What Type of Lighting is Best for a Kitchen

Proper kitchen lighting makes your space feel great and helps you perform your cooking tasks efficiently.

Unlike other rooms in your home, a single fixture cannot serve all kitchen lighting needs.

Homeowners installing new lights in their kitchens should opt for flush mount ceiling lights.

You want to buy warm-tone LED lights, especially for your kitchen ceiling, as they have to create enough illumination at any time of the day.

Moreover, you can have decorative lights like chandeliers in your kitchen, but you cannot depend solely on them for lighting.

Read on to learn about kitchen lighting fixtures, how to use them effectively and which type of fixtures create your preferred lighting.

General Lighting Plans  

an image of kitchen light

A good lighting plan involves a combination of three methods to illuminate a location according to style and function.

To properly use all methods, it is essential to understand the purpose of each.

1. Ambient Lighting

Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting offers the most illumination in a kitchen.

It provides uniform light throughout the space without depending on other light sources.

Light fixtures used for ambient lighting are:

  • Ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures
  • Chandeliers
  • Track lights
  • Recessed lights
  • LED downlights
  • Table and floor lamps

2. Task Lighting

Task lighting offers additional light for specific tasks in a kitchen with ambient lighting.

It helps you see little objects or ones with low contrast.

Task lighting also helps reduce eyestrain by providing increased light for tasks requiring accuracy.

Standard fixtures that provide task lighting include:

  • Pendant lights
  • Under-cabinet lighting
  • Portable lamps
  • Recessed fixtures

3. Accent Lighting

Accent lights are mainly used to illuminate specific spots of interest, such as architectural features or artwork.

They are considered decorative and enhance the decor of the room.

Examples of accent lighting are:

  • Under-cabinet lights
  • Picture lights
  • Sconces

Related Reading: How Can I Design A CAN Light Layout In My Kitchen – Click Here To Find Out.

Best Kitchen Lighting Fixtures

Because of the obstacles like cabinets, it’s challenging to find a one-size-fits-all light that would suffice the lighting needs for cooking, cleaning, and showcasing your kitchen.

Here are some typical lighting options that are found in most kitchens:

1. Surface Lights

Surface lights are designed to provide ambient light.

They are primarily single, mushroom-shaped fixtures that contain single bulbs or large rectangular fixtures that hold multiple fluorescent tubes.

These fixtures are installed directly onto the ceiling to illuminate a large area.

2. Recessed Lights

Recessed lights are an excellent option for ambient lighting.

Fitted directly into a wall, ceiling, or another surface, the bulk of the fixture is hidden inside the wall or ceiling.

These lights are unostentatious and provide a sense of space and openness in the kitchen.

3. Cabinet Lights

Cabinet lights can work as both task and accent lighting.

Under-cabinet lighting uses focused light fixtures to provide task lighting over prep areas like sinks and counters.

In-cabinet lighting is used inside cabinets to offer sufficient illumination when looking for dishes or to highlight a collection cased inside open or glass cabinetry.

4. Pendants

A pendant light is connected to a rod or chain hanging from the ceiling.

They can be considered a type of surface light but are not made for providing ambient lighting to a large area.

Pendants work as a cross between task and ambient lighting or as decorative pieces in your kitchen.

5. Kitchen Island Lights

This type of fixture hangs right above the kitchen island.

Making a set of two or three lights, island pendants, or chandeliers provide direct task light for island prep zones in a kitchen.

These lights can be set on dimmers for greater functionality.

Kitchen Lighting Ideas 

an image of kitchen

1. Playing with the pendants

Three pendant lights are enough to create an atmosphere without overwhelming or cluttering the space.

However, larger islands may need more pendants.

Glass pendants are an excellent way to introduce colors into a space subtly and can create visual interest through mix and match.

2. Utilizing under-cabinet area for lighting

Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to introduce functional task lighting while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen.

Light strips are the most flexible option for under-cabinet kitchen lighting.

When used with dimmers, you can brighten and dim your light strips to help with food preparation or fill your kitchen with colorful light to set the mood for a romantic dinner or party.

3. Focusing the lights on prep areas

Kitchen countertops or islands where food is prepared can benefit from task lighting, achieved with a pendant light or a track light.

For more lighting on the counters, use battery-operated LED puck lights beneath cabinets that do not require electrical wiring.

4. Making a statement with cabinet lighting

If you have beautiful silver dishware or are proud of your tea set, why store it hidden away in the dark?

Using mood lighting adds to the beauty of your kitchen by highlighting your finest pieces.

Used in the proper places, such as in corners or where you have a lot of closed cabinetry, glass-fronted cabinets will make your kitchen feel more spacious.

5. Making use of dimmable lighting

While bright lights are necessary for the kitchen for work.

If you want to create a space that can also function as a cozy evening spot, it is a great idea to use dimmable lighting.

Dimmers will allow you to change the vibe in an instant.

Related Reading: Light Installation Fo My Kitchen – Click Here To Read.

What Type of Lighting is best for a Kitchen – FAQs

1. What color of light is best for the kitchen?

Warm white lights (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) are most suitable for kitchens.

2. What is the best lighting for low ceilings?

Recessed lighting is the ideal option for kitchens with low ceilings.

3. Is daylight or soft white better for the kitchen?

Daylight bulbs are better for the kitchen as they help prepare food like chopping vegetables.

Related Reading: How Many Watts For Kitchen Lighting – Click Here To Read.

The Bottom Line   

The ambient light, which serves as the leading kitchen light, should have a warm white tone instead of daylight or a bright white bulb.

This yellowish shade creates a softer glow that can complement brighter white task lights under cabinets for the best effect.