Kitchen Lights

The Best Lighting for a Kitchen

The best lighting for a kitchen depends on several factors, including the layout, size, and function of the kitchen, as well as your personal preferences.

Here are some general guidelines for achieving optimal lighting in a kitchen:

Task Lighting

Task lighting is crucial in the kitchen as it helps illuminate specific areas where you perform tasks, such as food preparation, cooking, and cleaning. Here are some popular options for task lighting in a kitchen:

Under-Cabinet Lights

These are installed underneath upper cabinets and provide direct lighting onto the countertop, making it easier to see while working on tasks like chopping vegetables or preparing food.

LED strip lights or puck lights are commonly used as under-cabinet lights due to their low profile and energy efficiency.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling and can be installed over an island or peninsula, providing focused lighting for these areas.

Pendant lights come in various styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to choose a design that matches your kitchen’s aesthetics.

Recessed Lights

Also known as can lights or downlights, recessed lights are installed into the ceiling and provide a clean and minimalist look.

They can be strategically placed above work areas, such as the sink or stove, to provide direct task lighting without obstructing sightlines in the kitchen.

Track Lights

Track lights consist of multiple adjustable fixtures mounted on a track, allowing you to direct light to specific areas as needed.

They are versatile and can be used to provide task lighting in different parts of the kitchen, depending on your requirements.

When selecting task lighting for your kitchen, consider the brightness, color temperature, and beam angle of the fixtures to ensure that they provide adequate and focused lighting for your specific tasks.

It’s recommended to work with a professional electrician to properly install task lighting in your kitchen to ensure safety and functionality.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination in a space and helps create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen. Here are some popular options for ambient lighting in a kitchen:

Ceiling-Mounted Fixtures

Ceiling-mounted fixtures, such as flush-mounted or semi-flush-mounted lights, are commonly used for ambient lighting in kitchens.

They are installed on the ceiling and provide general illumination that fills the entire space. They come in various styles, sizes, and designs to complement different kitchen aesthetics.


Chandeliers are a stylish and elegant option for ambient lighting in larger kitchens or kitchens with higher ceilings.

They can serve as a focal point in the room while providing ample general lighting. Chandeliers are available in various styles, from traditional to modern, and can add a touch of sophistication to your kitchen.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights, when used in a group or cluster, can also provide ambient lighting in a kitchen. They can be hung at different heights to create an interesting visual effect while illuminating the entire kitchen space.

Pendant lights come in a wide range of styles, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to choose a design that fits your kitchen’s d├ęcor.

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are another option for ambient lighting in the kitchen, especially in areas where ceiling-mounted fixtures may not be feasible.

They are mounted on walls and provide soft and diffused lighting that adds warmth to the space.

Wall sconces are available in various styles, and they can be used as decorative elements in addition to providing ambient lighting.

When selecting ambient lighting for your kitchen, consider the size and layout of your space, as well as your desired level of brightness and style preferences.

It’s important to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics to create a well-lit and inviting kitchen environment.

Consulting with a professional electrician or lighting designer can also help you make informed decisions and achieve the best ambient lighting for your kitchen.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting adds visual interest and focal points to your kitchen by highlighting specific areas, objects, or architectural features. Here are some popular options for accent lighting in a kitchen:

LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights are versatile and can be installed under cabinets, along the edges of shelves, or along the toe kicks of cabinets or islands to create a subtle and stylish accent lighting effect.

They come in various colors and can be dimmable, allowing you to customize the ambiance in your kitchen.

Adjustable Track Lights

Track lights with adjustable fixtures can be used to direct focused light onto specific areas or objects in your kitchen, such as artwork, a backsplash, or a display shelf.

You can position the fixtures to highlight the desired features and adjust the direction and angle of the light as needed.

Recessed Spotlights

Recessed spotlights, also known as directional or gimbal lights, are installed into the ceiling and can be used to highlight specific areas or objects in your kitchen.

They are adjustable and allow you to direct the light where you want it, making them ideal for accent lighting purposes.

Cabinet Lighting

Lighting inside glass cabinets, display shelves, or open shelves can create an inviting and visually appealing accent in your kitchen.

You can use LED puck lights, strip lights, or even battery-operated tap lights to highlight items on display and add a touch of elegance to your kitchen.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights can also be used as accent lighting in the kitchen when hung over specific areas or objects, such as a dining table or a kitchen island.

Choose pendant lights with unique designs or interesting shapes to create a visual focal point in your kitchen.

