One of the most important parts of the kitchen design process is deciding how to light the room. Due to the multifunctional nature of the kitchen, the lighting used plays a huge part and can make or break the space, so it needs to be just right.
Ideally, kitchen lighting should allow you to prepare food with ease, but also have the ability to create an inviting atmosphere for entertaining guests. In other words, the lighting should be just as versatile as the room itself.
From kitchen diner lighting ideas to pendant and ceiling lighting, we spoke to the experts to create a wealth of inspiring kitchen lighting ideas that’ll help turn your kitchen from day to night in style. Read on to find lots of different ways to light your kitchen, and shop the lighting looks on Amara.
One of the most popular types of kitchen lighting, pendant lights bring character to a room and are very versatile as they come in a range of styles, from subtle to striking. The best placement for pendant lighting is above kitchen islands to provide ample light when preparing food.
I really love the subtlety of the glass pendants used in this kitchen and how they complement the understated elegance of the units. I’m a big fan of kitchen islands and always think they look best when lit by a trio of pendant lights. It’s a classic, timeless design that works well in most kitchens.
Pendant lighting works brilliantly for the kitchen. It provides a bright, focused light which is ideal for tasks. With the kitchen being a space that we use for different occasions, pendant lighting attached to a dimmer switch works perfectly – it can be bright for food prep, and toned down to ambient for entertaining and spending time with family. For a look that is straight from the pages of an interior mag, remember the rule of three – place three identical pendant lights over an island, dining table or breakfast bar.
I love pendant lighting over a kitchen countertop as it makes this part of the kitchen such a focal point. What I like about this design is that it fits well with the kitchen’s minimalist and geometric theme. The kitchen already has a lot of light through the sliding doors, so just to add a simple light bulb with a wire style lampshade works well with the kitchen’s overall design. It’s a good idea to play with shapes, so for example here the lampshade matches the chairs and the cupboard space on the wall.
I think low hanging lights with exposed bulbs give a kitchen a real edgy yet chic feel. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of the exposed bulb look, copper lampshades on low hanging lights always look great. I think the key to kitchen lighting is making sure you have both warm and cool options; you want something bright for working and preparing food under, but a warm bulb will create a better atmosphere and make the room feel cosier at night.
Shop the Lighting Look
I love the lighting in Katelyn James’ new kitchen design. She’s one of my favourite photographers and light is incredibly important to her. The pendant lighting in the central area of her kitchen is perfect; as well as being beautiful and timeless, they’re also glassless, and on a practical level this kind of lighting is brilliant for an area in our homes where there’s so much activity going on. There’s no dust or grease needing to be cleaned from any little windows and the structure of the lights means that they can still be large but delicate and somehow very feminine in the context of her home.
This Scandinavian kitchen with Louis Poulsen PH 3 1/2-3 Pendant is true design perfection in terms of slick clean lines and classic timeless design. The gold of the pendant lights adds a touch of class and colour to the monochrome look and feel of this kitchen. There is ample work space in this kitchen. It is compact and minimal with all cooking equipment and utensils kept within uniform cupboards that are plain and sophisticated. Some might argue that this kitchen space lacks depth of texture, however, for me, it is design perfection and it’s inspiring to reach towards a simple, clutter-free lifestyle.
The great thing about kitchens now being the hub of the home and utilised for cooking and entertaining is that you can really make the most of accessories and, in particular, lighting. Most dream kitchens have an island, so I strongly recommend making that the real focal point of the room by investing in some statement ceiling lighting. These brilliant chandeliers by Vaughan Lighting are a go-to favourite of ours for projects. The ones in this huge kitchen really tie the room together by echoing the dark woodwork and island, while complementing the beautiful pale marble tops and cabinetry. They draw the eye into the centre of the room and really give it a purpose, as well as being really stunning in their own right.
The kitchen has been said to be the heart of the home, and nowadays with it being part of the open family living space, it is truer than ever. However, the kitchen is also a ‘task space’ and cooking requires good lighting, especially during the preparation stage. Kitchen lighting needs to be placed at key points to give the best result, both aesthetically and functionally. I like this image because the lighting has lots of personality, is placed perfectly and creates a fun reflection on the tile finish behind.
