For regular readers of my blog and social media, you will know that I have a big passion for lighting when it comes to interior design. Have bad lighting in your home and your design won’t look half as good as it would with the right lighting. It is true – lighting really can make or break your home!

Island pendant lighting is just one of the lighting fixtures to consider in a kitchen. Keep the size of the pendants relative to the island size! These small pendants are perfect for illuminating the countertop for cooking and food preparation.

The good news is that there are usually some simple changes you can make to improve the lighting in your home. By changing your bulbs to the correct lighting temperature for the room, this can make a huge difference! Without having to change the fixtures themselves.

It’s no secret that I love designing kitchens, and it just so happens that the lighting for this room is critical to the overall design, and ultimately how functional the space is for the homeowner.

So how do you light your kitchen correctly?

While we all have different shapes, sizes and layouts of kitchens, the principles for lighting a kitchen correctly are still the same.

In this blog post I take you through kitchen lighting from start to finish!


It is important to consider lighting in terms of the different lighting types and what activities occur in the room. Providing general lighting, ambient and task is all crucial to the success of a kitchen.


Recessed downlights are a great option for the general lighting in kitchens. With adjustable light temperatures, these concealed lights are the base for creating a successful lighting scheme in your kitchen!

Lighting Types for a Kitchen


When it comes to lighting design, as designers we consider the different lighting types required for each specific room. For the kitchen though, general or ambient and task lighting is required.

General lighting is typically the ceiling lights you find within a space. This could be recessed downlights, a chandelier, or flush mount fixture for example. General lighting refers to the fixture(s) that provide the room with an overall light that isn’t specific.

In the kitchen, the general lighting should come from multiple recessed downlights. If this isn’t possible in your space, then a central flush mount is a good alternative.

Ambient lighting includes fixtures like table lamps, pendant lighting, or wall sconces. This type of lighting provides atmosphere and ambiance so shouldn’t be used alone in kitchens! Ambient lighting should add to the lighting scheme of a kitchen.

For kitchens, ambient lighting is typically through island pendants or under cabinet lighting to provide a low-level atmosphere when the main lighting is turned off. You may also enjoy linear pendant lights instead of pendants!

Task lighting is used to provide a specific area with direct lighting so it’s easier to do a task. For living areas of the home, this could be a floor or desk lamp. But for the kitchen, task lighting needs to specifically help with cooking and any food preparation.

Task lights in the kitchen include island pendants, under cabinet lighting, and range hood lighting as these all help to illuminate the surfaces needed to cook safely.

This kitchen is a good example of using all of these lighting types. The island is sufficiently lit with the pendants, and the recessed downlights in the ceiling provide a good amount of general lighting. Wall sconces and LED strips have been used to illuminate the other countertop areas too.


Another great option for kitchen island lighting is wide drum-shaped pendants! This pendant light is ideal for modern or industrial-style interiors.

Above all, the kitchen should be illuminated so there are no shadows or dark spots. This will ensure safe cooking and food preparation for all the family. Therefore it is important to have general, ambient, and task lighting installed in your kitchen.

In many states across the US it’s code to have a single light fixture above the kitchen sink. This can be a simple recessed downlight or something more decorative depending on the design style of your space. Always check your local code for details.


Lighting Temperature


Does lighting have temperatures? Yes! The lighting temperature actually specifies how bright the light is and whether it’s a warm or cool light. This is something you must consider when purchasing bulbs for any room of your home!

For lighting your kitchen, I suggest using bulbs with a temperature of 4000-4500K.

This will produce a bright white light that’s ideal for kitchens where good lighting is essential for cooking.


You can see in this kitchen example that the lighting temperature has been kept within the 4000K-4500K range and illuminates all areas perfectly.


This LED strip light kit is ideal for under cabinet lighting in kitchens! You can customize the light temperature too.

Other Areas to Consider


Aside from the main lighting types and examples I have spoken about in the sections above, there are some other areas you should consider for extra lighting too!

If you have glass-fronted cabinets in your kitchen, consider installing downlights within them to illuminate the contents of the cabinets. This sort of lighting would be considered ambient because it’s specific to an area, not a task.

You may also benefit from under cabinet lighting that illuminates the floor. This looks particularly good in modern, sleek kitchens!


The integrated lighting of this shelving area helps to provide an added layer of ambient lighting so the kitchen will look more premium overall.


So there you have it! A complete guide to lighting your kitchen to perfection. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!