Kitchen Lighting Ideas – How To Plan For Your Needs

Kitchen lighting ideas and how to plan your space does not need to be difficult. In this post we will discuss the types of lighting and things to keep in mind in your kitchen layout.

We are about to start with the demo to totally remodel our kitchen next month! While we’ve done some updates to this 60+ year old kitchen since we’ve lived here, it’s finally time! This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for years. Since we discovered that there is mold behind the walls I’m even more happy that we had this plan in place! Yes, we will be doing some DIY ourselves and with my husband being a GC specializing in high end remodeling, he has put together these tips for you below!

Kitchen Lighting Ideas To Consider From A Pro

Lighting for the kitchen is one of the most important considerations when remodeling a kitchen.

There are several things to think about when selecting fixtures and all types of kitchen lighting.

First, consider all of the different uses that a kitchen has. Food prep, entertaining space, project workstations, etc.

Whatever lighting you select, you’ll be much happier if you install dimmers to adjust the light, so think about lighting control systems as you plan.

This is a “before” of a high end client’s home on the bay that we are remodeling. Among other aspects of the kitchen, the original lighting was not well planned out.

kitchen lighting ideas

Three Areas That Need Specific Lighting

  • Countertop areas require undercounter lighting to illuminate the work area without shadows.
  • Islands and peninsulas where seating is provided should have pendant lighting to set the mood.
  • General ceiling light is best achieved with recessed lighting to really light the area for projects and cleaning.

Types Of Lighting

All of the various uses require different lighting.

Food prep needs task lighting such as LED undercounter lighting, consisting of strip lighting.

kitchen lighting ideas undercounter task lighting

Entertaining should have recessed lighting to brighten the space. Pendants over the island to set the mood for the occasion.

kitchen lighting ideas stylish pendant lighting

Project lighting requires both task lighting and overhead lighting to provide enough light to see what you’re doing.

white kitchen - kitchen lighting ideas

With the advent of LED lighting, heat gain from lights has been all but eliminated. Leaving the lights on doesn’t heat the room any longer or use a large amount of energy.

Don’t Forget Dimmers

Don’t overdo overhead lighting. This is one thing that we often see when we remodel homes that has been done previously. You likely won’t use overhead lighting all of the time and less can be more with canned lights. You need a mix of lighting to set the mood.

white modern kitchen kitchen lighting ideas

Kitchen Lighting Ideas And Kelvins

As a photographer, I did have to learn to understand kelvin to see how lighting would affect my photos. The Kelvin rating is the color temperature that lighting gives off. I can’t think of another room in the home that’s more important than the kitchen in terms of light color! A Kelvin rating of 2700 gives off a warm glow (more yellow), while a 5,000K is more blue. We find that 5000K works well for kitchens with white cabinetry, while 4000K starts to bring in a warmer more neutral tone. For a kitchen with traditional wood color cabinets, a 3000K light would be the best, but this is also a matter of personal preference. Again, all kitchen lighting should be on dimmers to further customize your desired look and needs.

countertop lighting

Updating Existing Lighting

Any existing light fixture that has a bulb can be updated. Simply replace the bulb with an equivalent LED bulb. If the fixture is on a dimmer then you’ll have to replace the dimmer with an LED dimmer as well.

Lighting does not have to break the bank and most LED light fixtures are quite affordable. If you want to make a statement though, lighting is a great way to get the most bang for the buck in a kitchen!

Here’s a peek back at our kitchen and how we updated on a budget over the years:
Quartz Countertop Installation In The Kitchen
Kitchen Countertop Reveal With Hanstone Quartz
Carrara Marble Backsplash In A White Kitchen


lighting ideas for the kitchen Shabbyfufu

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  1. Thanks for this info Janet..especially the help on understanding Kelvins.
    Our builders were so adamant on us putting in so many can lights that we never use. Our home has lots of windows and I also don’t like the look of the harsh over head lights. Maybe if we plan to show the house for selling down the line would we ever turn them on. They were so expensive too! I’d have rather had some more outlets put in or another area to run a hose outside.
    Can’t wait to see your new kitchen!

    1. Lori, my pleasure! I am not a fan of overhead lighting either and only use my existing kitchen can lights on real stormy days.

  2. Kim Lennie says:

    I also think you should put into consideration how easy the lighting can be to clean. I’ve seen those beautiful basket type lighting over islands and over your sink and while they are pretty I would hate to try to clean them. Let’s face it no matter how clean you are in your kitchen grease and grime/dust always get everywhere and unless you want to clean your lighting every week it would be hard to keep up.

    1. That is true, pendant lighting must be cleaned but I’m not sure about every week.