How can I brighten up a large, older kitchen with inadequate windows?

I moved into a75-yr-old bungalow that I love, all except the kitchen. This was my grandparents' home until they passed away, and then a rental property for several decades. The kitchen is very large, with counters,cabinets & appliances in a 'U' shape at the far end, and a large space for a table where you enter into it from the dining and family room. My mother had custom cabinets done by a novice carpenter 20 yrs ago. They're honey oak, but just okay in quality. I'd love to replace them, but it's not in the budget yet. The appliances are at least new & black. Countertops, flooring & walls are dingy shades of beige. There's a set of small windows over the sink that let in the only natural light in the room. There was once a screened porch off the back kitchen door, & a third window in the kitchen by the eating area that let in more light. But my mom had the porch enclosed, so that window now looks out onto nothing. What techniques could I use to brighten this dreary room inexpensively?

Asked By: joe friday's grrl - 8/12/2007
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Its amazing what a good faux paint job will do to kitchen cabinets. in my last house I had standard white cabs and was going to replace them. My girl friend said she would take care of it. She painted them this hideous shade of red and I was freaking out but for a second coat she streaked with black and they look... More
Answered By: Sender - 8/13/2007
Additional Answers (3)
I agree with all said by Sender. Especially about cupboards but instead of painting them - (since you have a real oak doors, and I think it's a crime to paint over beautiful wood) - find a high-gloss varnish of your preferred colour (not dark!) - the wood will still show through and will not look like a cheap veneer... More
Answered By: gavira_76 - 8/13/2007
I would definitely paint the cupboards a brilliant white. This will help lighten things up. Then I would paint the walls and put in a new's easy with the peel-and-stick tiles. I have done it three times and each time has been a breeze. I would use a very non-busy light colored floor tile, preferably as... More
Answered By: martinmagini - 8/13/2007
Your best bet and the cheapest way to go is with paint. Choose a cheerful shade of yellow, sunny and buttery. You could also put a colorful rug on the floor (just under the table) to brighten up that area. Add lighten if possible. Put a lamp on the kitchen counter and buy a beautiful chandelier for above the table... More
Answered By: mab5096 - 8/13/2007
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