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KITCHEN LIGHTING: This Is What Professionals Do

The kitchen is a heart of the home. It is the multi-utility place where we do different tasks and needs appropriate lighting. The kitchen is not limited cooking, we use it for eating, chatting, and helping kids to complete their homework. Nobody likes bright light while having evening dinners. And certainly not dim light while cooking food. It is very important to have light suitable for every task. With this guide, we will explain what professionals do when deciding kitchen lighting. I wrote this post with the help of experts and learned a lot from them. Hopefully, you will find something about kitchen lighting useful as I did.

In short kitchen, light is divided into three different layers. First is task light as the name suggests it is light which you need according to the task. Second is accent lighting which focuses on star decoration or features in your kitchen. And the last is general lighting which fills the gap between task and accent lighting. It gives overall lighting and gives general illumination.

What do professionals do differently than us? They combine different layers of light to create balance in the kitchen. They give visual interest and depth to the kitchen and minimize shadows and glare in the kitchen. Professionals try to use as much natural light as possible which helps in saving money. They use electrical lighting in a way which looks more natural and help you change the mood of the room with just a few switches.

Image source: Pinterest

Kitchen task lighting

The kitchen can be divided into different parts where we perform certain tasks. For example sink, you will need to see dishes clearly when cleaning and washing them. Similarly, you need good lighting in countertop where you do all cutting and chopping. You will require it in cabinets, drawers, cooking area, pantry area and pathways. These all are the individual task which requires appropriate lighting. There are multiple options available in the market for these areas. You should also consider your kitchen design when selecting your lighting. For example, if you have a small kitchen you don’t need multiple lights and one overhead light or 2-3 multiple dots LED can be enough for multiple tasks. In daytime with enough natural light you may not need any special lights with your cabinets but at night it can be dark over there depending on your kitchen design and general lighting. No one likes to turn on their flashlight of mobile every time to take things out of cabinets. The main purpose of task light is to give appropriate brightness to certain areas. It helps us in making our everyday tasks easier and save electricity. Common kitchen task lighting options are pendants, downlights and under cabinet lighting to name few.


Kitchen Pendants are the most popular choice for Kitchen Island. They add elegance and come in a variety of material, design & sizes. You can choose from the material such as glass, fabric, metal, concrete, wood, and crystal. Pendants come in a variety of sizes which you can choose according to the size of your Kitchen Island and height of the ceiling.

Length of Kitchen Island & size of the pendant can determine how many pendants you will need. For example, if your island is 8 foot long, you can have 3 small or 2 mid-size pendants. If your kitchen is 12 foot long then go for 5 small size or 3 large size pendants.

Check out mini adjustable pendant lights we found in Amazon.

Image Source: Amazon


Downlights are light fixtures which recessed in the ceiling. They are nearly flush against the ceiling and shine down on space giving a sleek end effect. They have usually led bulbs which is more cost efficient. They are very easy to install and 85% more efficient in comparison to incandescent bulbs. When installing them, take the beam spread and space of area you want for a task in the account.

If you have shiny countertop then avoid direct downlights as they can give reflected glare. For this case, cross illumination can be a better option for you. One of the other advantages of having LED downlights is there longer lifespan. With them, you don’t have to worry about replacing as it has the lifespan of about 10 times more.

Check out these recessed dimmable LED lights in Amazon.

Image Source: Amazon

Under Cabinet Lighting

The surface of the countertops is the place where all the action happens. For some precise task such as cutting or cleaning we need adequate lights there. That’s where under cabinet lighting comes in. They are practical yet stylish and certainly economical lighting system. Under cabinet lighting can set according to your mood and brighten the countertops.

There are multiple options for under cabinet lighting in the market such as light channels, led dot light or led soft strips. You can choose according to your budget and design of your kitchen. When installing positions them as close to the front of the cabinet as possible. This will help in reducing the reflecting glare from countertop which has a shiny surface.

Click here for Amazon link of under cabinet kitchen lighting in the picture.

Image Source: Amazon

Kitchen Accent lighting

Accent lighting in the kitchen helps you to draw attention to interesting parts of the kitchen. You can use them to highlight decorative wall, artwork or other interesting features in your kitchen. Accent lighting can enhance the overall look of the kitchen by enhancing brightness on start decoration of kitchen.

Kitchen accent lighting usually has a contrast ratio of 3:1 with general light. It means accent lights illumination is 3 times brighter than the surrounding lights. With a dimmer control, you can use accent lighting as task lighting also. For example, you can use that beautiful pendant over Kitchen Island in multiple moods.

When kids want to do their homework or you do something which requires bright light, just bright the light. And if you are having dinner you can lower the brightness. For accent lighting you can use pendants, wall sconces, LED linear.

Kitchen Ambient lighting or General lighting

Kitchen ambient lighting is a layer of light which provides overall lighting in the kitchen. These light fixtures used to give general illumination to the kitchen. After having the task and accent lighting you need to provide balance which shows your personal style.

Ambient light will help in this and provide balance in your kitchen. You can use recessed lighting, flush mounts, ceiling lights, fan lights or chandeliers to name a few.

Do you have any suggestions for us? Write in the comments below about your kitchen lighting tips.

Have you checked our post on the butcher block countertops