Kitchen Lighting Design + Rules

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Designing a new kitchen or hoping to update your existing kitchen? Learn the designer’s secrets to a perfectly lit kitchen that is not only functional but appealing. Sharing all of the details to achieve the perfect kitchen illumination.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Want to learn the designer secrets to a perfectly lit kitchen? Sharing all of the details to ambient lighting and more.

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Kitchen Lighting Design Rules of Thumb

When designing a kitchen there are a few things to consider when choosing the perfect lighting for the space. When lighting any space you should ensure you have at least three out of four of the following types of lighting: ambient light, accent lighting, task lighting, mood/decorative lighting.

In a kitchen you would have ambient lighting such as pot lights, task lighting like under cabinet lights, and one other type such as pendant lights over an island or a wall sconce.

Renovation and planning. Cream colored with quartz countertops.

Want to learn more about the different types of lighting and how to use them in your entire home? Read more here.

Learn how to design the prefect task lighting for a kitchen. How much you need, the brightness and more more.

Overhead Lighting

There are 4 key types of lighting and overhead is the most important type for a space with cooking and food prep. This is considered “ambient lighting” and is the type that provides illumination to the entire space.

Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting is a type of task lighting that is important in a kitchen. The goal of task lighting is to provide illumination to a specific task such as cooking or food prep. LED under cabinet lighting is becoming very popular as it is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. There are some types that run on battery, or plug in and can be installed quickly with adhesive tape or a few screws. Read more about how I installed IKEA under cabinet lighting in my home.

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights are similar to chandeliers but only have one light source and are usually smaller and used over peninsulas and islands. Pendants are often a design “moment” but also provide task lighting for cooking prep and dishes.

Designing a new breakfast nook Sharing all of the details that you need to know. Includes overhead and task perfect for cooking!

Lighting Warmth

A very important thing to consider is the warmth and the brightness. For cooking and food prep it is important to have cooler lights than you would want for another space such as a living room, ideally you would pick 4000-4500K. In terms of brightness, kitchens need around 75 lumens per square foot.

Need the perfect illumination for cooking? Learn all of the designer secrets.

Looking for more details about my kitchen? Read more about the renovation here.

Types of Kitchen Lighting

Overhead lighting in a cream colored kitchen with brass hardware. illumination to assist with all of the prep and cooking.


What is the besting lighting for kitchens?

The most important type of lighting for a kitchen is ambient light, which provides lighting over the entire kitchen.

Are LED lights OK for a kitchen?

Yes, because the brightness of LED makes it safer to perform usual kitchen tasks that need more focus such as chopping vegetables.

What is the best lighting for a kitchen ceiling?

The biggest priority for a kitchen should be ambient lighting such as pot lights, or flush mount lighting.

What is trending in kitchen lights?

LED strip lights are becoming very popular, especially for under cabinet lighting due to the ease of installation. In modern design, they are also used at the kickboards of kitchens.

Fall kitchen decor. Kitchen design.

Design to provide the perfect amount of illumination over the entire space. Ideal for kitchen prep and entertaining.

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