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Home Decor

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchen

Design expert Samantha Pynn turns a below-ground apartment into an open, airy space complete with a polished European-style kitchen.
9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchen

Photo, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.

Samantha Pynn basement kitchen

5 basic tips

1. Embrace clean, white walls. It will keep your below-grade space feeling airy and light.

2. Choose one or two areas to splurge on, like the backsplash, to elevate the overall look of the space. Just because it’s a basement doesn’t mean everything has to be budget.

3. Replace solid exterior doors with windowed ones to increase the amount of natural light in the space.

4. Use a combination of under-cabinet and pot lights to illuminate the kitchen. You’ll get the light you need without taking up precious ceiling height.

5. Go custom when you need to. Cumbersome bulkheads are a factor in most basements. Instead of relocating them, which can be costly, think about working them into your design. Here a hood vent — essentially a five-inch stainless steel box — was custom-made to cover an exhaust fan.

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchenPhoto, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.

Opt for a vinyl floor

Basements are prone to temperature fluctuations and hold more moisture than other areas in your house, which means traditional wood flooring can buckle and warp. A smart choice that still gives the look and feel of wood is vinyl. It’s completely waterproof, so it can be installed in moisture-prone areas, and it’s warm and quiet underfoot.

Floors, Home Depot. Fridge, range, cooktop, Ikea. Mixer, West Elm. Exhaust hood, D, Absolute Custom Steel Fabricators.

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchenPhoto, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.
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Keep it fresh and bright with white upper cabinets

“To keep this basement kitchen from feeling dark and dreary, I chose high-gloss, light-reflecting Ikea Abstrakt cabinets in grey for the lower cupboards and white for the upper ones,” says Samantha. “They blend with the walls and give the illusion of greater openness.”

Cabinets, cabinet doors, sink, faucet, Ikea.

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchenPhoto, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.

Splurge on marble subway tile

For the backsplash, Samantha incorporated one of her tried and tested favourites, Carrara marble subway tiles. They add a luxe touch and tie the bright white walls and glossy grey cabinets together.

Tiles, Home Depot.

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchenPhoto, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.

Decorate with functional but sculptural accessories

Pepper mills both beautiful and useful decorate the countertop while herbs and fresh produce are displayed in gorgeous ceramics. “The butcher block countertop adds a natural, warm touch to the kitchen,” says Samantha.

White pepper mill, countertops, Ikea.

9 tips to turn a dingy basement into a bright modern kitchenPhoto, Virginia MacDonald. Prop styling, Julia Black.

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