51 Kitchen Lighting Ideas
Stylish lighting for your kitchen is about choosing a lighting scheme to make the space both beautiful and functional. You need three types of light in your kitchen: ambient, task, and accent. These kitchen lighting ideas let you layer the light like you did the decor.
To pull this lighting scheme off, you’ll need to carefully choose three types of lighting fixtures and their locations throughout your kitchen. These kitchen lighting ideas will help you find the best light fixture for each of these light types in your kitchen.
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1. Stylish Galley Ideas
If you have a galley kitchen, you have a unique challenge and opportunity on your hands. The long and narrow nature of your kitchen means that you can have a single overhead light that illuminates both sides of the kitchen. However, central lighting also means that you’ll have to deal with shadows in your workspace.
While you do need some overhead downward-cast light that illuminates the space, you also need task lighting to illuminate the immediate area where you’ll prepare food. To create your task lighting, you can hang evenly spaced flush-mounted lights, install track lighting, or use recessed lights.
2. Creative Flush Mount Lighting
If the ceiling in your kitchen is low, you probably don’t have enough room to mount a chandelier, pendant lamp, or hanging light fixture. Trying to install one of these will only make the ceiling seem even lower, and the entire kitchen will feel cramped. What you need in this situation are flush mount lights.
These are lights that mount directly onto the ceiling so that the base of the light is flush. This style works great as modern kitchen lighting because you can choose a fixture with a simple and clean design. You can choose one with a diffuser for softer light or exposed bulbs for brighter illumination.
3. Embracing Modernity
If your lights need to fit into a modern kitchen, you’ll want something sleek. The light fixture should have minimal ornamentation and details. It’ll probably use LEDs. Look for something that has straight lines or circular curves. If it creates a unique shape, that will work.
Modern lighting tends to make a statement, so prepare for it to become a focal point in your kitchen. With that, you’ll want to be careful that you don’t overwhelm the space with too many statement fixtures. To prevent this, try installing one large statement pendant over the kitchen island and minimalist fixtures for the rest of your lighting needs.
4. Creative Ways to Use Hanging Bulbs
Modern kitchen lighting ideas embrace the idea that less is more. This lighting style eliminates the bulk of the lighting fixture so that the only thing left is the wire or pipe and the bulb. This gives you bare bones and an exposed feel to the light.
This minimal style of light works best with industrial, rustic, minimalist, or Scandinavian interior decor. You can have a single pipe with one bulb mounted on the wall as a sconce for a simple design. Or you can have something more ornate, such as several cables looped around a wood beam, each cable with its own bulb.
5. Creative Solutions for Under Cabinet-Lighting
Installing under-cabinet lighting gives you both accent and task lighting. You don’t have to go wild choosing the perfect fixture since they’re almost completely hidden. All you need to decide is how you want the light to shine down onto the counter.
Puck lights are easy to install, which makes them a great DIY project. They don’t require any additional wiring. For a more permanent solution, have an electrician install lights and wire them to a switch in the wall.
If you want a fixture for task lighting, choose a brighter white light. If you prefer this lighting to be for accent, go for a softer yellow light. If you’re looking to create a bold look, choose a color, such as pink, blue, or green.
6. Illuminate Your Kitchen
If you’ve ever seen a light fixture built into the ceiling—with the bulb above the ceiling’s surface—you’ve seen a recessed light. They sit flush or just slightly in from the ceiling’s surface. Their minimal and unobtrusive design makes them perfect for a modern, contemporary, or minimalist kitchen.
If you need overhead lighting, recessed lights are perfect. You can install them evenly distributed throughout the ceiling. Or, focus them over a workspace such as your stove, countertop, or sink.
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7. Energy-Efficient LED Options
If you’re looking to add a modern touch to your kitchen, LEDs create perfect accent lighting. You might consider running a strip of them along the bottom of your cabinets to illuminate the floor. If you prefer to use them to light up your counters, try mounting them under your upper cabinets. You can also mount them in your cabinets for a stunning visual display from behind your glass cabinet doors.
When choosing your LEDs, think about whether individual clusters or a strip will give you the right effect. Then think about the brightness level and the color of light they’ll emit. Your options are endless for both.