For me, the ultimate stylish kitchen is one that doesn’t look too much like a kitchen. Varying the lighting treatments can help you achieve this. I love this look from Neptune which uses a mix of pendant lights, table and standard lamps to achieve a less formal, more contemporary feel. The chunky lighting over the island has a nod to the industrial, whilst the individual lamps bring a more intimate and homely vibe. A blend of options means you can vary how bright or how subtle the kitchen feels depending on your mood or mealtime.
Track lighting is an ideal solution for those who don’t want multiple large ceiling light fixtures. With the ability to adjust individual spotlights to point in various directions, track lighting helps to create atmosphere in the kitchen, as well as add extra light to areas that need it the most.
This stylish yet simple suspended lighting track is perfect for a kitchen and much more versatile than having spots in the ceiling. Simply position the spots directing light to were you need it most e.g. chopping surfaces. It also works well if the ceiling is at different heights like in this kitchen, or if you don’t have walls to position wall lights. Adding variety is also key to change the ambience when needed. This kitchen opens past a staircase and into the dining area and living room beyond. Using clusters of lights such as the three copper pendants over the dining table helps zone the space and keep lighting flexible.
If I ever get a big enough kitchen I would go for track lighting because it illuminates every beautiful corner and elongates the room. These modern lights fit perfectly in a contemporary kitchen with an all-white theme, but as I’m not a minimalistic kind of gal, I love the fact that track lights also fit into a modern country cottage kitchen design. I envision the lights matching my matt black feature cupboards, like in the photo, that will seamlessly bring the decor together and make the kitchen the place that guests have to be at parties!
If you do not want kitchen lighting that makes a statement or distracts from your kitchen design, a practical solution is recessed lighting. With the ability to light the entire kitchen or selected areas, recessed lighting is simple, clean and subtle.
The kitchen is seen, not only, as a functional space, but also as a space for socialising; therefore, we love to use different layers of light which help create different moods. In this kitchen we designed, we have used recessed spotlights which offer a good level of general light; LED strips under the eye level units, which offer great task lighting when working in the kitchen; hand-blown glass pendant lights which are a beautiful feature in the room and give great mood lighting. All can be controlled independently which offers flexibility depending on whether you are cooking or entertaining.
Under Cabinet Lighting
Under cabinet lighting is a great way to brighten up any dark spaces along the kitchen counter without creating shadows. It’s important to have sufficient task lighting in the kitchen, and under cabinet lighting creates a space that’s well-equipped for food preparation.
Lighting is a game changer in a kitchen. It can bring warmth into the room, highlight elements you want to show off and allow you to set the ambience for different occasions. Here the kitchen designers opted for pendant lamps, recessed ceiling lights and under-cabinet lighting. This combination offers the user task and mood lighting, so the kitchen can transition easily from a cooking and prep station into a dining and conversational area. Pendant lighting and the use of an island, or breakfast bar if you have less space, can provide any kitchen with a social focal point – fantastic!
Renowned for being a spectacular, glamorous lighting choice, chandelier lighting adds instant luxury and extravagance to a room. Although chandeliers are most commonly used in living and dining rooms, incorporating this lighting fixture into the kitchen can add personality and allure.
This pleasant kitchen lighting sits perfectly with the choice of dark colour cabinets in contrast with the white worktop and the bright tiling. The great combination of lighting fixtures including recessed lighting, under-cabinet lighting and the modern crystal chandelier is a good example of evocative elegance and style. The idea of adding a crystal chandelier above the kitchen bar serves as an attractive centrepiece for contemporary and elegant kitchen design. The whole lighting scheme not only creates a harmonious design but also makes the kitchen function successfully and safely when preparing meals or cleaning up.
From subtle spotlights to standout chandeliers, there are a plethora of lighting choices for the kitchen. With this in mind, we hope we’ve helped to align your thoughts and provided you with some ideas to brighten up your kitchen.