Lighting for kitchens

Kitchen lighting ideas

Kitchens are multifunctional spaces and often the heart of busy households. Whether you use it to create culinary masterpieces or work, read, and relax, the proper lighting can help make your kitchen work for you every day.

Your lighting system needs to be as flexible as it is practical, ensuring your space is lit to perfection for every occasion. Your kitchen lighting ideas should also suit your taste and home décor. Whether you’ve chosen a sleek contemporary aesthetic or a timeless traditional kitchen, specific lighting options will complement your kitchen design more than others.

Types of kitchen lighting

Kitchen lighting styles

Types of lightbulbs for kitchens

Finding the best lighting

Types of kitchen lighting

The proper lighting can transform your kitchen into a spectacular space. The most important thing when putting together your kitchen lighting ideas is planning. It’s usually best to think about your lighting well before choosing worktops and cabinets; the type you select may inform your kitchen style.

When putting together a lighting system, it is often easy to focus on the ceiling without paying attention to accent or task lighting. If you only think about your ceiling lights, you could miss out on adding depth and visual interest.

Kitchen island lighting

Kitchen islands are a perfect place to add beautiful pendant lighting, which can help create a separate space around your island, ideal for working or socialising. Choose an elaborate pendant or simple bulb pendant lighting, depending on the style of your kitchen design.

Under-cabinet lighting

Under-cabinet lighting is a perfect way to add brightness and style to your kitchen design. Invisible under-cabinet lighting can be switched on without your ceiling lights for a cosy, intimate atmosphere, ideal for socialising. Or use it alongside your main lighting for extra visibility when preparing meals or reading.

Over-cabinet lighting

You can also tuck lighting away above your cabinets to create an ambient glow, ideal for social occasions. Installing over-cabinet kitchen lighting is a straightforward way to boost the appearance of your space and can even add value to your home!

Plinth lighting

Plinth lighting is low-level lighting that usually goes along the bottom of units. They’re another simple way to add aesthetic value to your new kitchen design and help create a cosy atmosphere in any sized space.


Whether it’s recessed lighting or spotlighting in specific areas of your space, spotlights are multipurpose lighting systems that work well in every kitchen. When planning your kitchen, think about the places you’d like to highlight. For example, spotlights can work well for kitchen shelves or illuminate a drinks cabinet.

Flush ceiling lights

Flush ceiling lights infuse effortless elegance into any kitchen space. Designed to be level with your ceiling, they work particularly well in kitchens that don’t have the dimensions for more dramatic pendant lights. With many design choices available, they add a sense of style and individuality to your kitchen.

Kitchen lighting styles

Whether you’re looking for modern kitchen lighting ideas or something a little more traditional, it’s essential to consider your personal style when picking your lighting system.

Whether you’ve chosen a contemporary space or a classic design, it’s essential to think about your lighting during the planning phases of your project. The type of kitchen lighting ideas you choose could even inform the style of worktops, cabinets, and colour palette you select.

Modern kitchen lighting

Modern kitchen lighting ideas regularly use spotlighting and bright illumination to enhance clean lines and minimal design choices. If you’re designing a modern kitchen, you might prefer to avoid fussy lighting to stay true to the sleek tone you’re creating.

Traditional kitchen lighting

Traditional kitchens often incorporate layered lighting to complement the classic style. Larger spaces with an island can benefit from a classic pendant light hanging above the workspace. At the same time, shades that compliment soft furnishings, like curtains or upholstery, can be a beautiful touch in traditional kitchens.

Kitchen pendant lighting

Pendant lights are fixtures that typically hang from a cord or chain. They’re often installed in multiples to create a stylish focal point, but sometimes just one pendant works best. Pendant kitchen lighting is usually used to highlight a particular area, like an island or dining space.

Pendant lighting can work well in many kitchen designs, including traditional farmhouse styles. If you’re planning a more contemporary space, consider a showstopping glass or metallic pendant light.

Types of lightbulbs for kitchens

As you plan your kitchen project, it’s essential to consider what type of lighting you have available to work with. This will help you decide how you light the different areas of your space and get creative with your design.

LED kitchen lighting

LED lights are among the most energy-efficient type of bulbs available. A high-quality LED bulb can last longer and offer better light quality than other options. LED bulbs are also free from harmful chemicals and don’t give off UV. This type of lightbulb is often recyclable, which means you can do your bit for the environment while enjoying beautiful kitchen lighting.

Mains cabinet lighting

Mains-powered lighting takes its electricity straight from your home’s primary source. So you won’t need to rely on batteries or solar power to enjoy a beautifully lit kitchen.

Battery cabinet lighting

Choosing battery-powered lighting for your cabinets means you won’t need to worry about electricity bills when you leave them switched on for long periods. Using battery cabinet lighting in your kitchen also helps reduce your energy usage. Choose rechargeable batteries for an even more environmentally friendly solution.

Strip cabinet lighting

Strip lighting is a perfect choice for kitchen units and cabinets. Whether you need extra light for preparing food or want to create an aesthetic feature, strip lights give off a soft, task-focused glow. When thinking about kitchen strip lighting, consider how you use your kitchen and any specific areas you want to highlight.

Finding the best kitchen lighting for you

The shape of your kitchen should be at the forefront of your mind when planning your kitchen lighting ideas. Whether you have a galley kitchen, square shape, or open-plan space, the lighting you choose has the potential to add depth and visual interest.

Lighting for small kitchens

Small kitchen lighting ideas often benefit from layered lighting systems. Ceiling lights provide an ambient glow, creating a soft illumination throughout the space. It’s a good idea to complement your kitchen ceiling lighting ideas with accent and task lighting to brighten the darker areas. These darker corners of your kitchen can make your space feel smaller, which is why spotlighting or wall lighting is essential.

Lighting for large kitchens

While larger spaces offer the opportunity to get creative with your kitchen lighting ideas, it’s just as important to consider your illumination plan carefully. To prevent your room from feeling too bright or overwhelmed by light, you may need to focus on particular areas to section your kitchen.

This is where task and accent lighting come into their own. However, you may wish to incorporate kitchen shelf lighting or strip lighting for extra emphasis.

Lighting for dark kitchens

Suppose you’re working with a dark kitchen space. Maybe you have small windows or something outside that blocks the sun. You could choose brighter bulbs to freshen things up; between 80 and 100 watts is recommended for kitchens. Or pick pendant lights over recessed bulbs, bringing the light source closer to illuminate your space.

Lighting for dark kitchens

Suppose you’re working with a dark kitchen space. Maybe you have small windows or something outside that blocks the sun. You could choose brighter bulbs to freshen things up; between 80 and 100 watts is recommended for kitchens. Or pick pendant lights over recessed bulbs, bringing the light source closer to illuminate your space.

Lighting for galley kitchens

Galley kitchen lighting ideas often use recessed or pendant bulbs to ensure all areas are illuminated to perfection. Equally, under-cabinet lighting is often used to give a functional glow to these areas, as bulbs can be shaded beneath the cabinets. If you want to add height to your room, you may also want to think about accent lighting above your cupboards to draw the eye upwards.

Lighting your kitchen

Remember, lighting isn’t just limited to the design of shades, fixtures, or bulb choices. The proper lighting can illuminate your space, create ambience and atmosphere, and enhance functionality and versatility.

There are plenty of different lighting options out there to suit every kitchen space and style choice. Whatever you choose, there’s no doubt that your lighting system will enhance your kitchen to create something exceptional.

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