How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets
Kitchen Cabinets

How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets


How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets: Cherry cabinets exude a classic and timeless elegance, but sometimes, they can create a cozy atmosphere that might seem a tad dim. Fear not! In this guide, we’ll show you how to brighten up your kitchen and transform it into a radiant and inviting space that will inspire your culinary adventures. From strategic lighting choices to clever decor and color combinations, we’ll explore a range of creative solutions to help you unveil the full potential of your kitchen, making it the heart of your home once again.

Lighting plays a crucial role in brightening any space, and the kitchen cabinets is no exception. Consider installing a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a well-lit and inviting atmosphere. Replace outdated fixtures with modern, energy-efficient LED lights, which provide bright illumination while consuming less electricity. Installing LED strips or puck lights beneath the upper cabinets will not only add extra brightness to your countertops but also highlight the beautiful grain of the cherry cabinets.

Choose a light-colored or reflective backsplash material to bounce light around the kitchen. White or light-colored tiles, glass, or mirrored backsplashes can make a significant difference in the overall brightness of the space. If possible, opt for light-colored countertops to contrast with the cherry cabinets. Light granite, marble, or quartz countertops will add a touch of brightness and elegance to the kitchen. The color of your kitchen walls can significantly impact how light and spacious the room appears. Consider painting the walls a light, neutral shade such as soft white, cream, pale gray, or pastel hues. Light-colored walls create an illusion of more space and reflect light effectively.

How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets

How do you tone down cherry kitchen cabinets?

Grey and Blue Colors

Like in the picture above, the blue-grey color on the walls tones down the vibrancy of the cherry cabinets. If this is something you want to do, then painting the walls a similar color is a good option! You may also want to add decor that is grey or a neutral color for that pop of color!

One of the most effective ways to tone down the prominence of cherry cabinets is by opting for neutral wall colors. Choose soft, cool-toned shades like light gray, beige, cream, or pale taupe. These calming hues will create a balanced backdrop, allowing the cabinets to stand out while harmonizing with the overall atmosphere.

Balance the warmth of cherry cabinets by selecting countertops with a complementary cool tone. Granite, quartz, or marble in light shades, such as white, light gray, or soft pastels, will introduce a pleasing contrast, making the cabinets appear less dominant.

Incorporate white or light-colored elements throughout the kitchen. White trim, light fixtures, backsplash tiles, and even dishware can bring a sense of airiness and brightness, effectively counteracting the deeper tones of the cherry wood.

Embrace natural light as much as possible. Ensure that curtains or blinds are kept open during the day to allow sunlight to flood the space. Consider expanding windows or adding a skylight if feasible, which will not only brighten the room but also create a sense of openness.

If your kitchen layout allows it, consider replacing some upper cabinet doors with open shelves. This not only breaks up the visual density of the cherry cabinets but also offers an opportunity to display light-colored dishes and kitchenware, adding visual interest and balance.

Is there a way to lighten cherry cabinets?

How to Lighten Cherry Wood Kitchen Cabinets

  • Clean your cabinets thoroughly.
  • Bleach your cabinets using “A/B” bleaches sold in most paint and hardware stores. 
  • Strip off the finish on your cabinets. 
  • Paint your cabinets to lighten them up.

A popular technique to lighten cherry cabinets is whitewashing. This involves applying a diluted white paint or whitewash over the wood, allowing some of the natural grain and color to show through. The result is a beautiful blend of light and dark tones, creating a charming, rustic effect.

Another method to lighten cherry cabinets is bleaching. This process involves using a wood bleach to remove the natural color of the wood. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and conduct a patch test before applying it to the entire surface.

Consider replacing some or all of the cabinet doors with glass panels. Glass doors not only create an open and airy feel but also allow you to showcase your dishes or decorative items, adding a touch of elegance and brightness to the kitchen.

Install a light-colored or reflective backsplash to bounce light around the kitchen. This can be in the form of white subway tiles, light-colored mosaic tiles, or mirrored backsplash options.

Changing the cabinet hardware to a lighter and more modern style can have a significant impact. Opt for brushed nickel, chrome, or stainless steel handles and knobs to create a subtle contrast against the cherry cabinets.

Pairing the cherry cabinets with light-colored flooring and countertops can enhance the overall brightness of the space. Light wood flooring, white or light gray countertops, or even marble can complement the cabinets beautifully.

How do you modernize a dark cherry kitchen?

Modernize Cherry Kitchen Cabinets with a Light Backsplash

A simple white subway tile is budget friendly and will sit perfectly alongside the cherry cabinets. If your counters are light, together with the white tiles, they’ll reflect light and make the space feel like a more spacious room.

