kitchen lighting

How to choose the right kitchen lighting

There may not be another room in the home where lighting is more important than in the kitchen. The goal in kitchen lighting design is to construct a bright working environment combined with multiple layers of light so as to create ambiance as the kitchen is also for entertaining and in most cases dining as well.

Using effective kitchen lighting is a fantastic design opportunity for your kitchen. Whether you use chandeliers to recessed and track lighting the combinations and options available are endless!! Terrific photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash


Important considerations for kitchen lighting:

Kitchen size – Make sure that the lighting fixture you are choosing is proportionate to the size of your space.

Dimmer – It is imperative to have your kitchen lighting on a dimmer switch for easy ambiance creation.

Task Lighting – Be sure that the fixture you choose will give you ample light in work areas.

Shadow/Glare – Certain fixtures and light bulbs can create bad light and certain lighting will react with kitchen surfaces causing an uninvited glare.

Walls and Surfaces – It is important to know your color scheme and the surfaces being used in your kitchen as they will all have an effect on light. Dark colors will absorb more light than lighter colors and shiny surfaces will reflect light.

Types of Light bulbs

Know anything about light bulbs? We are surrounded by them everyday but how much do we really know about them? Each form of bulb has certain qualities about them that may or may not work for you or your space!

  • Incandescent light bulbs – The most generally used light bulb that has been around for ages. Pear shaped and inexpensive this light bulb is a horrible consumer of energy! This bulb loses 90% of electricity as heat making this bulb a bad choice for your main light source in a kitchen!!
  • Lifetime: 750 1000 hours. Price: Cheap
  • Halogen light bulbs – Halogen bulbs work similarly to incandescent bulbs only they are filled with traces of halogen. These bulbs are much smaller and generally more expensive as they last much longer than regular incandescent bulbs. The halogen light bulb can be problematic in a kitchen as they cast shadows therefore it is important to use halogen bulbs in combination with other light sources.
  • Lifetime: 2,000 3,000 hours. Price: $5 +
  • Fluorescent light bulbs – These bulbs work entirely different than halogen or incandescent bulbs and are wonderfully efficient. They produce an even light and can be put on a dimmer. It is wise to make sure that your fluorescent fixture and dimmer come together as different fixtures can require different dimmers. Finding a match can sometimes be very difficult.
  • Lifetime: 10,000 hours. Price: $6 +
  • Xenon Light bulbs – This bulb uses xenon gas to create light. These bulbs are incredibly efficient reducing power usage by as much as 35% but are also harder to find! They produce a much brighter light than fluorescent bulbs while being cooler than halogen. These bulbs are more expensive and can have a longer life. They are an excellent bulb for task lighting.
  • Lifetime: 5,000 15,000 hours.

Learn about energy efficient light bulbs at

Small Kitchen lighting

Overhead Kitchen Lighting
Overhead Kitchen Lighting

Less daunting is small kitchen lighting design as a little light can usually go a long way. Even a single overhead feature can be enough in a small kitchen, but be sure to have it on a dimmer because ambient lighting is always necessary.

Overhead lighting fixtures

Be aware that not all overhead fixtures distribute light well. When choosing an overhead lamp, make sure to inquire about even light distribution and the light bulb required. Fluorescent bulbs will create a better quality light and save you money!

Track lighting

This is still a good option for a small kitchen space as track lighting can provide enough lighting coverage and also highlight your working areas. Track lighting is a great product because of its flexibility the individual fixtures can move into the best lighting positions for your needs highlighting walls, art, and task areas in the kitchen. Track lighting systems use incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent bulbs. It is important to remember that halogen light bulbs will create shadows. Fluorescent bulbs are great but make sure they are available with a dimmer.

Tips * * Measure how much track lighting you require and make note of where your power source is located.

Large Kitchen Lighting

Lighting design for larger kitchens is a little trickier and must include multiple layers of light. Map out the kind of light required throughout your kitchen space by asking yourself these questions; where are my task areas? What areas in my kitchen are very dark? What kind of lighting do I want for my dining area? What surfaces do I have in my kitchen and how will they react to the lighting I choose? By answering these questions you will have a better understanding of what lighting is necessary for you in your kitchen.

Recessed Lighting/Pot Lamps

Recessed Kitchen Lighting
Recessed Kitchen Lighting

Recessed lighting works well in large kitchens providing great coverage. Recessed lighting is installed into the ceiling and it is recommended that they be installed a professional. The most common form of recessed lamps are face down lamps (pot lamps) which are fantastic for ambiance but can create a glare in kitchens especially when placed directly above shiny kitchen surfaces such as metallic or glazed natural stone countertops. Deeply recessed lamps can help reduce this glare in your space (baffle).

Recessed lamps are not always sunk into the ceiling some actually drop down slightly so that the lamp can be positioned in the direction you choose (eye ball).

Recessed lighting works really well in conjunction with track lighting. Use track lighting systems to focus on work stations and recessed to complete coverage and create ambiance.

Pendant Lighting

Large Kitchen Lighting
Pendant Kitchen Lighting

This stylish lighting fixture is fast becoming a new trend in kitchen lighting design as it works wonderfully over islands, peninsulas, and dining areas. Several companies offer many different designs, the latest being artistic glass pendants which offer great character and beauty to your space. Pendants do not necessarily give off a lot of light. Be sure to know how much light you require in areas planned for pendant fixtures.

Wall Sconces

These lighting fixtures are the finishing touches to any space. Contemporary and modern, classic and traditional these fixtures can be found in most lighting, furniture, home decor and antique shops. Wall sconces will create another light source for your kitchen and bring charm, character, and style to your space.

Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

These lighting fixtures provide your kitchen with more lighting layers and greatly improve task lighting. Fixtures that are typically used are fluorescent bulbs, puck lights and xenon fixtures.

Halogen Puck Lights – Small and compact, these lights work well under cabinets creating additional task lighting. Price: Approximately $20.00/per piece.

Fluorescent Bulbs – Create a bright and evenly spread light. This fixture can be available as one unit or several linked together. It is also possible to attain several different colors!  Price: Approximately beginning at $15.00 sq ft.

Xenon Fixtures – There is great selection of xenon fixtures in several styles, shapes and sizes. Most are even dimmable! Price: These fixtures are approximately $40 – $80

thesexykitchen opinion

Unfortunately many people do not put enough time and energy into a proper kitchen lighting design plan. Proper kitchen lighting can truly make or break a space especially the kitchen! Take the time, make the right choices for your space and let there be light!!

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