After beautiful kitchen lighting ideas? The primary function of a kitchen may still be cooking, but it increasingly serves as one of the main entertaining spaces in the home. The right lighting can introduce several levels of brightness, make small kitchens feel larger, and dramatically alter its mood and feel. It’s important to invest in a scheme that provides good task lighting, as well as creating the ideal ambience.
Kitchen lighting can sometimes be the last consideration when it comes to designing your space, but for a kitchen to look and function well, the space must be lit properly. Experts agree that the best time to decide on a new lighting scheme is at the planning stage, as you’re signing off your kitchen drawings. Leave it until later, and it could become an afterthought, with limited possibilities.
A good kitchen lighting system needs at least two elements: bright, shadow-free task lighting for safe cooking and preparation, and atmospheric illumination to create mood, highlight architectural features and make the room feel more inviting.
Under-cupboard spots fitted directly above the hob, sink and chopping board will ensure bright, focused task lighting. Make sure you position them as close to the front edge of the cupboard as possible, otherwise you’ll illuminate the back of the worktop only.
For wider mood lighting, lights that are controlled separately are preferable so you can create different moods at the flick of a switch. To achieve the right ambience in relaxing zones, wall lights and ‘washers’ will add subtle background illumination.
Feature and accent lighting
Accent lighting guides the eye to points of interest around the room. Lights built into the kick boards of an island or a run of units give a gentle glow across the floor, making the cabinetry look like it’s floating. Meanwhile, a run of LED lights under the rim of a kitchen island worktop creates an inviting spot, especially if there are bar stools there.
Browse through our showcase gallery of showstopping kitchen lighting ideas.
A series of beautiful pendant lights or a fabulous single lamp shade above a dining table will help differentiate the dining space from the kitchen’s work zones. For added flexibility, try fitting pendants or cluster lights with a dimmer switch, so the island can function as a bright area for working, or a place to gather with friends, with softer low-level lighting.
Zone out the eating area in a large kitchen-diner with large striking pendant lights. Hanging them low will allow the shades to take centre stage, but make sure they’re high enough not to get in the way of conversation!
LED strips fitted in the gap between the work surface and the units creates a floating effect, while also lighting the way to the finger pulls. Many LED strips are flexible, so they can follow the lines of your cabinetry.
Make light of cooking! Create a practical space to prepare meals by adding lights above your cooking station. Make sure the panel above hangs low, so you don’t see the bulbs.
Here, translucent door panels made of ice white Corian have been back-lit to create playful shadows in this kitchen. This clever idea shows even something as functional as cupboards can be used to create a showstopping lighting effect – plus, it’s a pretty good incentive to keep your storage space tidy!
Create a focal point in your kitchen with a grand chandelier. A glistening metal and crystal number suits this modern kitchen, but you could also go for a dramatic black chandelier in the kitchen, or add a classic twist by opting for antique lighting.
Spotlights are a great kitchen lighting idea. They’re subtle enough not to interfere with the rest of your scheme, but are a sure-fire way to brighten up the whole look.
As well as eliminating steam and odours in the cooking area, an extractor can also double up as stylish task and mood lighting.
Hang lighting at different levels to add interest and create a focal point above a dining table or island unit in the kitchen.
Installing lights in your flooring is a great way to create ambient lighting – as well as to give beautiful flooring your full attention.
On a budget? Light up kitchen shelving by hanging lamps above a unit. We love this quirky rustic design – it matches the industrial and eclectic scheme perfectly.
Ambient lighting will transform the mood of your room – an essential as kitchens become the primary social space in our homes. A good lighting scheme has layers of light from wall lights and LEDs in shelves and plinths.
In open-plan kitchens put the light just where you want it. Pendant lighting can be used to create focal points and direct guests toward seating areas. Position pendant lights over the key areas and look for rise-and-fall versions.
Louise Campbell for Louis Poulsen
Zone out the dining area in a kitchen-diner with large striking pendant lights in contrasting colours. Hanging them low will allow the shades to take centre stage.
