tone scheme. If you're using lighter colors to enhance your space, then try painting your walls in the same shade; this will focus your eye on the whole area, allowing it to feel larger and lighter,' he adds.

Do the color experts agree? 

Before we all reach for the paintbrush, we caught up with some of our most-trusted color experts, who also shared their thoughts about neutral kitchens, and whether we should give up the green craze just yet.

Kitchen paint tips

(Image credit: deVol)

See: How to plan kitchen lighting – create a scheme in sync with your routine

'The kitchen is often the heart of the family home. To make the most of a compact kitchen, you may want to use paint colors that give the illusion of space and light. Pale walls and floors give this illusion, but use accent colors so that your finished look isn't bland or clinical,' recommends Little Greene's Creative Director, Ruth Mottershead.

Similarly, the UK Director at Benjamin Moore, Helen Shaw, also suggests that neutrals are 'essential' in kitchens as they 'can be used in combination with a huge range of saturation and tones.'

Kitchen paint tips

(Image credit: deVol)

'Perfect for being used as the sole wall color to create a versatile base for a decorating scheme, layer brighter accessories and textured furniture to add depth,' Helen adds. 

Colour and Paint Expert Annie Sloan equally notes that a neutral scheme is 'guaranteed to look chic and it can help create the illusion of a kitchen being lighter, brighter and larger.' 

See: Kitchen paint tips – from Farrow & Ball's color expert

Bigger, brighter, and chicer? We only wish we had celebrated the versatility of neutral-colored kitchens sooner.