A black kitchen can still look light and spacious as this stunning open-plan space proves

A bright and welcoming family space was created by merging a kitchen and dining room

kitchen island with black units, white top and rattan stools
(Image credit: Future PLC / John F O'Connell)

Chris and Bryony Benstead recently took on an ambitious kitchen refurbishment project, which included knocking through into the dining room to create one large open-plan space. 

Before, the kitchen was too dark and it didn’t have space for the pair to have family meals with their children. In total, the project cost £110,000, but the stunning before and after shots are enough to show that it was money well spent.

Ever keen to know the details of a kitchen renovation project, Chris and Bryony kindly showed us round and told us everything about creating their dream culinary space.

kitchen island with black units, white top and rattan stools

(Image credit: Future PLC / Veronica Rodriguez)

Renovating and restyling

‘Being a bungalow, the house was naturally dark, plus the kitchen was small and we rarely used the separate dining room,' Chris tells us. 'So we decided to knock through and create an open-plan kitchen-diner.'

open plan kitchen with island unit, sliding doors and skylight windows

(Image credit: Future PLC / Veronica Rodriguez)

To allow as much natural light as possible to come in, new skylights were added at the side and rear, as well as sliding glass doors, which replaced the old uPVC French doors. This created a larger utility room, too, but importantly the new layout created a sense of flow into the rest of the house. 

‘As well as allowing more natural light in via the new Velux windows, the vaulted ceiling provides a sense of scale and openness,’ Chris adds.

Slender bar stools were added to the kitchen island ideas to help create an open, airy feel.

exposed brick wall with black kitchen cabinets behind island unit

(Image credit: Future PLC / Victoria Rodriguez)

'We opted for generous floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, which we fitted ourselves, plus a large sociable island,' says Chris. 

The black kitchen cabinetry with brass hardware gives the room an industrial edge, while a unit with glass doors and oak shelving breaks up the look. White quartz worktops contrast well with the dark cabinetry and create a sharp look.

black units in kitchen with wine cooler and drinks cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC / Victoria Rodriguez)

‘The drinks cabinet with interior lighting adds visual impact as well as preventing bottles cluttering the worktops, while a wine cooler adds a luxurious touch,' Chris says. ‘And having the ovens and fridge freezer on one wall ensured a sleek layout.’

The couple spared no expense in making sure the project ticked off all of their wants and wishes. 'As we spend most of our time as a family here, we also installed underfloor heating. The project took six months and stretched our original budget but the pain was definitely worth it.’

Get the look

Focus on: brick feature wall

exposed brick wall, kitchen sink and black cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC / Victoria Rodriguez)

If you’re looking for a stand-out focal point in your own kitchen, consider transforming a plain wall. Chris and Bryony chose brick slips as a wall covering, which is one of the most effective ways to introduce character into a kitchen. If the property is Victorian or earlier, exposing the original brickwork is one way of restoring a sense of heritage to your home, while bringing an industrial edge to the aesthetic.

Before going ahead and removing all the plaster, first drill a hole to test whether there actually is brickwork underneath. If there is, expose a larger patch to see whether the colour and texture of the bricks is something you want for the whole wall.

Alternatively, you can install a feature wall of brick slips. These are specially manufactured tiles that have the appearance of real clay bricks and come in a wide selection of colours and finishes to complement your scheme. They are easy to install using a rapid-setting adhesive.