What’s the Best Strategy for Maximizing Natural Light in a North-Facing Kitchen?

April 22, 2024

The kitchen, commonly referred to as the heart of a home, is more than just a place to prepare meals. It should be a bright, inviting space that sparks joy and fosters a connection among family members. However, if you happen to have a north-facing kitchen, you may find it a challenge to enjoy the full benefits of natural light. This guide will help you understand the best strategies to maximize natural light in a north-facing kitchen and transform it into a light-filled haven.

Embrace Light Reflecting Colors

A north-facing kitchen can sometimes be on the darker side because it does not get direct sunlight. One effective way to overcome this is by using light reflecting colours.

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Choosing the right colour scheme can make a significant difference in your kitchen’s brightness. Light colours and neutrals are known to reflect light, making your space appear brighter and bigger. Paint your walls, cabinets and ceiling in shades of white, cream, or light grey. These colours will help bounce light around the room.

If you prefer a bit of colour, consider pastel shades. They are light enough to reflect light but will also add a touch of personality to your space. For the kitchen worktops, opt for materials with a glossy finish as they reflect more light than those with a matte finish.

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Make the Most of Your Windows

Windows are a key source of natural light. In a north-facing kitchen, it is essential to maximise the amount of light entering through these windows.

Firstly, ensure your windows are clean, inside and out. This will allow the maximum amount of light to stream in. If privacy is not a concern, consider removing blinds or heavy curtains and replacing them with lighter, translucent ones.

If possible, consider enlarging your windows or adding new ones. Skylights are also a great source of natural light, particularly in a north-facing kitchen. They allow light to flood in from the highest point, illuminating your whole kitchen.

Use Mirrors and Shiny Surfaces

Mirrors and shiny surfaces are not just for bathrooms or bedrooms – they can work wonders in a kitchen too. Mirrors reflect light, and placing them strategically can help brighten up your space.

Consider installing a mirrored backsplash. It will bounce light around the room and create an illusion of a brighter and larger kitchen. You can also place mirrors across from windows to reflect the incoming light.

Shiny surfaces and metallics also help reflect light. Opt for appliances and utensils with a chrome, stainless steel or glossy finish. You can also incorporate shiny tiles, glossy kitchen cabinets and metallic light fixtures.

Install Effective Lighting

Even with all these strategies in place, effective artificial lighting is still crucial in a north-facing kitchen. This is especially important during the winter months when natural light is minimal.

Invest in a variety of light sources to create a well-lit kitchen. Overhead lighting is essential, but it should not be your only source of light. Add under-cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops and task areas. Consider pendant lights over the kitchen island or dining area for a warm, inviting glow.

Remember to use warm white bulbs instead of cool white ones. Warm white light is closer to natural light and will help your kitchen feel brighter and cosier.

Opt for Open-Plan Design

Lastly, consider an open-plan design. This design can greatly enhance the flow of natural light in a north-facing kitchen.

The open concept removes barriers like walls or doors that block light. It allows light to flow freely throughout the space. If you are not up for a complete remodel, even removing upper cabinets or installing open shelves can make a big difference.

Remember, the key is to create a continuous flow of space. This not only allows for more light to circulate but also creates a sense of spaciousness in your kitchen.

In conclusion, while a north-facing kitchen may seem like a design challenge, with a bit of creative thinking and strategic planning, you can create a bright and inviting space. The goal is to maximize natural light, while also considering effective artificial light for those shorter winter days. By following these strategies, you will not only improve the light in your kitchen but also enhance the overall atmosphere and functionality of your space.

Incorporate Reflective Finishes

To increase brightness in your north-facing kitchen, incorporating reflective finishes is an effective strategy. As mentioned, a north-facing kitchen does not receive direct sunlight, making it crucial to deploy techniques that can amplify the amount of light in the room. Reflective finishes are a practical solution to this issue.

Reflective finishes possess the ability to capture and redistribute light, contributing to a brighter kitchen. They function by catching the existing light and then dispersing it throughout the room. This can significantly improve the overall brightness of your north-facing kitchen, even when the sun isn’t shining directly into the room.

You can introduce reflective finishes in several ways. For instance, you can consider using high-gloss paint on your walls or cabinets. High-gloss paint has a shiny surface that can reflect light, thus contributing to a brighter kitchen. Other options include glossy countertops, polished metal hardware fixtures, and shiny kitchen appliances. All these elements can enhance the light reflection in your kitchen, making it appear brighter and more inviting.

Moreover, choosing furniture with shiny surfaces can also boost the light reflection in your kitchen. Glass tables, for instance, can reflect light and make your space seem more illuminated. Similarly, metal barstools or chairs with a polished finish can contribute to a brighter kitchen.

Utilize Glass Doors and Partitions

Another strategy for maximizing natural light in a north-facing kitchen is to utilize glass doors and partitions. A common challenge with north-facing kitchens is that they may feel enclosed and dark because of the lack of sufficient natural light. Incorporating glass doors and partitions can effectively address this issue.

Glass doors and partitions facilitate the transmission of light. They allow light to travel through unobstructed, illuminating your kitchen space. This can substantially enhance the brightness of your north-facing kitchen, making it feel more open and inviting.

Installing a glass door that leads to the outside is an effective way to maximize natural light. This allows more light to enter your kitchen, making it brighter. You can also use glass partitions to separate different areas in your kitchen without blocking the light flow. For instance, you can use a glass partition to separate the cooking area from the dining area. This ensures that light can still travel freely throughout the space, making your kitchen brighter.

In addition, glass shelves and cabinets can also contribute to a brighter kitchen. They allow light to pass through, reducing shadows and dark corners in your kitchen.


Having a north-facing kitchen does not have to mean compromising on brightness or space. With strategic planning and creative thinking, it is possible to maximize natural light and transform a dark, north-facing kitchen into a light-filled haven. Strategies such as using light-reflecting colours, maximizing window usage, incorporating reflective finishes, installing effective lighting, opting for an open-plan design, and utilizing glass doors and partitions can significantly brighten up a north-facing kitchen.

In addition to enhancing the brightness of your kitchen, these strategies can also contribute to creating an inviting space that fosters connection among family members. Remember, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s not just about cooking food, but also about sparking joy and fostering connections. By implementing these strategies, you can create a kitchen that is not only functional but also a pleasant space to spend time in.