Picture a beautiful kitchen with rich, warm cherry cabinets. It’s a classic look, yet sometimes these darker tones can make the heart of your home feel shadowy or gloomy. But worry no more! There’s an art to creating balance and adding brightness without losing the charm that cherry cabinets offer. 

Welcome to your ultimate guide on ‘how to lighten up a kitchen with cherry cabinets’ and say goodbye to the cave-like feel! Transforming your kitchen from a space that seems closed off to one that is inviting and vibrant is more attainable than you think. 

This guide is also a resource for those wondering ‘how to lighten up a dark kitchen,’ as many of our tips apply to any kitchen needing an infusion of lightness and cheer. 

Let’s dive into the transformative world of light and color.

Importance of Lightening Up a Dark Kitchen

lighten up a kitchen with cherry cabinets

Lightening up a dark kitchen is not just a matter of aesthetics; it can transform the functionality and overall culinary space ambiance. When you understand ‘how to lighten up a dark kitchen,’ you open up a world of possibilities for an inviting, comfortable, and practical kitchen.

Light can play a significant role in any room, but it’s particularly important in a kitchen for a variety of reasons:

Benefits of Lightening Up Your KitchenExplanation
Increased FunctionalityImproved lighting enhances visibility, making food preparation easier and safer.
Enhanced AestheticsA well-lit kitchen accentuates design elements and makes the space appear cleaner and more spacious.
Improved Mood and EnergyArtificial and natural light can boost your mood and energy, especially during meal preparation and dining.
Property ValueA bright, cheery kitchen can increase the attractiveness and potential resale value of your home.

So, from facilitating your culinary adventures to offering a warm and inviting space for family meals, the benefits of understanding how to lighten up a kitchen – particularly one with cherry cabinets – are manifold. Let’s explore some strategies on how you can achieve this.

How to Lighten up a Kitchen with Cherry Cabinets

When it comes to brightening a kitchen with cherry cabinets, a multitude of strategies can be employed. Each of these techniques plays a significant role in transforming your kitchen into a light-filled oasis. 

Here are five effective ways to lighten up your kitchen:

Method 1: Paint and Color Choices

  • Opt for light-colored backsplash paints: Light colors reflect light, making the room brighter. Consider shades of white, cream, light gray, or pale yellow for your walls.
  • Choose contrasting colors: Balance the dark cherry cabinets with lighter shades on your walls or kitchen island.
  • Consider painting the ceiling: A light-colored ceiling can create a sense of height and brightness.

Method 2: Lighting Fixtures

  • Install under-cabinet lighting: This will illuminate your countertops and provide a contrast to your cherry cabinets.
  • Utilize layered recessed lighting: Combine ambient, task, and accent lighting to achieve an even distribution of light.
  • Select brighter bulbs: Opt for bulbs that offer a ‘daylight’ color temperature for maximum brightness.

Method 3: Reflective Surfaces

  • Use glossy finishes: Glossy or semi-gloss paint, high-gloss cabinets, or shiny backsplash tiles can reflect light.
  • Install a mirror: A well-placed mirror can bounce light around the room, especially effective in small or windowless kitchens.
  • Opt for stainless steel appliances: These can reflect light and help brighten the room.

Method 4: Window Treatments

  • Install light-colored curtains or blinds: Light window treatments can reflect light and make the room appear larger.
  • Opt for sheer materials: They allow more natural light to filter in while providing privacy.
  • Keep windows clean: Clean, streak-free windows maximize the amount of light entering the room.

Method 5: Open Shelving

  • Replace upper cabinets: Open shelves in place of upper cabinets create a more open, airy feel.
  • Display light-colored dishes: White or light-colored dishes on open shelves can add brightness to the kitchen.
  • Use light wood or painted shelves: Lighter shelving materials can further contribute to a bright and open atmosphere.

Detailed Guide on How to Implement These Methods

The task of brightening a kitchen with cherry cabinets might initially appear challenging. However, with well-defined strategies and thoughtful planning, it can indeed be an engaging and rewarding endeavor.

Below are some practical steps and tips for implementing the aforementioned strategies:

Paint and Color Choices

  • Start by selecting a color palette that complements your cherry kitchen cabinets and provides contrast.
  • Test paint samples in different light conditions to ensure the color works throughout the day.
  • Consider professional painting for a flawless finish, especially if you’re painting the cabinets.

Lighting Fixtures

  • Start with a plan that addresses general, task, and accent lighting needs.
  • Use LED lights for energy efficiency and longevity.
  • For under-cabinet lighting, choose easy-to-install options like LED strips or puck lights.

Reflective Surfaces

  • Choose your finishes (paint, backsplash) considering their reflectivity.
  • Place mirrors strategically to reflect natural light from windows.
  • Choose appliances with stainless steel finishes where possible.

Window Treatments

  • Measure your windows accurately before purchasing window treatments.
  • Choose light-filtering blinds or curtains for a blend of privacy and natural light.
  • Regularly clean your windows to ensure maximum light entry.

Open Shelving

  • Consider replacing one or two upper cabinets with open shelving for a start.
  • Arrange your dishes and other items neatly on the shelves. Consider color-coordinating for visual appeal.
  • Choose lighter, brighter materials for your shelves to keep the look cohesive.

Tips & Tricks on Cherry Cabinet Maintenance

Maintaining the luster and elegance of your kitchen with cherry cabinets is equally important as lightening up your kitchen. Proper care ensures that your kitchen cherry cabinets remain in good condition, retain their beauty, and continue to enhance the ambiance of your kitchen. 

Here are some tips and tricks for cherry kitchen cabinet maintenance:

  • Regular Cleaning: Use a soft, damp cloth for regular cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the finish of your cabinets.
  • Polishing: Use a good quality furniture polish every few months to maintain the shine of your cabinets.
  • Avoid Sun Damage: Cherry wood cabinets can darken over time with exposure to sunlight. Use window treatments for dark cherry cabinets to control the amount of direct sunlight on your cabinets.
  • Address Spills Immediately: To prevent staining in the cherry wood kitchen cabinets, immediately clean any spills, especially acidic substances like fruit juices.
  • Hinge and Handle Care: Regularly tighten cabinet handles and hinges to prevent any damage or alignment issues.


Lightening a dark kitchen, especially one with cherry cabinets, can significantly boost its aesthetic appeal, functionality, and overall warm and inviting atmosphere. With strategic use of paint, lighting fixtures, reflective surfaces, window treatments, and open shelving, your kitchen can transform into a bright, inviting space. Remember, regular maintenance of your cherry cabinets will ensure their charm lasts for years to come.


Eliza is a culinary maven with an undeniable passion for the art of cooking and a deep understanding of all things kitchen-related. She is a renowned kitchen expert and a source of inspiration for aspiring chefs around the world. With years of hands-on experience and a knack for creating delectable masterpieces, she has established herself as a leading authority in the culinary industry.

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