For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home—and for more reasons than just cooking.
Are you big into meal prepping? Maybe your kids do all their homework at the island. Kitchens are so multifunctional nowadays that choosing the right lighting to accommodate everyone is tough.
So instead of thinking about it just from the frame of “What kind of light fixture do I need?”, shift to thinking about what will work best in your kitchen.
Types of Lighting
Before you pick out light fixtures, you’ll need to know the basics of lighting. There are two types that play a big part in kitchen lighting design: ambient and task.
Ambient lighting is the main source of light in your kitchen, mostly from ceiling fixtures. The goal of ambient lighting is to keep the space evenly lit by casting as few shadows as possible.
Task lighting, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. It provides direct light to a workspace (like your counters) so you can safely prepare meals and read recipes. Trust us—no matter how good your knife skills are, chopping on a brightly lit counter is the best.
Another type of lighting—accent lighting—can also be incorporated into a kitchen, but it’s not as essential as task or ambient light. Learn more about all three types of lighting here.
What Types of Fixtures Should I Install?
You’ll typically find a mix of pendants, chandeliers and flush mount fixtures in most kitchens. These all provide the base layer of lighting in your kitchen design plan. Other options like recessed lighting and under-cabinet lighting can provide excellent task lighting for all your kitchen activities.
No matter what type of light fixture you install in your kitchen, make sure it’s dimmable. Being able to adjust the level of brightness to your liking is great for both dinner parties and late-night trips to the fridge alike.
Area-Specific Lighting Tips
The best bet for lighting a kitchen island is to install a linear pendant—i.e. a pendant with three or four lights attached. Wondering how to space out single pendants? Aim to hang them so the globes are 12 to 18 inches apart.
Above the Sink
Recessed light, can light, pendant light, flush mount all work in this spot. And as silly as it sounds, don’t forget to take your height into account so you don’t bop your head every time you head to the sink.
Feel free to get decorative! A beautiful chandelier can become the perfect centerpiece for your dining room table. It doesn’t matter if your table is round, square or rectangular is as long as there’s 30 to 36 inches between it and your fixture.
Like a well-balanced meal, your kitchen needs the right mix of lighting so you can focus on getting the job done—whatever it may be.
Think about kitchen lighting from the perspective of providing enough light rather than focusing on the types of fixtures you’ll install. When you start thinking about lighting this way, you’ll find yourself enjoying your kitchen even more.