What Is The Best Lighting For A Kitchen: Types of Lighting for Kitchens


Looking at the different types of kitchen lighting

When appropriately arranged, a blend of various lighting types in the kitchen establishes the flow and feel of your kitchen. However, finding the right light for your needs depends on the type of lighting and a few other factors. Find out what to look for in lighting to make your kitchen functional and inviting. 

What are the different types of kitchen lighting?

Ambient lighting, often called general lighting, provides the most light in a room. It delivers consistent illumination across the space, regardless of other lighting sources. Ambient light "bounces" off the walls, filling the room with light. In addition, many spaces benefit from natural ambient light provided by windows or glass doors. Options include chandeliers, track lighting, ceiling fixtures, and recessed lighting.

Task lights work in tandem with ambient lighting to provide additional light for certain tasks. For example, it aids with the recognition of small or low-contrast items. Task lighting also helps prevent eyestrain by providing more light for tasks that demand accuracy. Task lights usually include pendants, under cabinet, portable, or recessed lighting.

Accent lights are typically used to highlight specific characteristics of a room, such as artwork or architectural details. They are usually decorative and go well with the rest of the room's design. Accent lights can also be employed to generate a certain effect, such as making a space appear larger. Options include picture lights, sconces, under-cabinet, and track lighting.

Now that you know the main three types of lighting, let's go over the different styles: 

Pendant lights are ceiling-mounted fixtures that dangle from rods or chains. They are a sort of surface light but do not illuminate a huge area. Instead, they combine task and ambient lighting. As a result, pendants add more light to a table, sink, kitchen island, or counter. Pendants come in numerous forms and colors and make great kitchen accents.

Recessed lights are put in ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. The majority of the lighting fixture is hidden. These lights are inconspicuous and maintain kitchen openness. Housing and wiring for recessed lights need space above the ceiling, and they are great for ambient lighting. 

Kitchen island lighting provides general light for most kitchen activities centered over the largest working space. In addition, island pendants or chandeliers provide task lighting for one of the most critical prep zones in any kitchen.

Cabinet lights are accent and job lighting. Under-cabinet task lighting illuminates countertops, sinks, and prep spaces. In-cabinet lighting illuminates dishes and pans or highlights a collection in glass or open cabinets.

Surface lights give ambient lighting. Single mushroom-shaped fixtures hold single bulbs, or bigger rectangular fixtures hold several fluorescent tubes and mount them to the ceiling.

Toe kick lighting highlights the size of your kitchen and creates a safe walking path, making it a great night light. This softer lighting does not brighten your workspace, but it adds style to your kitchen.

How bright should a kitchen light be?

Preparation and cooking need sufficient illumination for safe and efficient functioning. As a multifunctional room, many additional demands are put on the kitchen. You may be wondering how much light your kitchen needs. Calculating lumens per square foot helps provide adequate lighting for any size kitchen. 

The quantity of lighting you need in your kitchen depends on daylight and its position in the home. Consider the number of windows, room adjacencies, and recessed lighting when designing a kitchen lighting plan. For the dining area and the ambient layer in the kitchen, 30-40 lumens per square foot are recommended. This adds up to around 7,000 to 8,000 lumens depending on the size of your kitchen. 

Are LED lights bright enough for a kitchen?

LED refers to light-emitting diodes, and these bulbs use far less power to illuminate kitchens. Instead, a semiconductor emits light when an electrical current passes through these bulbs. Some may come in a variety of colors and have remote controls for adjusting the temperature of the light. 

To obtain 7,000 to 8,000 lumens in the kitchen, all you need is a typical 14-watt LED bulb. These bulbs are designed to fit into any standard light socket. Compared to the standard luminescent light bulb, they also have a longer lifespan.

What color of light is best for the kitchen?

Color adds to the aesthetic and the brightness of the room. Take a look at the different options and their brightness in Kelvin measurements. 

Warm and golden, soft white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is the normal color spectrum of incandescent lamps. If you are trying to create a warm and inviting kitchen, these will work but do not use them as task lighting. Warm white (between 3,000 and 4,000 Kelvin) has a yellowish tint. Kitchens and bathrooms are the greatest places to use these bulbs. 

Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) is between white and blue tones. Bulbs in this color range are appropriate for workplaces (such as a home office or garage) and kitchens with chrome fittings since they have a less homey and more dynamic feel. 

How many lights do you need in a kitchen?

The amount of lights depends on the size of your kitchen and the amount of natural light available. Using the lumen measurements above, you can find the appropriate amount of lights for your kitchen. If possible, it's best to have a light over the island and under-cabinet lights too for better lit working space. Add in recessed or ceiling light to fill in light gaps as needed. 

Add in any additional layers of lighting you need for comfort. Some people like to add wall lights as decoration and for when they need just a little light for quick refills at night. If the standard amount of lumens for a kitchen does not work for your needs, feel free to add as many accent lights as necessary to achieve your preferred brightness.


Create the kitchen of your dreams by combining multiple types of lights to get the effect and functionality you desire. One light in your kitchen will not do, nor will the wrong color lighting create a kitchen perfect for cooking and prep work. The guide above will help you determine the best lighting for your needs.

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