Kitchen Lighting: In a Nutshell



Lights can make or break a room. Putting enough light in strategic places around the room not only serves to illuminate activity areas, but can also add to the overall ambiance of the room. Having too little light can strain your eyes as you can’t see what you’re doing. Having too much light would also strain your eyes because the glare is so intense. In lighting a room, you have to strike a balance among giving off the right amount of light, and placing them where they are needed.

Because the kitchen is a crucial part of the home, it needs to be lighted just so. It’s one of the busiest rooms of the house and requires enough light to allow you to prepare meals, eat meals and maybe help the kids with their homework. However, a lot of people tend to get the lighting wrong in the kitchen. Some may put badly located lights around the kitchen which gives off tons of light, but not in the crucial areas. Others place gorgeous lamps that enhance the atmosphere, but fail to give off enough illumination. In this guide, you’ll learn what you should be doing with different light sources in the kitchen.

Learn a thing or two about lighting before you buy your light fixtures

With so many types of bulbs around, it’s easy to get confused with what kinds of bulbs would fit into the design scheme of your kitchen. Learn about lumens, Kelvin and the different shapes and functions of light before you buy them from the shop. You can also aim for energy saving lights so your electricity bill won’t skyrocket. Some shops that sell light bulbs and fixtures may even let you test a light bulb so you can see how it would look when they’re lit. Take advantage of this and try out the lights that appeal to you.

Don’t just stick to one light source

The key to creating the right ambiance and task lighting in the kitchen is not to rely on just one source of illumination. Combining different kinds of lights like accent lighting, decorative lighting and task lighting allows you to create visual interest while still giving certain areas enough light to allow you to perform tasks. Think of adding a row of pendants to divide the kitchen and the dining area or putting some accent lighting on your kitchen’s decorative pieces.


Layer your lights

If you’re trying to save up on your energy expenses, one big bright light in the middle of the kitchen may seem like a practical choice. As mentioned above, this is a poor interior design choice. However, you run the risk of giving off a glare bomb that could overpower everything near the light source. To avoid this, have several light sources located around your kitchen for different purposes. By having independent controls for these lights, you can create lighting schemes to fit the mood such as using only the accent lights in the daytime, or using dimmer lights for intimate dinners.

Directional lights can give you added flexibility

Instead of going for a row of bright lights over your counters, you can place a few directional spotlights so you can move the light to the areas where you need them the most. Not only will you be spending less on bulbs, but by using only one spotlight at a time, you can save up on your electricity expenses as well.


Hide some of the lights

Though lamps make for great décor, you can also choose to hide some lights beneath the cupboard so you can perform tasks on the counter below it while not filling up the entire kitchen with numerous lamps and light fixtures. LED bulbs that produce minimal heat are perfect for lighting under cupboards. You can also opt to put some lights under an island unit to give off the illusion that it’s floating on a bed of light.

Make use of ambient lighting

The kitchen shouldn’t be all about task lighting; otherwise your kitchen would end up looking like a commercial kitchen. Adding some ambient light in strategic places gives off a warm vibe throughout the entire room. Think of adding a nice line of low-hanging warm lights atop an island unit. You can tell if a light bulb has a warmed glow if it has a lower Kelvin number.


Make use of decorative lighting

Sometimes the kitchen doesn’t leave much space for décor. In these cases, you can turn the light sources itself into the décor. There are two things you have to keep in mind when it comes to decorative lighting: the size and scale of the light should fit into the space, and the material of the shade should be opaque enough to hide the light bulb underneath. To pull this off, you can install a wall lamp with an interesting shade for a blank spot in the wall. You can also use pendant lights with ornate shades above kitchen islands. For those who really want a fancy focal point, a small-scale chandelier in the middle of the kitchen can work too.

Keep the size of the kitchen in mind

All these tips work well for bigger kitchens, but if you’ve got limited space, you need to refrain from lights that take up too much space. So even if you want low hanging lights with a big shade or lots of standing lights for corner accents, you’ll run the risk of making your kitchen look to crowded and busy. The best way to light up smaller kitchens is to keep the lights hidden or as close the walls and ceilings as possible while also angling them towards the cupboards and walls in order to let the light bounce and increase its luminosity.


Place lights within the cabinets for an added decorative touch

Glass cabinets are a great way to display your fancy cookware, collection of ornate utensils or even just a set of pretty mugs. You can highlight these furnishings while lighting up the kitchen by putting light fixtures within the cabinets. However, the contents of the cabinet should be able to withstand heat so you should use LED lights to ensure you won’t be damaging your precious collection.


Keeping your kitchen properly lit will not only make sure that your tasks are more easily completed, but it will also protect your eyes from any strain. Carrots may be thought to improve eyesight, but no amount of them will save you from eyestrain if you have inadequate lighting in your kitchen! So for your new kitchen or next renovation, find out if there are any lighting improvements you can make.