Mac & Mac Interiors
Every kitchen, no matter how large or small, needs efficient task lighting. You’ll need direct lighting wherever any kitchen preparation is taking place – worktops, sinks and hobs – to make sure chopping and cooking can be done safely and without shadows. Opt for undermounted LED lamps, choosing recessed or semi-recessed options that collect less grease and dirt.
Kitchen and lighting
Lighting within the bottom shelf of the cabinet illuminates its interior and the worktop below. Fitting under-cupboard LEDs is one of the best ways to achieve the right amount of task lighting, as this type of lighting offers excellent light output and energy efficiency.
Kitchen and lighting
Mood lighting can change the ambience of the kitchen from practical preparation zone to an entertaining space. Here, under-cabinet lighting highlights the distinctive blue splashback. For a hob area. choose an extractor with four or more halogen lights.
Accent lighting will instantly brighten the room by illuminating and drawing attention to attractive design features. Always opt for LEDs where possible, as these provide greater output that traditional halogen bulbs.
Powerful, dimmable LED lights installed under cabinets provide adequate light during food preparation but can be softened to create the perfect mood for entertaining.
Kartell Louis Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck at Heal’s
Plinth lighting – especially strip lights around an island unit or breakfast bar – gives the illusion of floating furniture, which can create a magical feel in the evening and brings real wow factor to your kitchen.
John Lewis of Hungerford
Kitchen lighting should never be an afterthought. Bold chandeliers aren’t just for the living room or bedroom. Choose an oversized statement light to hang above a breakfast bar for an eye-catching focal point.
Made In Design
A row of pendant lights over an island not only provides great task lighting, but it also helps define the boundary between the working zone of the kitchen and the dining area. Fit a dimmer switch if possible, to lower light levels when entertaining. A softer glow changes the mood and invites guests to pull up a seat.
Dual-pupose pieces, such as this stylish combined island extractor and pendant light, are smart choices. As well as eliminating steam and odours, the Elica Wave hood also doubles as stylish task and ambient mood lighting – perfect for chic contemporary schemes.
LEDs have revolutionised lighting at home – these tiny bulbs can go almost anywhere with no danger of overheating or burning out. Strips of LEDs are now commonly found below wall cupboards, lining the edges of islands and also inside drawers. Make sure you plan the lighting scheme at the start of a project – it will make it so much easier to hide wiring and fittings.
Poliform at MPD London
The key to soft, sophisticated light is to create washes by reflecting light either upwards onto the ceiling, or downwards onto the front of wall cabinets or even the floor. In basements and rooms with tricky ceilings, consider fitting stainless steel bars along the wall that send out a wash of light both up and down. And do think about what the light will be hitting – lighting loves texture.
Another reason to plan your lighting scheme at the start of your project is that it can influence the colours and surfaces you choose. A successful lighting scheme needs pale, reflective surfaces to bounce light off. Look for surfaces with sheen, such as glass and lacquered cabinetry, and place blocks of colour with due care and consideration. A dark worktop will absorb light, while dark cabinets with a pale worktop will have a much brighter effect.
John Cullen Lighting
Now that we all practically live in the kitchen, the demand for a versatile lighting scheme has never been greater. You can divide an open-plan kitchen into activity zones – prep, cooking, dining, homework, entertaining – and plan the light accordingly. Dimmer switches and control systems such as Cresta and Lutron are invaluable for changing light levels and the mood on demand. When entertaining, think about what will be enticing for guests. Lighting the underside of an island bar is just one of the great tips offered by lighting specialist John Cullen.
John Cullen Lighting
Invest in attractive light fittings, as they are on show the whole time, even when switched off. Getting the proportions right is essential. If you have high or vaulted ceilings, look for a large pendant that will fill the space.
In basements and rooms with low ceilings, flush light fittings are a fuss-free option. Pendant lights over a dining table can set the style of the whole area, so think about size, shape and material.