Kitchen Lighting Ideas



Kitchen is the most work oriented room in the house. You need good kitchen lighting ideas to make it not only utilitarian but attractive as well.

It is becoming more and more of a multifunctional hub of the home. Eating and relaxing are becoming part of the kitchen activities apart from cooking. Hence it is important to have flexible lighting as part of kitchen lighting ideas, that can cope with different activities.

Consider a few factors before choosing on a lighting system -

  • How big is your kitchen
  • What is its layout
  • For what all activities it is being used
  • How much natural lighting you are getting at different times of the day
  • What kitchen colors, textures and materials are there (or planned for new kitchens) for different elements like flooring, cabinets, worktops etc.

Kitchen lighting is primarily of two types. Task Lighting is for cooking and working in the kitchen. Ambient Lighting is for general illumination and for dining and relaxing.

Apart from these there is Accent Lighting and Decorative Lighting. Careful planning is essential when finalizing these kitchen lighting ideas.

You will need the right amounts of different lighting types for a great kitchen design.

Task Lighting

Although kitchen is being used for a variety of purposes, it is first and foremost a work area. Hence that requirement should be fulfilled at the outset.

When finalizing the locations of light fixtures keep in mind that light source should be in front or directly above the work surface. Otherwise it will cast shadows while working.

Countertops are the areas in the kitchen where maximum works like preparation, cooking and washing get done. Bright task lights to illuminate properly these areas are a must.

By providing lighting fixed under the overhead kitchen storage cabinets you can give focused task lighting directed over the hob, sink and chopping board. Take care to position the lights as close to the front edge of the cabinets as possible to prevent shadows interfering with the work area. Fluorescent tubes and low voltage halogen lights are good options for these types of kitchen lighting ideas.

If there are kitchen islands or small kitchen tables, install either drop down overhead lighting or ceiling mounted downlighters with the right beam width to create focused light.

You can have the automatic lights (which turn on and off with the opening and closing of doors) installed in the cabinets to illuminate the storage areas.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting helps create different moods. It makes the space looks brighter. It is also used to avoid any shadowy areas in the kitchen which might be created due to task lighting.

Ambient lighting is normally for broad level lighting providing even illumination in the kitchen by bouncing the light off ceilings, glass or any other shiny surfaces. It fills the dark spaces with light and improves the efficiency for performing casual activities.

The layout and size of the kitchen will help you decide the type, number and positioning of these lights. You would not want to over illuminate small kitchens or not have sufficient lighting in the larger ones.

Use spotlights and kitchen track lighting for washing the walls and other surfaces with light. Where the ceiling is low having a series of recessed halogen lights will be useful. You can have a few lights positioned on top of the wall units to create an illusion of high ceiling along with having well ambient lighting.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting adds depth and dimension to the kitchen. This is usually a low voltage light. It is mostly placed in a glass cabinet to emphasize and highlight certain elements like expensive china, exclusive glassware or your wine collection.

Accent lighting can also be used to highlight bright kitchen colors or to focus on certain feature elements like artwork, display pieces, decorative cabinets, hanging pot racks etc.

Decorative Lighting

Decorative lights are used mostly for ornamental purposes. Pendant lights, cascading bulbs and other modern light fixtures are some of the light fixtures used as decorative lights. Wrought iron lamps and candle stands etc. add decorative dimension to a kitchen in terms of lighting.

When you decide to use decorative lighting fixtures in your kitchen, do not overdo it. It can make your kitchen look cluttered and busy.


Using these kitchen lighting ideas will make your kitchen an interesting and comfortable place to work and you will enjoy spending time there.





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Sushil Wadhwa

Sushil Wadhwa
Architect, Interior Designer, creator of Homes and Interiors... more.