To create a modern backdrop for your dark cherry cabinets, opt for neutral wall colors. Shades of white, light gray, or soft beige will provide a clean canvas that allows your cabinetry to stand out while fostering a sense of openness and lightness.

To add a modern twist, introduce contrasting elements in your kitchen. Consider incorporating light-colored countertops, such as white quartz or marble, to offset the darkness of the cherry cabinets. The contrast will create a striking visual impact and add a contemporary touch.

Swap out traditional cabinet hardware for sleek and minimalist options. Choose handles and knobs in brushed nickel, stainless steel, or matte black to achieve a modern and streamlined look.

Incorporate open shelving in strategic areas to showcase modern dishware, glassware, or decorative items. Open shelves create an airy feel and provide an opportunity to display stylish pieces that enhance the overall modern vibe.

Use glass or mirrored elements to add a touch of sophistication. Consider installing a glass tile backsplash or incorporating mirrored cabinet doors to reflect light and create a sense of depth.

Modernize the kitchen’s lighting with recessed fixtures. Recessed lighting provides a clean and minimalist look while evenly illuminating the space, making it appear brighter and more contemporary.

How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets

What color goes good with cherry cabinets?

White, gray, and beige, are the most popular colors and work beautifully with cherry cabinets. Backsplash: Your backsplash is like the jewelry for your kitchen. It’s meant to enhance your cabinetry and countertops, and is a stylish way to bring color and pattern into the space.

Soft neutrals, such as creamy whites, light beige, and warm grays, are classic choices that work well with cherry cabinets. These colors create a timeless and sophisticated ambiance, allowing the cabinets to remain the focal point of the space.

Soft, muted greens can complement cherry cabinets beautifully, creating a fresh and natural feel. Consider sage green, pale olive, or seafoam green for a subtle yet elegant pairing.

Light blues, like sky blue or aqua, can create a calming and tranquil atmosphere when combined with cherry cabinets. This color combination evokes a sense of serenity and works well in coastal or cottage-inspired spaces.

Soft, pale yellows can add a touch of warmth and brightness to the kitchen, harmonizing with the cherry cabinets. These hues create a cheerful and inviting environment.

Warm reds or oranges with a subtle undertone can create a dynamic and complementary contrast with cherry cabinets. Consider terra-cotta, rust, or cinnamon shades for a vibrant and inviting space.

Gray with warm undertones, such as greige (gray-beige) or taupe, can provide a modern and neutral backdrop for cherry cabinets. This combination creates a balanced and sophisticated look.

How do you make cherry wood look lighter?

I decided to change our cherry wood desk from a dark stain to a light wood bleached look with the help of two-part wood bleach and lime wax.

One of the most effective ways to make cherry wood look lighter is by refinishing the surface. Stripping off the existing finish and applying a lighter stain can significantly alter the color of the wood. Opt for a lighter, more natural wood stain, such as a honey or golden oak shade, to achieve a lighter tone while preserving the wood’s characteristic grain.

Bleaching cherry wood is another method to lighten its color. Wood bleach is applied to the surface, which removes some of the wood’s natural pigments, resulting in a lighter appearance. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and conduct a patch test before applying it to the entire surface.

Whitewashing cherry wood involves applying a diluted white paint or whitewash to the surface. This technique allows the wood’s grain to show through while lightening its overall color. The result is a charming, rustic effect that adds a touch of lightness and character to the wood.

For a complete transformation, painting cherry wood is an option. Choose a light-colored paint, such as white, cream, or pastel shades, to achieve a fresh and bright look. Keep in mind that painting cherry wood will completely cover its grain and natural appearance.

If you prefer not to alter the color of the wood significantly, opt for light-colored finishes that enhance its natural hue. Choose a clear varnish or a light polyurethane to bring out the cherry wood’s warm tones while adding a slight brightness.

How do you change the look of cherry cabinets?

Here’s How to Update Your Cherry Kitchen Cabinets

  • 1.) Paint the Cabinets with a Lighter Color.
  • 2.) Replace Countertops, Backsplash, or Décor.
  • 3.) Change the Hardware.
  • 4.) Add Cabinet Lighting.
  • 5.) Refinish Your Cherry Cabinets.

Distressing or Antiquing: Adding a distressed or antiqued finish to cherry cabinets can give them a rustic or vintage appearance. This technique involves creating intentional wear and tear to give the cabinets a charming, weathered look.

Two-Tone Cabinets: Create a visually dynamic look by combining two different finishes on the cabinets. For example, you can paint the upper cabinets and leave the lower cabinets with their natural cherry finish, or vice versa. This two-tone effect adds a unique and stylish dimension to the kitchen.

