When it comes to kitchen design, it’s time to put the spotlight on lighting. Not only do light fixtures add character to your space, light itself is a crucial element that impacts everything from the mood of the room to your ability to prepare meals.
Pinning down the perfect lighting solutions, however, takes a bit of thought and planning, but it’s nothing that can’t be accomplished in your home. A variety of light sources and an eye for style is all you need to brighten up your kitchen in no time.
Types of Kitchen Lighting
A single light source can’t illuminate an entire kitchen. If your kitchen doesn’t pop like you imagine it should, you’re likely dealing with dark corners and shadowy countertops. Well-lit kitchens feature three levels of lighting – ambient, task, and accent.
Ambient light resembles natural light – it’s what fills the room. Start your layout with ambient light by installing recessed lighting, a flush mount light fixture, or track lighting. Most ambient light solutions are installed close to the ceiling and turn on and off with the flip of a switch.
Task lighting is designed for specific areas in your kitchen where extra light is needed. Consider surfaces where you commonly work – countertops, kitchen islands, sinks. Placed directly above these surfaces, task lights, such as under-cabinet lighting or pendants, provide quality light and prevent shadows, too.
Accent lighting is optional, but can add a dose of drama to your kitchen. Accent lights are commonly installed behind open shelves or inside cabinets to showcase dishware, artwork, or the architectural elements of your space.
Types of Kitchen Light Fixtures
Different fixtures provide varying types of light. Before you buy, consider the impact individual fixtures will have on your space.
Most kitchens come equipped with a single flush mount light. Installed flat against the ceiling, flush mount light fixtures provide ambient light, but not much brightness beyond the center of the room.
Semi-flush mount fixtures hang 4 to 8 inches from the ceiling, but their impact is similar to flush mount styles – overall ambient light from the center of the room.
Chandeliers are highly decorative, and styles vary greatly in size and number of bulbs. Take this into consideration when choosing a model for your kitchen, so you can pair it with additional ambient or task lighting if needed.
Pendants provide direct downward light, making them ideal task lights above a table, open countertop, or kitchen island. Hang in pairs or groups of three to cover large surface areas and don’t be afraid to mix-and-match.
Kitchen island light fixtures are long and narrow, and typically include two or more downward lights. Like the name suggests, they’re designed to provide ample light over kitchen islands and other long counter surfaces.
Track lighting is a lighting catch-all for kitchens. While multiple bulbs create ambient light, each individual light can be adjusted on the track to brighten a single area or accentuate a piece of décor.
Kitchen Lighting Styles
Once you’ve established the type of lighting to best suit your kitchen, it’s time to choose looks specific to your style. With options from rustic to glam, the sky is the limit (here are some of our trending favorites).
Eclectic and curated looks are trending, so don’t limit yourself to one style of pendant light. We love these black-and-white globes paired with a boxy chandelier. It’s functional lighting that adds major character to this modern kitchen.
Whether your kitchen is farmhouse, Scandinavian, or glam, glass orb pendants are super chic. They add a subtle texture and sense of sophistication to your space, without overshadowing other kitchen décor.
Industrial lighting is here to stay, particularly as hanging fixtures become more refined. Linear chandeliers made of iron are particularly popular mounted above a kitchen island or dining room table.
The simplicity of warehouse-style pendants makes them an attractive choice for a range of kitchen enthusiasts. Large pendants are trending, too, so don’t be afraid to try oversized styles.
Kitchen lighting should be functional, but don’t let that stop you from finding a fixture that seconds as your favorite piece of décor. Simply do your research first, and you’ll have no problem finding a solution that gives your kitchen the perfect glow.