The Best Ways to Illuminate Your Kitchen for an Easy Cooking and Dining Experience

a sage green kitchen with brass hardware

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and entertaining, you know how important it is to have good kitchen lighting. Having the best kitchen lighting can significantly impact your cooking and dining experience.

This blog post will discuss the best ways to illuminate your kitchen for an easy cooking and dining experience. Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or just looking to upgrade your lighting, you’ll find plenty of tips and ideas to help you create the perfect lighting plan.

Lighting Tips to Illuminate Your Kitchen

There are many reasons why every kitchen should have good lighting. With the current trend of open-plan kitchens becoming commonplace, highlighting the kitchen area has never been more important for an easy cooking experience.

Light the Counters

a navy blue kitchen with lots of lights and chandeliers above the island

A common mistake in kitchen lighting is to add overhead lights over floors instead of above workspaces like countertops, sinks, and ranges. Recessed downlights are often placed in front of or behind countertops, which can create harsh shadows where sharp knives are being used.

Instead, consider locating recessed downlights directly above the center of countertops. This will light up the countertops, upper cabinets, and open shelves while avoiding awkward scallops of light. For example, placed downlights over the perimeter countertops in their kitchen. They also aligned the downlights with cabinet doors to prevent awkward scallops of light, as seen in another kitchen design.

Add Lights Under Cabinets

lights under the kitchen cabinets

To address the issue of upper cabinets blocking light and creating dark spaces below them, consider adding undercabinet lighting above the center of cabinets. Be mindful of the placement of LED tape lighting, as installing it facing the backsplash reduces reflections on glossy stone counters but may put the brightest illumination in the wrong place and leave counters too dark.

lacing LED tape lighting too far forward can also create harsh shadows on the counter, so test a strip of light before installing it to ensure an even distribution of light.

Light Up a Sink Area

Adding multiple lights over the sink instead of just one small recessed or pendant light is recommended to ensure good visibility while washing dishes. When purchasing a range hood, it is important to pay attention to the lighting as well.

A good starting point is 750 to 1,000 lumens of high-quality light, depending on the width of the cooking surface.

Fight Shadows

a bright kitchen

Using multiple smaller downlights instead of a few large fixtures can help minimize unwelcome shadows that can be created by recessed downlights. In the past, the only options for recessed lights were limited to 6-inch or 8-inch can lights.

Use Dimmers

Dimmer switches are an essential tool for creating the perfect ambiance in your kitchen. In accordance with your mood and requirements, you can adjust the brightness of your lights.

The kitchen is a great example of this, as you may want bright light for cooking and cleaning but softer light for dining and entertaining. Installing dimmer switches can also help you save energy and extend the lifespan of your lamp bulbs.

When choosing dimmer switches, make sure they are compatible with the type of bulbs you have installed. Some LED bulbs are not compatible with certain types of dimmer switches, so be sure to check the packaging or consult with a lighting professional before making your purchase.

Trend Lighting Ideas

Over the Island

  • The placement of two pendant lights over a kitchen island should be 30 inches from the center and 30-32 inches away from the countertop. A minimum of six inches from the edge of the island, three pendant lights should be just as high and spaced evenly apart.
  • Linear Suspension Lighting: Linear LED lighting works well in kitchens with higher ceilings and can hang at least 40” above the countertop.
  • Using a track or monorail system could make moving power around the ceiling easier. Lighting should not create too much glare here. To prevent the light from looking like an art gallery, use wide-beam spread lights instead of narrow spotlights.

Under Cabinet Lighting

a bright kitchen with lots of lights
Dimmer lights can be used so that the light can be concentrated in other areas
  • Cabinets receiving little ambient light can benefit from LED strip lights, which are versatile and can illuminate the interior of a cabinet. They can also be used under cabinets to fully illuminate counter spaces.
  • Puck lights are round or oval and can be used to create mood lighting or to create spots, pools, or scallops of lighting on countertops.

Lights for Ceiling

  • Recessed downlighting is essential for ambient kitchen lighting. For smaller kitchens, one large flush mount ceiling light in the center may suffice, but modern kitchen recessed lighting creates a more customized lighting scheme. Grid out the lights in straight lines along the counter’s axis to evenly light the kitchen. Pay particular attention to high-use areas. Improve lighting control by adding dimmers.
  • Flush mount or semi-flush mount lighting is a great option for smaller spaces that need a little extra light. These types of lights differ from recessed lighting, which is hidden in the ceiling and can make a room look flat and boring. Flush mount and semi-flush mount lights add depth and dimension to a room, making it look more interesting and visually appealing. In addition to the many styles and finishes available, you can combine one that matches your decor perfectly.

Proper lighting in your kitchen is essential for an enjoyable cooking and dining experience. By focusing on lighting the counters, adding lights under cabinets, lighting up the sink area, fighting shadows, and using dimmers, you can create the perfect ambiance for any occasion.

Additionally, trend lighting ideas such as pendant lights over the island, LED strip lights, and flush mount or semi-flush mount lighting can add depth and dimension to your kitchen. With these tips and ideas, you can create the perfect lighting plan for your kitchen.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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