How to Illuminate Your Kitchen Without Relying on Downlights
Industrial wall lamps, giant pendants, tiny globes... See the many ways Houzz designers are lighting kitchens
However, they’re not the only way to go and there are plenty of alternative ideas for kitchen lighting. Looking for inspiration? See the selection of schemes from Houzz designers below.
This characterful kitchen, designed by Mustard Architects, successfully blends a range of lighting types, which also add colour to the space. There are downlights, but these are minimal and tucked between the painted ceiling beams.
Instead, the design makes a feature of all the lights. There’s a row of utilitarian grey wall lights running above the length of the flush units on the left, providing essential illumination for the contents of the cupboards. Over the island (and the kitchen table, out of shot) there are dark blue vintage industrial pendants on chunky chains. Finally, small orange vintage lamps on short, flexible arms light up the sink at the end of the space, as well as the worktops on the right-hand wall.
More: Explore the whole of this room
This beachy kitchen by Lisette Voute Designs features oversized island pendant lights in the style of lobster baskets. The natural texture of the shades – especially as they’re so big – really warms up the room.
Because the shades are not solid, they also don’t block daylight and will cast interesting shadows after dark. A non-solid pendant shade is a good shout for lighting that sits in front of patio doors, too.
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This kitchen in a barn conversion has a gorgeous stone wall, which is part of the original building. As burying the wiring for lights inside the stonework wasn’t an option, designer Christopher Howard made a feature of surface trunking instead.
This solves the problem of how to provide enough illumination for the worktops (as well as highlighting the beautiful stone) without having to fit overhead lighting on the steeply sloping ceiling. Plus it adds an appropriate utilitarian note to the wall of a former working building.
Extra-large spots on a track are a sleek and practical solution in this small yet airy kitchen designed by Amos Goldreich Architecture (seen here through the open shelving unit that separates it from the living space).
A ceiling with exposed beams and glazing right across poses a potential challenge in terms of where to hang or mount fittings. This solution allows lights to be pointed at the two opposite worktops and sits unobtrusively across the beams.
Although you can get tiltable downlights, this surface-mounted trio of spots, in a kitchen designed by Kitchen Connection of Ascot, adds architectural interest and an art gallery feel to a petite, one-wall space. Because they’re moveable, they can be positioned to point at the worktop.
While these do add interest to the ceiling line, note that they also match the paint. A black version of the same lights would give a totally different look and would become a very definite feature, whereas these are more about function in subtle form.
This innovative solution was part of a project run by MH Costa Construction. The feature ceiling, made of partially exposed timber joists, is accentuated by discreet LED strip lighting fitted into slots in the beams. This provides uniform illumination throughout the space.
The black wall lamps add task lighting as well as the option for a softer glow after dark, especially as they light up the warm brickwork.
More: 23 Inspiring Ways to Use LED Strip Lights
Worktop lighting in the form of small pendants, as seen in this
Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens design, can also work well.
While the dining space in a kitchen, and sometimes the island – as seen earlier – can take a large pendant, smaller shades may be the better option where task lighting is required.
Ceiling spots could have been tricky in this double-height kitchen designed by Kitchen Architecture. Instead, it has a combination of lighting. Pendants hang on extra-long cables over the island, while industrial spots, which can be pivoted and directed to where they’re needed, are fitted at ceiling level to provide practical task lighting.
Note also the small wall light with a shade on the end wall: this area of the long worktop is a desk space, and the light means someone can save energy and create a cosy, focused atmosphere when using the kitchen for work.
Rather than burying spotlights into the plaster of this colourful kitchen ceiling, designers Office S&M chose small overhead spheres. In a compact room, where only a low number of ceiling lights is required, the ball shape adds a fun detail and one that emphasises the curves of the door design.
What’s your best tip for lighting a kitchen? Share your ideas in the Comments.