Allowing natural light to enter any room makes it lighter and brighter. It can make the room look and feel larger. It can also save energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting. Bringing natural light into a kitchen brings some challenges, though. The placement and shape of many kitchens limit the number and size of windows you can install. Color choice can be challenging as well. But we have options that can bring lots of warm natural light into your kitchen easily and seamlessly.
Natural Light Sources
The first and most common way to bring natural light into a kitchen is with windows. If you have an exterior door in your kitchen you can also use the door to bring in natural light. By changing to a door made mostly of a glass panel, you will introduce a surprising amount of natural light. Another way to introduce natural light into your kitchen is to look to the ceiling for opportunities. Skylights can bring in a large amount of natural light. In fact, some lighting experts say skylights provide as much as 30% more light than vertical windows. Finally, you can introduce natural light into a kitchen with a “tube light.” If, for example, a skylight will not work in your kitchen, or if the ceiling does not reach the roof, you can install a tube light that runs from the roof through the attic and into the kitchen.
The natural light a room receives makes a huge difference in the way color looks in any given space. It’s important to look at large paint color samples on a wall, not just the 2” x 2” swatches available in the rack at the paint store. The same logic applies to flooring, furnishing and window treatments as well.
The orientation of a room can also have a dramatic impact on the way a color appears on the walls, countertops, cabinets and floors. Northern light is often rather cold looking and in the winter can look especially harsh. You can soften this effect by choosing warm colors such as subtle reds, oranges or browns. Southern light is welcomingly warm. Blues and greens work very well in rooms with a southern exposure and can be used to give the room a year round summery ambience, even in the depths of winter. Light from the east provides a room with bright sunny mornings but rather muted mid-days and often very dim afternoons. In this kind of room a mixture of a warm and cool tones can help even out the imbalance. Western light brings the sunshine streaming into a room in the afternoons and evenings. Neutral shades are best in these kinds of rooms.
Natural light adds energy efficiency and warmth to any room. Kitchen lighting presents some challenges, though. Choosing the right types of natural light sources and colors for your kitchen can make a good design a fantastic living space.