How to choose functional and aesthetic kitchen lighting

April 26, 2017

Good kitchen lighting is the linchpin of any successful design, no matter the typology. But with kitchen designing it is even more important because not only would good lighting determine the plausible functionality of the space, but define the aesthetics as well. As we all know, the kitchen is essentially an extremely pragmatic room and without proper lighting it can turn into the pinnacle of entropy. Despite all of this, lighting can still very much be relegated a back role in most kitchen remodels – mostly because clients do not know the importance and impact of proper lighting in their kitchen space. Well, we’re here to tell you better.
You have to allocate the requisite budget for good lighting in your kitchen remodel because it is an extremely critical element of the overall design. Many people do not appreciate the impact of excellent lighting. Just putting four bulbs in in a row without any context do not make a good lighting plan. Each lighting fixture needs to be strategically placed at specific points to create the perfect ambiance in your kitchen. Professionals are now calling the kitchen the center of home entertaining and the old analogy about moths being drawn to flames could very well apply to amazing lighting.
Many expert luminaries have designated light as the fourth dimension – which is true to some extent. Below, let’s take a look at how to choose the perfect lighting for your kitchen.

1. Categorizing the lights

There are a figuratively infinite number of lighting fixtures available on the market now. We’ve got halogens, LED lights, strip lights and hundreds more. Each one as a different ambient impact. When it comes to kitchen design there are three things that should be considered while deciding on the perfect kitchen lighting. These include;

The functionality: Functional lighting is relatively simple. All you have to do is mark the proper lighting fixtures above the relevant working areas, e.g. the workstations, the pantry and the island (if you have one). Of course this also includes natural light, which is always incorporated by designing a window above the sink area. It is important because natural sunlight kills off all microbial growth that could be left on the stainless steel surface of the sink from dampness.

The aesthetic: You can also call this the metaphorical ‘cherry on top’ of the kitchen design. Decorative lighting is carried out in simple or elaborate fixtures according to the relative style of the kitchen. These are the actual part of the physical design as well as the lighting plan. Their decorative aspect enhances the visual dynamic of the kitchen space. Example include chandeliers and pendent lights for kitchens.

The accentuating: This kind of lighting creates the mood in the space. This should be designed around adjoined or in-built eating spaces that come with your kitchen. These come in the form of adjustable fixtures and track lighting.

2. Lighting do’s and don’ts

There are several ways to go about designing the actual kitchen lighting. This process includes layering; you cannot just have one sort of lighting fixture and ambient mood in the entire spatial structure. Below, let’s look at the different kinds of lighting auras and the moods they convey. Then you can decide which ones you want to layer together in your own kitchen space.

Decorative: As the name suggests, decorative lighting is just there for aesthetic quality. These are installed in elaborate fixtures at stylize the ambiance and only hang over a certain part of the kitchen – mostly the central space. Now you can always make up your mind about incorporating a decorative lighting fixture but know that it will do nothing to enhance the functional aspect of your space. It will just provide enough light to decorate a small, designated range of space. It should be paired up with ambient lighting.

Ambient: Ambient lighting is the very ‘base’ of all lighting techniques. It provides an easily accessible pool of light that is evenly reflected along the kitchen ceiling. It is therefore perfect for functionality. However, if used alone it can see, quite bland and queer. This is where accents come in handy.

Accents: This kind of lighting is designed in sporadic intervals along the periphery of the ceiling. Accents illuminate some of the more stand-out aspects of your kitchen and acts as a contained spot-light. This could be very useful while you are trying to override the blandness of simple ambient light.

3. The Ultimate Kitchen Lighting Cheat Sheet

Further let’s look at a few modern design interventions that have made kitchen lighting a better experience:

Relating to the design: Make sure that all of your lighting fixtures complement the spaces outside your kitchen. This way you have a holistic design experience.

Pendent lights: Pendent lights now come in a large number of style and aesthetic – from traditional to retro to contemporary and more. Decide on a fixture that would elevate the overall ambiance of your kitchen.

Light art: Lighting can now be incorporated in artfully inventive ways. You can always hang avant-garde creations like laser art; which features a small, laser lit section design in a frame to accentuate your kitchen space.

Under-cabinet lights: This kind of lighting feature is now a very commonplace design practice. It elevates the ambient and visual dynamic of the kitchen.

Toe-kick lights: These are installed under the cabinets and can enhance nightly vision by lighting up the floor space – you’ll never stub your toe on a cabinet corner again!


Lighting is an important part of the kitchen design. It not only enhances the ambiance of your kitchen but allows for maximum efficiency in functionality. Therefore, it is important to invest in proper lighting for your kitchen.

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