Main content

Cherie Barber

Renovations Expert

» Ask An Expert

How to lighten up my Kitchen 

My kitchen faces south and is located towards the middle of my home so it can be quite dark. The kitchen does adjoin a dining area which is next to a glassed and roofed alfresco area. I am thinking about installing a skylight perhaps in the middle of the kitchen and am wondering whether you have any ideas as to whether this would be suitable? The kitchen backs onto a passage way that leads off to bedrooms so there is no option to get light from the rear of the kitchen either. I would welcome your thoughts on using a skylight or is there another option I haven't considered? If you think a skylight is suitable should we make it a feature or install something a little less in your face, particuarly given we have bifold glass doors to the alfresco area and another large window opposite the kitcen near the dining area. I have also seen skylighhts that are round approx 30cm in diameter and look like they have smaller lights the size of downlights in them but would probably need more than one. YOur thoughts wpould be most appreciated. With thanks Lesley

Answered Friday 6 April 2012

Hi Lesley, Your thoughts are on the right track. Nothing worse than a dark home. Your objective with any property change is to lighten and brighten rooms and skylights are an affordable option to achieve this. I use a lot of them in my own renovations for spaces where getting light into a room is a challenge. You can certainly use the standard, off the shelf dome skylights for an affordable option however they are small in diameter and therefore will let some light in but not a huge degree of light in. Velux make some great, off the shelf skylights in larger sizes that increase the amount of light into your home. Check out their website: Not only do they let light in, they are great for cross flow ventilation letting fresh air into your home (always a healthier positive). You may install 1, 2 or more in a row for dramatic effect depending on how big your ceiling cavity is. A builder or good carpenter should be able to install any skylight for you. Please note that each council in Australia is different. Some councils require development approval to install skylights (normally it falls under minor works - complying development) so be safe not sorry, always call and check if this is a requirement in your local council. Record the name, date and time of the person you spoke to at council. Where you go to from this piece of advice, get a good carpenter or builder into your home and make sure they jump up into your manhole to see whats going on in the roof cavity. You need to determine what type of skylights will fit in the first place. You may have a structural rafter, hanging beam or other odd fixture in your roof cavity that may stop you from doing what you want to do so best check this out first, then act accordingly. Other ways to get light into your property (especially from your alfresco area) is to increase the openings in doorways which means removing parts of existing walls. Only do this if the walls are non load bearing (again, ask a good builder which walls are load bearing and which ones aren't before you remove any wall, in part of whole). Using lighter paint and cabinetry colours in your kitchen will also lighten a dark room too. Hope this information helps! Cherie :)

Renovations Expert

Cherie Barber

Cherie Barber personally renovated 26 properties and been involved in deals well over $50 million.

» More Questions & Answers

Exterior Paint colour scheme 

Hi Wendy. Yes, getting your colour scheme right is always tricky. Just a shade or two out and you can get it completely wrong. People often think I'm an interior designer when I'm just a hu... Read more

Sell / Buy and Renovate / Rent ? 

Hi Bronwyn,   Normally this answer depends on your current cashflow and equity position. If you are tight on the green stuff, it may be better to sell the property and reinvest the mon... Read more

Interior brick walls 

Hi Sharon. I suspect your best bet (and certainly the cheapest) is a trip to the paint store to check out their specialist paints that you can use straight over bricks to give a render effect.... Read more

Reno of 36 Crinen Street, Hurlstone Park, Sydney 

Hi Jane,   Sorry for the long delay in replying :-O  I have never done a reno in Hurlstone Park to an art gallery so maybe you might have got me mixed up with another one of the T... Read more


Hi Anastasios.  If I didn't have such a crazy work schedule, I would more than love to visit your home and give you ideas. Unfortunately everywhere I go, I'm asked the same question. I... Read more

Thinking about doing some removations to my home... 

Hi Rob, according to property valuers, modernising your kitchen and adding more modern bathrooms are big value adds. You have a 3 bedroom home so even if you take your home from a 3 bed to 1 ma... Read more

Enquiry/advice on a product 

Hi Gloria. The hooks look great but remember, normally all of your accessories match - ie: towel rail, soap dish, robe hooks.... You haven't indicated what material they are made out of but... Read more

painting over bathroom tiles 

Hi Louise,   There are the large resurfacing companies around like Resurfacing Australia - or just google tile resurfacing and... Read more


Hi Nikki,   Great to hear you are tackling a kitchen and bathroom reno in the not too distant future. Start with your flooring first as this is the base of everything in your house. Th... Read more

Cracked shower base 

Hi Julie,   There are specialist bathroom companies that can fix leaking showers without you having to rip your old shower out. Try companies like: Read more


Sign Out

Join the Conversation