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Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Kitchen Lighting Ideas

The kitchen is the heart of the home. And, there’s no other room in the house where we multi-task as much. In our kitchens we:

  • Prepare Meals
  • Socialize
  • Do Homework
  • Play games
  • Pay bills
  • Have a Work space/Home office

The kitchen is a substantial remodeling project and the lighting design tops the list when planning out a kitchen. It’s important to think in terms of tasks when planning your lighting as well as areas lighting will be placed.

For Example:

  • Kitchen island lighting
  • Kitchen sink light
  • Kitchen under cabinet lighting
  • Kitchen ceiling lights
  • Kitchen ambient lighting
  • Kitchen table lighting

Even if you are only updating your lighting in the kitchen, choose lighting that will make your tasks easier and give you a fresh new look for your kitchen.

One of the first questions I get from my clients is “do the fixtures have to match?”

The answer is”No, but they should all be complimentary to one another. “

I like to categorize my tasks into two groups: Functional and Aesthetic.

Functional lighting includes the kitchen sink light, under cabinet lighting and ceiling lighting. LED canned lights are a great way to go for the ceiling, especially if you add dimmers, which enables a homeowner to create ambient lighting for the kitchen. Under cabinet and sink lighting are essential for task oriented routines or for creating ambient lighting.

The aesthetic lighting is where the homeowner can personalize the space in the kitchen at the island and kitchen table.

Repeating my answer, No, the island and kitchen table lighting don’t have to match, but they do need to compliment one another. Pick one area for a focal point that will be the “wow” factor for your kitchen. For example, if you have a very large kitchen island, you might want to emphasize this space with dramatic lighting such as multiple beautiful chandeliers. In this example, the table light would be a complementary selection, but not something that would fight with the drama created with the kitchen island lighting.

There’s several lighting options for the kitchen island. The first consideration is the size of the island. Spacing between lights depends on the number and size of the pendants or chandeliers. Balance and scale come into play and it’s important to select fixtures that aren’t too large or too small for the scale of the island.

Again, the size and style of the kitchen table will dictate the size of the fixture. Hang your fixture 32-34” from the surface of the table. I’ve walked into too many clients homes where the kitchen light was inches away from the ceiling. This defeats the purpose of aesthetic lighting conditions and task lighting needs.

While there are no hard rules for lighting selections, the important point to remember is to select your lighting specific to your needs and expresses your personal taste and style.


Joanie has created beautiful interior & exterior designs in Scottsdale, Denver, and now Charlotte. She makes interior design fun for her clients by creating unique visions with their style. Joanie also incorporates green ideas & materials into all her projects.