What Kind of Lights Should I Have in My Kitchen?
Check out these professionally designed kitchens for ways to layer different types of lighting in this much-used room
There are many different ways to do this and, as the kitchen is probably the most used room in an average household, it’s important to get it right. Read on to understand the most common types of kitchen lighting available.
This type of kitchen lighting is fitted discreetly to the underside of wall cabinets or shelves. It can also be tucked above the plinth on the bottom of base units, as seen here in a design by PlaceDesign Kitchens and Interiors.
Under-cabinet lights can fulfil two functions – mood and task – depending on your preference and the type of fittings you choose. Here, the plinth lights give an atmospheric glow when cooking is over in the evenings, while the wall unit lights provide task lighting for the worktops.
The colour of light is also a key choice that will dramatically alter the effect. In this kitchen, both wall and base units are lit with LED tape that gives off a soft, warm light.
Where there are no shelves or wall cabinets beneath which lights can be fitted, wall lights can work well. If your dream kitchen is minimal, this may not be the look you crave, but wall lights don’t have to be a feature, as they are here. They can also be small and discreet and almost vanish into the wall – ask your designer for ideas.
This cosy kitchen by NK Living, however, totally suits these positionable, vintage-look fittings. The two lights work to illuminate the worktop and sink area, while a cooker hood provides task lights at the other end. There’s also pendant lighting over the dining area and, in a small kitchen like this, that will often be enough.
Typically, pendant lights in a kitchen space will be hung over an island, as in this room designed by nune, or over a dining table. It’s an opportunity to have task lighting that’s also decorative (because it shouldn’t risk bonking anyone on the head in these positions).
Island pendants tend to come in pairs or threes – or more if your island is long – to provide an even spread of light for food prep, cooking, homework or washing-up. If the island doubles as a dining space, a dimmer will be useful to set the right mood.
The classic choice here is for a single, large pendant. And because, as mentioned, it’s not likely to be in the way, you can afford to go to town with picking a real statement shade, as Beth Dadswell of Imperfect Interiors did in her own kitchen, seen here.
One consideration your designer will have in mind is the sightline to the garden: ideally, a large light fitting should not obscure your view.
Smaller pendants, like these, can be an excellent alternative to under-cabinet or wall lights over a worksurface.
There are, broadly, two ways to go with flush ceiling spots. The first is to position them only where task lighting is required, such as over a worksurface or cooking area.
In this example, The Couture Rooms added a row above the worktop to illuminate the hob and sink.
Also, a dimmer switch will ensure you’re not floodlit every time you turn them on. Note how the architects have gone for white fittings, keeping the ceiling a uniform colour rather than making the light fittings a feature, as they could become when in a contrasting colour. However, in a more industrial-style kitchen, where function tends to be highlighted, the opposite might work.
This can create a similar effect to the aforementioned spotlights – and is a good solution if you don’t have suitable ceiling space on which to mount the fittings. It’s also typically adjustable, so the position of each light can shift if required.
In this design by Used Kitchen Exchange, it’s a great solution, as the ceiling is vaulted, and the track means nothing needs to be fitted to the characterful beams. Consider the idea, too, for side-return extensions with angled rooflights or any other ‘tricky’ ceiling shape.
Not all kitchen lighting has to be wired in. A simple table lamp on a worktop can add instant atmosphere, as seen in this large Plain English design. This may not work in a compact kitchen, though, where every bit of worktop is needed for prep and cooking.
What kinds of lighting do you have in your kitchen – and what would you change? Let us know in the Comments.