8. Subtle Lamp Solutions
If you have a traditional kitchen, then you’ll want lighting that blends. This means choosing lighting fixtures that have a conventional design like those with cloth lampshades. If you choose one with white shades, it will also look perfect in your white kitchen scheme.
You can choose from solo pendant lights with a large shade or chandelier-style fixtures with several lights, each with its own small shade. The multiple lights are great for creating ambient lighting.
9. Stunning Kitchen Lighting
Give your kitchen a touch of elegance with a chandelier. They’re a stunning focal point and they’re excellent for creating ambient lighting. You can have one large central lighting fixture over your kitchen island countertop or a smaller chandelier over a key workspace, such as the sink.
If you have an open floor plan where your kitchen flows into your dining room or breakfast nook area, then you can have matching chandeliers that hang over the kitchen table and the dining room table.
10. Elegant Glass Pendant Chocies
Pendant lights are great for creating focused task lighting over a workspace. This is why you see them over kitchen island counters so often. You can turn them on and can see exactly what you’re preparing. The problem with them is that they do nothing to illuminate the rest of the kitchen. If you have limited lighting options in your kitchen, this could be a waste of kitchen light.
Glass pendants have a glass piece that surrounds the bulb. Since the glass is transparent, it allows the light to filter through. You’ll end up with light focused downward and more general ambient light radiating outward. If you want even more versatility out of your lights, hook them up to a dimmer switch. You’ll be able to create the perfect amount of kitchen light as your needs change.
11. Industrial Charm
Give your kitchen a touch of raw, edgy style with an industrial-inspired kitchen light fixture. These fixtures expose the raw construction materials that lie underneath. Instead of having decorative elements hiding the functional parts, it’s these parts that create the design.
Look for lights that have exposed pipes and cables. The bulb can have a metal shade or wire cage around it. Instead of a delicate chain, goo for a series of pulleys to adjust the light’s height.
12. Thoughtful Kitchen Island Suggestions
Pendant lights over a kitchen island is a very popular idea. The problem with this is that you have to get the pendant’s size and height just right. If not, you risk the island lighting being obtrusive or blinding.
For your kitchen design to be a success, size the pendants to the size of the kitchen. Small kitchens require only one pendant light. Larger kitchens can have two, three, or more.
The higher the ceiling, the longer the pendant will be. Look at the amount of light the pendant produces; It should illuminate the entire workspace below it. You can adjust the output with bulbs with different outputs.
12. Explore Creative Ceiling Lighting
The best place to start when adding light to your kitchen is on the ceiling, creating general lighting to illuminate the entire kitchen space. If you have a small kitchen, then you may only need one centralized light. If you have a large kitchen, you may find it more effective to install several ceiling fixtures throughout the room.
If you have an older home, you probably have a lightbox that houses fluorescent bulbs. It’s time to say goodbye to this antiquated lighting system. You can replace it with hanging lights, track lighting, or recessed lights. If you live in an especially sunny place, you can even install a skylight for natural illumination.
14. Rustic Charm
Rustic light fixtures are perfect for your country or farmhouse kitchen. They also work great for your outdoor kitchen. They typically have a simple design that uses a combination of materials. There’s a handmade feel or aspect to them.
For an authentic feel, look for a light fixture made from repurposed materials. It can have reclaimed wood as the base and tin funnels or copper bowls for the shades around the bulbs. Another nice touch is to use old fashioned oil or candle lamps converted to use light bulbs.
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Kitchen Lighting FAQs
LED lights are great because you’ll have plenty of options for brightness and color temperature. They’re also long-lasting and energy-efficient. Halogen lights are also good because they produce a crisp, bright light—a must-have for task lighting.
LED or Xenon lights will give the brightest possible light that is also color accurate. This prevents things from looking “off” in your kitchen. If you’re concerned about the light being too focused and creating a hotspot, then you can cover it with a diffuser to evenly distribute the light.
The number of lumens you need in the kitchen will depend on what area you want to light. Places where you perform tasks, such as the sink, cutting board, or stove, should have a bright light at 70 to 80 lumens. Other more general areas can have lower-rated lights at 30 to 40 lumens.