There is probably a fifty/fifty chance that your kitchen faces away from the day light sun. And many people will have a north facing kitchen which will get little sunlight at all. Other than moving your kitchen to the other end of the house, your best option will be to make the most of the many products and design options available to make the room lighter and brighter.
Your first move towards getting a lighter kitchen will be to replace any dark kitchen doors with lighter and brighter replacement kitchen doors. This is a low cost way of adding an instant lightening effect and will make a difference in just one weekend. When deciding on the correct doors, remember that light colours such as white, cream, yellow and pale blue will add light to the room.
The material you choose for your replacement kitchen doors can also influence how much light is cast around the room. Gloss doors will reflect light and will work in a dark room even if they are of a darker colour. Try not to use materials which will absorb the light such as darker wood-grain finishes.
Try to find a worktop which is highly reflective or even white. Some worktops have pieces of glass embedded into them which are glittery and reflect light well. Do remember that gloss work surfaces may not work well with gloss cupboards doors. The key is not to overdo the concept of gloss, but to allow light to enter the room.
If you have gloss doors, choose a light coloured but matt work surface. Alternatively, match a gloss worktop with matt but lightly coloured doors.
The lighting you use in your kitchen will have a huge impact on how bright the room feels. In a north facing kitchen you will probably need the lights on for most of the day – even in the summer. However having under counter lighting can add enough light to the room without having a completely artificial glow.
Under-unit lighting will reflect off the worktop, bouncing the light around the room. Make sure that the lights are placed at regular intervals so there are not gaps. Strip lighting works well to avoid the tell-tale shafts of light which can undermine your efforts to make it look like daylight.
Other accessories such as the window blind, the appliances and display items should be in brighter hues. If possible, ensure they're made out of reflective materials such as stainless steel.
Painting and tiles
The general colour you choose for your kitchen will influence how dark it looks. You will be forgiven for thinking that lighter colours such as brilliant white and cream would work well in a darker environment. But you can use a darker colour if you have lighter kitchen cupboard doors.
Red, blue or green walls will work well with white units and the overall effect will still be lighter, but without the clinical look which could come from a completely white room. Your ceiling should always be painted white however to give the illusion that the room is larger and higher than it actually is.
Your tiles should also be a lighter colour, but you can add an accent of colour with bands or accent tiles.
Your kitchen will always looking brighter and lighter if you remember to keep it sparkling clean. This applies especially to the windows which will need to let in as much light as possible. Polishing your tiles, gloss doors and worktops will enable the light to bounce around easily. Stainless steel also has excellent reflective qualities and will need to be highly polished. While this sounds like lots of work, it is worthwhile in the end.