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Your guide to kitchen lighting- How to plan and choose

It is no wonder that lighting is important in each space, especially in a place that serves as both a functional and an atmospheric place – the kitchen. Since the choices – wall lamps, pendants, chandeliers, sconces are more, you may feel confused. To overcome this confusion, here is the guide for you to learn different types of kitchen lighting and how to choose the proper lighting for your kitchen.

Different Type of Kitchen Lighting

Task Lighting

This type of lighting illuminates an important working area so you can do all your kitchen tasks in a safe and easier way. It includes an area like- above your sink for proper cleaning, under your upper cabinet to illuminate countertops and above the island for effective meal preparation. In short, task lighting helps you to see clearly what you are doing in the kitchen. General kitchen task lighting options are directional sconces, strip lights, and down lit pendants. You can also choose task lighting with portability capabilities like swing floor lamps to direct the light in a way you need most.

Ambient Lighting 

Ambient light (sometimes also known as general light) fulfills the primary purpose of illuminating the kitchen space evenly. It includes an area like- above your breakfast bar to add a character, under-cabinet, and in a ceiling to create a  welcoming glow. The ambient light fixture includes options like a chandelier, floor led lighting, and recessed ceiling lights.  

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting highlights aesthetic elements and architectural features in your kitchen like artwork or backsplash. It includes in an area like-above your countertop to make your backsplash shine, inside your glass-front cabinet to accentuate your beautiful items, on your table or wall to add a style. General accent light fixtures include choices like puck lights, wall lamps, track lights, and table lamps.

After knowing the different types of kitchen lighting, follow the below steps to pick the right lighting for your kitchen.

1. Evaluate Your Kitchen Space

Every kitchen is different, therefore, first of all, see how dark or bright your kitchen is. Based on this, you will know what type of lighting you require. If you have a window in your kitchen space then you simply require task lighting in a working place. But, if you do not have a window then you may need a table lamp in a dark corner plus another ambient lighting to illuminate the kitchen.

2. Choose the Right Size & Length

Whatever type of lighting you choose, make sure it is proper in size and length. The reason is that if you buy a big lighting fixture in a small space then it will look overwhelming. On the other hand, if you choose a small lighting fixture in a large kitchen then its features may be lost. So before buying kitchen lighting, measure your area where you are going to place it.

3. Pick Appropriate Style

After knowing what type of lighting you need and in what size, now, it is time to think about a particular style. When choosing the right style for kitchen lighting, consider your floor plan. See, whether your kitchen is open to the dining space or not. If yes, choose a style that relates to a dining lighting (in terms of color, shape or finish) so you are seeing the open space as a whole. If not, opt for lighting that ties well with rest features like your kitchen furniture or cabinet finish.

You can also choose a lighting type based on your space’s style. For a traditional look, it is best to pick lighting with an organic feel like wood-beams. But, for a modern kitchen, go for lighting with clean lines.

Besides knowing the right type and choosing the right style, you also need to give importance to the following details.

Make the most of Kitchen Lighting

Good lighting performs a useful role in the kitchen. But it can cost more if you install them after locking the wall. So, if you wish to alter your kitchen look or you have a plan to remodel, give priority to kitchen lighting in an early planning stage. 

Gain Lighting Control

Selecting the correct light control system is as important as choosing the right lighting. In a kitchen, it is better to think about a flexible control system such as dimmers instead of a general on/off switch. Depending on your requirements, it will help to add the right amount of light; soft glow for night dinner and high for meal preparation. But if you do not want to go with dimmers then it is good if you install each lighting source on a different switch plate. It will allow you to best control lighting at different places with just a flick of a switch.

Consider Safety First

Try to avoid installing lighting sources near the damp or wet area like under your sink. For any wiring work, instead of doing it yourself, it is better if you hire an electrician or lighting store professional. If you choose task lighting then install it in front of you rather than the back of you so that it does not create shadow while you are cooking.

Hang It Right

For fixtures that are hangable from the ceiling, you need to be sure that you hang it at the proper height. So if you choose that type of light fixture then hang it in such a way that the bottom of the light source falls around 30 to 32 inches above your top surface of the counter or dining table. This way, you don’t lose brightness during cooking or conversation.


A kitchen is a place where a lot of things happen- from cooking to entertaining. That is why it requires proper lighting to perform different tasks carried out in it. From this guide, you will learn different types of lighting – task, ambient, and accent, how to use them properly, and where to locate them to achieve the right balance of brightness.

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