How to Maximise Light in a Kitchen Extension

Abel Hinchliffe
19/03/2024
How to maximise light in a kitchen extension

In the domain of home design, few elements are as coveted as light. Its ability to transform the look, feel and function of a space is unparalleled – and your dream kitchen is no exception.

Thoughtful lighting can not only improve functionality but help create an inviting atmosphere and elevate the overall ambiance of the kitchen. This is why we always place a special focus on light when spearheading kitchen extension projects.

Want to learn more about why maximising light should be a top priority? Read on as explore a variety of strategies to help you harness the power of light and pull off a radiant kitchen extension.

The power of natural light

Unless you live in an especially unique building, it’s safe to assume that most kitchens have windows or at least some source of natural light. Beyond function, sunlight has myriad benefits that make it worth prioritising when designing your kitchen extension. Let’s take a closer look:

Mood-boosting properties

Natural light has incredible mood-boosting properties and the power to improve your mental health and well-being. Exposure to sunlight has been shown to increase serotonin (the happy hormone) levels, promote Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) synthesis. It also helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, the natural cycle that dictates your sleep/wake patterns.

A valuable design tool

From a design perspective, natural light can make a kitchen feel larger and more spacious. In a kitchen extension, where space may be at a premium, inviting natural light to flood the room can help create a more enjoyable environment for cooking, dining, entertaining or simply relaxing with a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper.

How to maximise natural light in your kitchen extension

Now that you know more about natural light's transformative power, let's get more specific with design strategies. Here are six ways to maximise light in your kitchen extension:

1. Strategic placement of windows and skylights

The placement of windows and skylights can make a world of difference when maximising natural light in your kitchen extension. Ideally, you'll want to position these portals to capture as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. Decisions will generally be driven by the orientation of your home and the sun’s path.

If you’re lucky enough to have a south-facing kitchen, capturing natural light should be easy. For kitchens on the house's north side, consider installing skylights to allow indirect sunlight to pour into the room. Solar tubes, cylindrical skylights that capture sunlight and funnel it indoors, can be a clever way to bypass roof or attic spaces and direct natural light into your home.

Along with size and placement, the style of your windows can impact the amount of light in your kitchen. For example, floor-to-ceiling windows can create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.

2. Use reflective surfaces

Windows and skylights aren’t the only way to maximise light in a kitchen extension. Clever design strategies like the incorporation of reflective surfaces can help amplify light.

Materials like glass, granite, stainless steel and glossy tile can bounce light around the room, making it feel brighter and more spacious. Similarly, incorporating glass-fronted cabinets or open shelving can not only create visual interest but allow light to penetrate deeper into the space.

One material we’ve embraced over recent years is polished concrete. Ideal for floors and countertops, polished concrete has a high-gloss surface that reflects light around the kitchen. As well as brightening the space and creating a modern aesthetic, polished concrete wins serious points in the durability department.

The industrial-inspired material is perfect for high-traffic spaces like the kitchen and requires minimal maintenance. Plus, it has excellent thermal mass properties and can help regulate the temperature of your space. If you want to bring a sustainable edge to your kitchen extension, polished concrete can be a clever way to enhance energy efficiency.

3. Get clever with colour

As a general rule, choose light-coloured finishes for walls, ceilings, countertops and cabinetry. All have large surface areas, meaning colour can dramatically impact the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Soft whites, creams and light pastel shades are excellent paint choices for kitchen walls. The same goes for flooring, with options like pale wood or light-coloured tiles helping to reflect light upwards and create an airier feel.

4. Optimise layout and functionality

Consider how light will affect the layout and functionality of your kitchen during the design process. For example, positioning workstations like sinks and prep areas near windows or under skylights can help capitalise on natural light. Likewise, opt for sleek cabinetry and furnishings that won't impede light flow throughout the room or obstruct views.

5. Trim outdoor foliage

Strategies to maximise light in your extension can extend beyond the kitchen itself. Consider trimming trees, shrubs and other foliage outside your kitchen windows that may block natural light or cast shadows.

6. Enlist the help of a professional architecture firm

Hiring a professional architecture firm to oversee your kitchen extension is one of the most effective ways to maximise light. They take the guesswork out of design and use specialised techniques like sun shadow studies to visualise how natural light interacts with your space. Assessing sun angles, exposure and shadows can help enormously when it comes to the strategic placement of windows, skylights and reflective surfaces to optimise light distribution.

Illuminate your kitchen extension with CODA Bespoke

Kitchens are more than just functional spaces. They serve as the heart of the home and provide a space to socialise, entertain and come together as a family. For some homeowners, kitchens are creative outlets for self-expression. Others rely on kitchens as hubs for health and wellness, or as spaces to simply relax and unwind. And of course, from a property perspective a thoughtful kitchen extension can significantly impact the resale value of your home.

Whatever your motivation, at CODA Bespoke we’re committed to offering tailored kitchen extension solutions that will make your space shine. We collaborate closely with every client to integrate personal preferences with architectural principles and out-of-the-box thinking. The result? Beautiful, light-filled kitchens that merge form and function.

Tell us about your project today to take the first step towards your dream kitchen extension.

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Abel Hinchliffe

With a wealth of experience Abel heads up CODA Bespoke, specialising in luxury residential developments both large and small. Recently entrusted with the responsibility of also heading up Studio 4 which is currently delivering numerous office to residential developments. Connect with Abel Hinchliffe on LinkedIn >

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