Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don’t confuse your countertops with your lighting

A woman I know wants to replace her kitchen countertops. She recently bought and moved into a condo and her kitchen is functional, pretty well laid out, but a bit lacking in color and light. To add some oomph to it, she’s beginning with her countertops.

I went with her to look at countertops. She had a pretty good idea of what she didn’t want but she was not very certain about what she did want. In the end, she had so many samples of what she thought she might like it was almost impossible to carry them.

It seemed as if she was an indecisive person. But that would be very unusual for her. So we started talking. Eventually, the truth came out.

“What I really want is black!”

She blurted it out. I said, “So why not get black?”

“Because my kitchen is so dark. I need something to brighten it up.”

She was right. Her kitchen was dark. But it had nothing to do with countertops. The colors in her kitchen are light. They’re cream colors. Black would add nice contrast and give it some personality. Her problem was lighting.

Her confusion was over how to brighten up her kitchen. She had a lighting problem but had confused it with the colors and shades of her kitchen. How could cream ever be dark? Adding black countertops would spice up the look, if anything.

But because the kitchen was poorly lit – a single ceiling light that didn’t fill corners well – the room had shadows and no accents. With its low wattage bulb, it created a dim effect and made the room feel dark. Where light was concerned, it was a light coloured countertop she didn’t want. It was better statement and accent lighting.

In our article on kitchen trends in 2011 we talk about lighting and what many people are doing this year with their kitchens, including how they are seeing now seeing kitchens as living spaces, not simply about food.

My friend’s situation highlights something important about remodeling and all the aspects that go into making the look and feel of a room. Don’t confuse a problem of lighting with the colors, shades and textures of your kitchen. The character of your kitchen comes through a combination of colors, textures, light, furnishings and appliances.