When using accent lighting, it’s important to strike a balance between the accent lighting and the overall lighting in your kitchen to create a harmonious and visually appealing effect.

Experiment with different placements and angles to achieve the desired accent lighting effect, and consider using dimmer switches to adjust the brightness as needed.

Consulting with a professional electrician or lighting designer can also provide valuable guidance and ensure that your accent lighting is installed safely and effectively.

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting in the kitchen is an excellent way to bring in natural light from the outdoors, creating a bright and inviting space. Here are some tips for maximizing natural lighting in your kitchen:


Windows are a primary source of natural light in the kitchen. Consider installing windows strategically to allow ample sunlight to flow into the space.

Large windows or floor-to-ceiling windows can bring in abundant natural light and provide scenic views, while smaller windows can be placed strategically to capture light at different times of the day.


Skylights are an effective way to bring in natural light into the kitchen from above.

They can be installed on the roof or ceiling and provide a direct source of natural light that can brighten up the entire kitchen. Skylights are particularly useful in kitchens where windows may not be feasible or sufficient.

Glass Doors

If your kitchen opens up to an outdoor area, consider using glass doors to allow natural light to flow into the space.

Sliding glass doors or French doors can provide ample natural light and create a seamless connection between your kitchen and outdoor living areas.

Light-Colored Surfaces

Use light-colored surfaces for your kitchen countertops, backsplash, and walls to reflect natural light and brighten up the space.

Light colors, such as white or light gray, can help enhance the natural lighting in your kitchen and make it feel more open and airy.

Reflective Surfaces

Incorporate reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or glossy finishes, in your kitchen design to bounce natural light around the space.

Mirrors can be used on backsplashes, cabinet doors, or even as decor to reflect light and create a brighter atmosphere.

Window Treatments

Choose window treatments that allow natural light to filter through, such as sheer curtains or blinds, to maximize the amount of sunlight that enters your kitchen.

Avoid heavy or dark-colored window treatments that can block natural light and make your kitchen feel darker.

Remember to consider the orientation and location of your kitchen when planning for natural lighting.

South-facing windows tend to bring in the most sunlight throughout the day, while east-facing windows provide morning sunlight, and west-facing windows offer afternoon sunlight.

Consulting with a professional architect or interior designer can also help you optimize natural lighting in your kitchen and create a bright and welcoming space.

Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches are an excellent addition to any kitchen lighting plan, as they offer flexibility and control over the brightness levels in your kitchen. Here are some benefits of using dimmer switches in your kitchen:

Adjustable Lighting Levels

Dimmer switches allow you to adjust the brightness levels of your kitchen lights to suit your needs and preferences.

You can easily dim the lights for a cozy and intimate ambiance during dinner time, or brighten them up for tasks that require more focused lighting, such as cooking or food preparation.

Dimmers provide the flexibility to create the perfect lighting atmosphere for any occasion in your kitchen.

Energy Savings

Dimmer switches can also help you save on energy costs. By dimming the lights, you can reduce the amount of electricity used, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced electricity bills.

Dimmers are especially beneficial when used with LED lights, as LED technology is highly compatible with dimmer switches and can provide energy-efficient lighting options for your kitchen.

Extended Bulb Lifespan

When you dim the lights, you reduce the stress on the bulbs, which can help extend their lifespan. This means that you won’t need to replace bulbs as frequently, saving you money on bulb replacements over time.

Customizable Ambiance

Dimmer switches allow you to create a customized ambiance in your kitchen, depending on the mood or activity.

Whether you want bright and vibrant lighting for a lively gathering, or soft and warm lighting for a relaxed evening, dimmers provide the flexibility to set the right tone in your kitchen according to your preferences.

Eye Comfort

Bright lights can cause discomfort and strain on the eyes, especially during nighttime or when you’re looking at screens, such as tablets or smartphones, in the kitchen.

Dimmer switches allow you to reduce the brightness and create a more comfortable and eye-friendly environment in your kitchen.

Easy Installation

Dimmer switches are relatively easy to install and can be retrofitted into your existing kitchen lighting setup.

You can replace your standard light switches with dimmer switches without significant changes to your electrical wiring, making it a convenient and cost-effective upgrade for your kitchen lighting.

When selecting dimmer switches, make sure to choose ones that are compatible with the type of bulbs you have in your kitchen, as not all bulbs are dimmable.

It’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and usage to ensure safe and proper operation of the dimmer switches.

