Few things can make a bigger impact on interior design than lighting. This applies double in the kitchen, where light can sometimes be a matter of serious concern – you have to see where and what you’re slicing! Creative illumination ideas can set your space apart and get you that luxe look that you’ve been swooning over on Pinterest. Luckily there are solutions for any budget and any level of DIY you may want to put into your creating your perfect kitchen lighting.
Here are our top picks for kitchen lighting ideas:
1. Glass pendant lights add some sparkle
An elegant addition to an island set-up can be a row of dim glass pendant lights that are atmospheric, but just also provide enough light to help you do your cooking. In choosing lighting for kitchens you need to think about the feeling you want to get from being in the space as much as the practical realities of needing light for cooking. A kitchen island is a perfect place to add some lighting that sets a mood, while you can add sharper, more focused lighting as cabinet lighting over the worktops.
2. A set of pendant lights for a high ceiling kitchen with class
Pendant lights are all the rage in kitchen design. Even though they are stars when placed above kitchen islands, they can be used as regular ceiling lights if the height of the ceiling permits it. It’s a great way of highlighting a beautiful set of lighting elements and adds much more clear and targeted light than a set of recessed spot lights, which are a bit over the hill.
3. A glass kaleidoscope to add some zing to your kitchen
Kitchen lighting is often taken as meaning some recessed bulbs or at best a stainless steel pendant light. These colourful pendants have a different plan. For a kitchen with neutral colors and natural light, this row of accent hanging lights looks lovely even in the daytime.
4. Stylish task lighting for the sink
Even if the daytime provides plenty of natural light, three brushed steel wall lights can add some clear illumination for this corner of the kitchen after sunset. If your kitchen is already colourful, keeping lighting a bit more neutral, even industrial can help enhance the look. Colourful lighting elements in a colourful kitchen can often be too much, we recommend erring on the side of muted steel fittings or graceful glass.
5. Beam me up, Scotty!
The revolution in LED-lights has made it possible to create incredibly innovative lighting for the kitchen as well. One of the most effective uses of this technology is the creation of gracious and affordable beam lighting. This is not your average halogen tube that blinks and buzzes through the night, but variable and continuous lighting that is long-lasting and much easier on the eyes, literally and figuratively.
6. Don’t be afraid of a little colour pop
If your kitchen has basic, muted colours as a base, then your kitchen lighting can be a bit bolder. Pick an accent colour and stick with it, it will brighten up the room and add the details that make a light kitchen shine. You can use the same colour across your ceiling and wall lights to bring the room together.
7. Go traditional with simple bulb lighting
When choosing lighting for a kitchen, one of the main questions to ask is: Is this a traditional, classic kitchen or a modern kitchen? Sometimes the answer will be somewhere in the middle, but most times, you’ll end up on one or the other side. For a more traditional kitchen with a little modern flair, you can’t go wrong with a row of Edison-style classic glass pendant bulbs. The light they offer is soft and subtle, and the effect is to emphasize the room without stealing the show.
8. Get rustic and give your kitchen a cabin-vibe
Beyond your go-to glass and steel, wood is an often overlooked element in lighting for kitchen. Pendant lighting with a wood finish in a low chandelier style can be a great look for both a traditional and a modern kitchen. You don’t have to have antlers hanging from the wall to use wood accents (though you can, they look pretty awesome).
9. Add contrast with your kitchen lighting
If your kitchen is monochrome, why not break up the monotony with a contrasting lighting fixture? It could be black on white, blue on beige, red on cream, mix, and (don’t) match to your heart’s content. Make sure the colours you choose are complementary, you can use a colour wheel to get the look you’re after.
10. Mix and match your lighting elements
Who said you had to pick one? To get the kitchen light you want, you can add ceiling lights of different sizes and arrange them to fit around your workspaces. Smaller accent lighting will serve to enhance the larger pieces and add to the amount of light in the space.
11. Make a statement
In the world of kitchen lighting, it’s often all about being practical. And that’s understandable, we are surrounded by sharp objects, things have to be done quickly, it is a creative studio after all. But in the spirit of that creativity, sometimes it can work well to add a little more drama to a kitchen space. A statement chandelier can be an incredible way to do that and still get the light you need through targeted task lighting under kitchen cabinets and over work surfaces.
12. Don’t be afraid of a little bling
In an otherwise neutral kitchen, a set of ceiling pendants with gold accents can achieve an elegant and understated look. Make sure that gold remains an accent colour and isn’t all over the kitchen or you’ll risk turning your kitchen into Trump Plaza (if that’s not what you’re going for, of course).
13. A modern centrepiece powered by LED
There is nothing more modern than turning your kitchen into an abstract art piece. With LED beam lighting and a little tasteful arrangement, this is easy. Of all our kitchen lighting ideas, this one packs the most visual punch and is very achievable as well.