Replace some cabinet doors with glass inserts to create an open and modern feel. Glass doors can showcase your dishes and add an elegant touch to the cabinets.

Changing the cabinet hardware can have a significant impact on the overall look. Swap out traditional knobs and handles for sleek and contemporary options in brushed nickel, chrome, or matte black.

Install under-cabinet lighting to showcase the cabinets and add a warm glow to the space. This lighting can also highlight the new finish or paint color.

Update the backsplash with a new material or color. A contrasting or complementary backsplash can enhance the look of the cabinets and tie the whole kitchen together.

Consider replacing the countertops with a material that complements the new cabinet finish or paint color. Light-colored quartz or marble countertops can create a beautiful contrast with darker cherry cabinets.

What color goes best with cherry wood?

Look to the Opposite of the Color Wheel

“I find that the best complement to the dark red tones of cherry wood comes from across the color wheel,” designer Kevin O’Gara says. Thus, he notes, greens and blues make for an excellent choice.

Opt for warm white shades with a touch of cream or beige for a cozy and welcoming feel. Warm whites create a subtle contrast with cherry wood while maintaining an overall harmonious look.

Earthy tones, such as terracotta, burnt sienna, and muted oranges, complement the warm undertones of cherry wood. These colors create a welcoming and grounded space with a touch of natural appeal.

A soft sage green can provide a lovely contrast to cherry wood, creating a serene and calming ambiance. This color combination is ideal for creating a traditional or cottage-inspired look.

Soft blues, like sky blue or muted aqua, can create a refreshing and soothing atmosphere when paired with cherry wood. This combination is perfect for coastal or beach-inspired interiors.

Light and soft yellows can add a touch of warmth and brightness to the space, harmonizing with the cherry wood’s warm tones. Consider pastel shades like buttercream or pale gold for a cheerful and inviting look.

Olive green can add depth and sophistication to a space with cherry wood. This color combination creates a rich and elegant ambiance.

Do cherry cabinets darken with age?

By ordering a cherry product you must understand that the color will continue to darken with time, and that a new cabinet has to be allowed to age a minimum of 6 – 12 months if you desire a somewhat darker, and more mellow color.

The darkening of cherry wood is primarily attributed to its exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can be found in natural sunlight. UV light causes a chemical reaction in the wood’s cells, resulting in the oxidation of its natural pigments. Initially, cherry wood may have a lighter, reddish-brown color, but as it ages, it deepens into a darker, richer reddish-brown, sometimes even approaching a reddish-brown mahogany tone.

The aging process of cherry wood is a sought-after characteristic for many homeowners and interior designers. The darkening patina adds depth and warmth to cherry cabinets, giving them a unique and elegant appearance. As the wood darkens with age, it also develops a rich, lustrous sheen, enhancing its beauty and visual appeal.

The rate at which cherry wood darkens can vary depending on several factors, such as the amount of natural light the cabinets are exposed to, the type of finish used on the wood, and the level of air circulation in the space. Additionally, cherry wood darkens more noticeably in the first few years after installation and then more gradually over the following decades.

While cherry cabinets may darken with age, many people appreciate this natural process as it enhances the character and elegance of the wood. The gradual transformation of cherry wood into a deeper, richer hue is a testament to its quality and beauty, making cherry cabinets a timeless and cherished addition to any home.

How To Lighten Up A Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets


The right color choices play a vital role as well. Opt for light-colored walls and countertops that harmonize with the richness of the cherry cabinets, creating a perfect balance between warmth and brightness. Adding reflective surfaces, like light backsplash materials, open shelving, and mirrors, will further maximize the light in the room, making it appear more spacious and vibrant. Finally, don’t underestimate the power of small touches and well-thought-out decor. By carefully selecting light-colored accessories and introducing pops of contrasting colors, you can add visual interest and a personal touch to your kitchen.

Incorporate white elements, such as white trim, white ceiling, or white furniture pieces, to balance the rich tones of the cherry cabinets. This contrast will emphasize the beauty of the cabinets while keeping the room light and inviting. Ensure that your work areas, like the sink, stove, and countertops, have ample task lighting. This targeted lighting will make food preparation and cooking tasks easier and more enjoyable.

Keep the kitchen clutter-free by regularly organizing and decluttering. A tidy space not only feels brighter but also enhances efficiency and functionality. If your kitchen has a low ceiling or lacks natural light, painting it in a light color will visually lift it, creating the illusion of more space and airiness. Install dimmer switches for your overhead lights. This allows you to adjust the lighting intensity according to different activities and moods, providing flexibility and control over the brightness in the kitchen.