Consulting with a licensed electrician is recommended if you’re not familiar with electrical work or unsure about the compatibility of your lighting fixtures with dimmer switches.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is an important consideration when planning the lighting for your kitchen. It refers to the color appearance of light, ranging from warm to cool, and is typically measured in Kelvin (K).

Different color temperatures can have a significant impact on the mood and ambiance of your kitchen.

Here are some tips for choosing the right color temperature for your kitchen lighting:

Warm White (2700K-3000K)

Warm white color temperature creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen, making it ideal for areas where you want to create a warm and welcoming ambiance, such as dining areas or sitting areas.

Warm white light can also complement warmer color schemes and wood tones in the kitchen, creating a harmonious and inviting look.

Neutral White (3500K-4000K)

Neutral white color temperature provides a balanced and natural-looking light that is suitable for general and task lighting in the kitchen.

It can enhance color accuracy and make it easier to see details when cooking, prepping food, or working on kitchen tasks.

Neutral white light is often used in kitchens where a balance between warm and cool tones is desired.

Cool White (5000K-6500K)

Cool white color temperature provides a crisp and bright light that is often used in areas where task-oriented lighting is important, such as countertop workspaces or over the stove.

Cool white light can create a clean and modern look in the kitchen, and it is often preferred in kitchens with a contemporary or minimalist design style.

Mixed Color Temperatures

Another option is to use a combination of different color temperatures in your kitchen lighting design to create a layered and dynamic lighting scheme.

For example, you could use warm white lights for general and ambient lighting, neutral white lights for task lighting, and cool white lights for accent or under-cabinet lighting.

This can help you achieve the right balance between functionality, aesthetics, and ambiance in your kitchen.

It’s important to consider the overall design style, color scheme, and desired mood of your kitchen when selecting the color temperature for your lighting.

You can experiment with different color temperatures to find the one that best suits your preferences and needs.

Additionally, using dimmer switches with your kitchen lighting can allow you to adjust the color temperature along with the brightness, providing even more flexibility and customization options for your kitchen lighting design.

Layered Lighting

Layered lighting is a popular and effective approach to lighting design that involves using multiple sources of light at different levels and angles in a space to create a balanced, functional, and visually appealing lighting scheme.

In the context of a kitchen, layered lighting typically involves three main types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent lighting, which are strategically combined to provide optimal illumination for various activities and create a pleasant ambiance.

Here are some benefits of using layered lighting in your kitchen:


Layered lighting ensures that different areas of your kitchen have the appropriate level of lighting for their specific tasks.

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for the entire space, task lighting focuses on specific work areas such as countertops, sinks, and stovetops, while accent lighting highlights specific design features or focal points.

By combining these different types of lighting, you can ensure that your kitchen is well-lit and functional for various tasks, from cooking and food prep to dining and entertaining.


Layered lighting can enhance the aesthetics of your kitchen by adding depth, dimension, and visual interest.

By using different lighting fixtures, angles, and color temperatures, you can create a visually appealing environment in your kitchen that complements your design style and enhances the overall look and feel of the space.

Accent lighting, in particular, can highlight architectural features, decorative elements, or artwork in your kitchen, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space.

Mood and Ambiance

Layered lighting allows you to create different moods and ambiances in your kitchen depending on the occasion or time of day.

For example, you can use dimmable ambient lighting for a cozy and intimate ambiance during dinner time, brighter task lighting for functional tasks like cooking or food prep, and accent lighting to create a focal point or set a particular mood.

By having control over the different layers of lighting, you can customize the ambiance in your kitchen to suit your preferences and needs.


Layered lighting provides flexibility and adaptability to changing lighting needs. You can adjust the intensity, direction, and color temperature of each layer of lighting to suit your preferences or the specific activities taking place in your kitchen.

For instance, you may need brighter task lighting during food prep and lower ambient lighting during casual gatherings.

With layered lighting, you can easily adjust the lighting levels and create the desired ambiance in your kitchen based on your changing needs.


Layered lighting can also improve safety in your kitchen by providing adequate illumination for tasks that require precision and attention to detail, such as cutting, chopping, or cooking with sharp objects.

Task lighting, such as under-cabinet lights or pendant lights over the countertop, can help reduce shadows and glare, making it easier and safer to perform these tasks.

When designing a layered lighting scheme for your kitchen, it’s important to consider the layout, size, and function of your kitchen, as well as your design style and personal preferences.

Consulting with a lighting professional or interior designer can help you create a well-balanced and effective layered lighting design that meets your specific needs and enhances the overall functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen.