The kitchen is usually the busiest room in any home. It is the gathering room for friends and family and is considered the heart of every home. It is so important to have a well-lit, bright, and airy space for you and your loved ones to catch up and make memories in. Take these kitchen lighting ideas and turn your kitchen into your favorite room to spend time in.

What Is Kitchen Lighting?

kitchen light

Kitchen lighting is the lighting that creates an overall illumination in your kitchen. Kitchen lighting is probably the most important lighting decision you make for your home. It is important to keep the lighting warm and inviting to create the right ambiance in the area, but it is also important that it be easy to see in the kitchen.

Every kitchen is different and requires different lights. If you have tall ceilings, maybe you should think about a track light that can emit brightness to all crevices of the kitchen. Do you have low hanging counters? That does not mean you have to work in the dark. Install under-cabinet lighting and you will feel like you have moved to a brand new kitchen.

There are a couple of different popular ways to light your kitchen. All of these kitchen lighting ideas work just as well in the right situation, so it comes down to your kitchen design and your personal preferences.

Is There a Need for Special Kitchen Lighting?

kitchen with lightning idea

It is important to light your kitchen strategically. You want areas you use for preparing and cooking to be well lit so you are able to see. It is nice to have direct lighting, like a set of pendant lights, above that area.

You do not want bright lights in your face when you are eating. It is a popular style to put a chandelier over your dining or kitchen table that has indirect lights on it. For example, having a chandelier with lights facing down toward the table can be harsh. Instead, make sure the lights face upward so they can reflect off of objects around you. This creates an ambient light that is comfortable to eat under.

Kitchen Lighting Ideas for Your Home

1. Recessed Lighting

light bulb

Recessed lighting is lighting that is installed into little can-shaped openings in your ceiling. If the lighting is properly installed, the effect of the light will make it look like the light is shining down from little portholes in your ceiling. If recessed lighting is used in a kitchen, it is often necessary to install two or more for efficient lighting of the room.

Recessed lighting is the sleekest lighting options. This is great if you do not want your lights to be a centerpiece design in your kitchen. They are best if you would rather have your lighting be a hidden feature in your kitchen.

2. Pendant Lighting


A pendant light is typically used in a more formal kitchen. Pendant lights are fixtures that hang from the ceiling, suspended by a chain, over an island or table. Pendant lighting is usually used in groups of two to four in a row because simply one light will not be bright enough. They are almost always sold and installed in sets.

Pendant lights hang relatively low, so they are typically placed over a sedentary piece in the kitchen, like a table or island, to avoid the possibility of anyone running into them. It is more direct light, which is great when preparing food.

Pendant lights look great over islands and peninsulas in kitchens. There are more styles of pendant lights to choose from than most people know what to do with. Narrow down your options and find a light that matches the aesthetic of your kitchen. Pendant lights are one of the more creatively diverse kitchen lighting ideas.

3. Track Lighting

light bulb on hand

Track lighting is similar to pendant lighting, except the lights are not placed in the ceiling. Track lighting is a type of lighting where multiple circular lights are attached to a track on the ceiling. The track contains electrical conductors which allow all of the lights on the track to illuminate.

Track lighting is often a more budget-friendly way to successfully capture the feel of recessed lighting. Recessed lighting requires electrical work in the ceiling in order for all of the lights to work. With a track light, all of the electrical is contained in the track so you do not have to hammer into the ceiling.

Track lighting is one of the best kitchen lighting ideas if you live in a more industrial home. The exposed track adds character to the kitchen. It is also great if you have tall ceilings and are having trouble lighting up your entire kitchen. The track is most commonly straight. However, tracks do come in “L” shape and “+” shape also. You can also customize your track shape to fit your kitchen.

4. Undercabinet Fixtures

light under cabinet

Undercabinet lighting is one of the best kitchen lighting ideas if you have cabinets above your workspace. There is nothing worse than not being able to see what you are cutting! There are a number of different ways to install undercabinet lights, but a light strip is the most common.

Light strips have really evolved over the years. You can now purchase them with tape on one side, and this means no drilling is required. You just have to make sure there is an outlet nearby to plug the light into. You can also do some minor electric wiring and have your undercabinet lights connected to your kitchen light switch. Undercabinet lighting is the best kitchen lighting ideas to make a dark cramped kitchen seem brighter.

5. Chandeliers


When you think of chandeliers, you probably envision an array of elegant hanging crystals suspended from a ceiling. While these are still very popular, it is not the only chandelier option when it comes to kitchen lighting ideas. Chandeliers are best used above the eating area. They do not exude direct light. Typically, light bulbs in chandeliers are made to face the ceiling. This allows the light to reflect off of other surfaces before landing in front of you. It cuts the intensity of the light in half and creates a cool and cozy atmosphere.

Chandeliers look great in formal kitchens. Typically a chandelier is a secondary light when used in a kitchen. It is something you can hang above your kitchen table but is not the main source of light for your room. A chandelier is also meant to be a statement piece. It is a decoration tool that can separate the eating space from the living and preparation space.

If you use a chandelier, it is important to put a lot of thought in whatever one you pick out. It should attract attention, but it should not overpower the rest of the room. It is an incredible accent piece that makes any kitchen have a more regal feeling.

Best Lightbulbs to Use in Your Kitchen

LED Lightbulbs

girl with LED

LED light bulbs are the best light bulbs to use in your kitchen. LED lights emit directional light. This means the light is focused in one direction and not all around. This is a great way to control your lighting.

LED lights are also a more environmentally friendly lighting choice than other bulbs. LED lights emit very little forward heat. This means your environment will not get hotter when the lights are on, which is very important in a kitchen where you are already surrounded by heat appliances.

What Color Bulbs Should You Use?

Yes, light bulbs come in different colors. Different colors can set the tone for different rooms. For example, warm white lights look best in bedrooms and family rooms where you want the overall aesthetic to be a relaxing one. You do not want to fall asleep in your kitchen, so warm white might not be the best choice in your kitchen.

Kitchens are expected to be light and airy spaces. Common color schemes in kitchens are often greys, blues, and whites. In kitchens that boast these colors, a cooler toned light that is more neutral looks really good. If your kitchen is really cozy and full of warm colors, a warm white would work just as well.


It is important to put a lot of thought into your kitchen decor and lighting. You want to create an enjoyable space that makes you, your family, and your friends happy to spend hours there.

Take a step back and analyze your kitchen. What is working and what is not? If your kitchen feels small and dark, think about adding some recessed or track lights to bring light in all corners of the room. If you feel like you can’t see when you are working, access the area and install undercabinet lights or pendant lights. Keep your kitchen table the heart of the room. It is the gathering place and the location where most family memories are made and shared. Take what you have learned here and bring life into your own kitchen.

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