Kitchen Lighting Ideas: A Baker’s Dozen

The Kitchen Master

Kitchen lighting has entered a whole new world of possibility. The days of a single ceiling fixture, with perhaps a pendant over the kitchen sink are long gone. So, too, (thankfully) is the era of fluorescent bulbs hidden above translucent plastic panels.

Today, no “proper” kitchen would be without good lighting. So, if you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen, in addition to compiling a “wish list” of desired features, give serious consideration to your options.

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Here are 13 ideas to get you started:

  • Plan an effective pattern of recessed cans to light up the corners (and the center) of your kitchen. If you’re building new, this is easy; but recessing lighting also exists that is designed specifically for remodeling. Use high energy saving, high efficiency and low heat LED fixtures or bulbs that come in a variety colors from bright sun light to the golden glow of incandescent lamps.
  • A pair of pendants rather than a single, lonely fixture over the kitchen sink, particularly if you have a double or triple-bowl sink. You’ll want to eliminate the shadows.
  • Uplighting puts a subtle glow on the ceiling and bounces light around a bit. If you display art or have plants atop your upper cabinets, you can also shine some light in their direction.
  • Light the interiors of glass-door upper cabinets — it’s a great way to show off pretty china or highlight collectibles.
  • Hang a lighted pot rack over a large island — great for keeping cookware close at hand and lighting the work surface at the same time.
  • Place a stunning chandelier over the island. However, be sure that you also have more effective task lighting, such as recessed cans or directed spots for functional purposes.
  • Opt for a high-tech curving track or cable lights over an island or to traverse the entire kitchen ceiling. It will be as much an art piece as a way to direct light onto specific areas. Configure the track to accept hanging pendants above an eating bar, or cast a spotlight on art hanging on an opposite wall. An experienced lighting designer is a great help if you want this kind of custom installation.


  • Large industrial hanging fixtures or wire baskets framing oversize frosted glass bulbs are reminiscent of historical lighting and look great over a peninsula or eating bar.
  • Use continuous LED under-cabinet channel or tape lighting rather than “hockey pucks” or fluorescent strips for a modern look.
  • Install dimmer switches on all kitchen lighting; tailor the mood from “laboratory-bright” for serious cooking to quietly romantic during a “dinner for two” evening.
  • Add a striking lamp on a long stretch of counter, both for soft lighting and to add character while you’re waiting for the brownies to bake or the guests to arrive. Consider having one made from a favorite family heirloom, perhaps an old pottery jug or grandma’s china teapot. Add a shade that complements your decor and you’ll not only add decorative appeal but you’ll have a great conversation starter.
  • Consider the quality of the light. Use sunny or warm tone bulbs or go with the clear, brighter light of LEDs, rather than the cool tones of old-fashioned fluorescent. It will not only make you happier, but with enhance the look of the food.
  • Have fun with your lighting selections. There are options from Euro-tech to country French and Art Deco to Western rustic. Pick exactly what pleases you, and even feel free to mix rather than match.
  • To help locate items in your often dark cabinets install USB charging LED drawer strips or cabinet interior LED discs.

For help with kitchen lighting ideas, our professional designers at The Kitchen Master will be happy to work with you. Just give us a call.

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