14. Don’t be afraid to reach for the classics
Even though modern lighting has been revolutionary in kitchens around the world, there is still something to be said for classic design and timeless aesthetic. Two side-by-side crystal chandeliers over an island or the kitchen table can be a strong statement that pulls together a room, be it more traditional, but even in a modern design.
15. Go for that DIY look
Kitchen design is often very straight-laced and focused on clean lines and that glass and steel aesthetic. But it doesn’t have to be that way for every area and, in the end, not for every kitchen. Sometimes a little more artisanal, a whimsical element can add a relaxed and fun atmosphere to a functional room. This works even better in a small kitchen, as small accents are the strength of the DIY concept.
16. A twist on recessed lighting
Recessed lighting was all the rage in the early 2000s and almost every cookie-cutter McMansion kitchen features it. That doesn’t mean it is bad, just that we can do better. And with this wood board version, we already have! It combines the sheer functionality of the spot light with the beautiful aesthetic of natural wood.
17. Weave made it!
For a more traditional, shabby chic or rustic kitchen, one or two basket-style pendants can be a great addition. The natural materials work well within a neutral colour palette or one that has a few pastel accents. We would not recommend this style if you are planning on incorporating strong or even dark colours into your palette. Also, if you are using basket shades for your light, it may be good to temper your use of wood in the same room. It’s easy to overdo it and have your kitchen get that definitive barn look – not sure it’s a good one.
18. Patterns as an optical focal point
A beautiful way to enhance a kitchen with a neutral palette is with a row of patterned pendants. Stripes, paisley, geometric shapes, anything that fits your liking will attract the eye and act as a focal point for a monochrome space. The colours should be either a more full expression of the base colour, or a contrasting colour that is complementary.
19. Work with what you have
Especially in traditional kitchens or in kitchen restoration projects, it is essential to first assess the spaces you have. Sometimes adding targeted task lighting in areas that weren’t conceived that way can be a beautiful way of not only adding light, but also adding focus on old design elements that could be overlooked.
20. Enhance and utilize more of your space with LED strips
Kitchen lighting ideas don’t always come in the form of statement chandeliers and DIY pendants, sometimes just adding a bit more light where it counts can make all the difference. In a modern kitchen, adding LED strips under the kitchen cabinets and around the cupboards (in the cupboards as well, consider motion sensor activation, it’s amazing!) can give you all the light you’ll need.
21. It’s not just about the lights
Accessories can sometimes be more important than the lights themselves. In this case, a golden curtain rod offers an elegant way to drape and position two understated bulbs with simple black cords. The contrast between the glitz of the gold and the industrial look of the bulbs makes this work and draws the eye.
22. Go industrial
For a kitchen on the larger side, especially one with high ceilings or an atypical floor plan, it can be a great addition to fit in lights with an industrial feel. This can be actual repurposed industrial lighting with all the patina and charm of age or large brushed stainless steel lights that mimic the look and feel of those turn of the century factory floors. No need to cook industrial-sized batches of food, though, with this light, you might as well.
23. Minimalist lights for a minimalist kitchen
A few understated black pendants can act as an easy source of light in a minimalist kitchen space without blurring the aesthetic. They are functional, easy to find for a low cost, and keep with the more austere theme. Just add one wherever your space needs light.
24. Play with textures
Large hanging lights can be a great place to highlight contrasting textures. If your kitchen has a monochrome feel, has a preponderance of wood or polished metal, try adding a light fixture with a contrasting texture. If the kitchen is matte, make the fixture shiny or polished, if the kitchen has a high shine finish, try adding a wood-centered or otherwise matte light element.
25. Central pieces work well in a small kitchen
What do you do if you just don’t have space for all these pendant, chandelier, wall, and task lights? Sometimes one central piece with a lot of power is all you need. For a simple, monochrome kitchen design, an industrial look can work wonders and provide illumination for the whole room.
26. When in doubt, simplify
If you’re stuck for ideas or your kitchen design has gotten a bit out of hand and you’ve tried a few too many ideas, it could be time to bring in a classic. Whatever the design of your kitchen, a simple, clear glass globe is a style that works in all kitchens. From the most high-shine, high-tech to the most traditional of French kitchens, this style has no rights reserved, works every time and it’s yours for the taking.
27. Candles – a timeless accent
Candle inspired lights can be a great addition to a space that has a traditional feel and needs to keep its functionality. Though the look of real candles is superb and can’t be faked, a little of the castle original rubs off in this hanging fixture.
28. Make it modern for a dining table or an island
LED lights make any geometric pattern possible and in a modern kitchen, that’s a great thing to take advantage of. A unique centrepiece can be a breathtaking addition to more utilitarian space.
29. Monochrome works
A white kitchen can be enhanced by pairing it with matching white light fittings. Though contrast can give the room a welcome pattern interruption, a completely white room creates the illusion of vast space and can enhance a smaller kitchen.
The Wrap Up
We hope you liked our ideas for your kitchen lights! Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments if you’ve used any of our suggestions or have some of your own. We’re always keen to learn from you, our readers, about how you’re decorating your home and your beautiful kitchens.