12 Different Types of Kitchen Lighting

Your kitchen is the one room that requires the most lighting. This is where you prepare food and work with sharp tools, so properly illuminating the space is vital. Besides lighting for practical purposes, it also provides a great aesthetic.

There are many types of lighting for your kitchen. What you choose comes down to personal preference and decor ideas. Having a variety of choices for lighting will get you out of the dark and enjoy every illuminated nook and cranny of your kitchen.

While all of these types of lights work well on their own, most kitchens use a combination of all of them for overall coverage. The kitchen has many stations to brighten up. Even though you may have natural light coming in, for many tasks performed in the kitchen, one source of light is not enough.

There are options for lighting in your kitchen, depending on what you are doing and where you want it to focus. Here are the different types of kitchen lighting:

Type #1: Ambient Lighting

For general lighting, ambient light is perfect. It provides overall illumination and acts as the first layer of uniform lighting. It diffuses with a soft temperature and works well during the day or night. Examples of ambient lighting for the kitchen include surface lighting and recessed lighting.

Type #2: Surface Lighting

These lights are mounted directly on the ceiling in either a rectangular fixture with florescent tubes or a dome-shaped fixture that holds single or multiple bulbs. They provide light for large areas.

Type #3: Recessed Lighting

With recessed lighting, most fixtures are built into the wall or ceiling to provide a streamlined, non-obtrusive look that gives a sense of space. They still provide ample lighting and usually are installed in multiples for a structured grid. You may need to hire a home electrician to help with the installation correctly.

Type #4: Task Lighting

With task lighting, you are providing elevated illumination for a specific area in a room, even though there is already ambient light. When you need additional light for smaller tasks where accuracy is key, task lighting is there for you. Some task lighting options include pendant, island, and cabinet lights.

Type #5: Pendant Lighting

Pendants are light fixtures mounted to the ceiling with a cord or rod that hangs down to a specific height, like over a table or counter. While they can be considered surface light, pendants don’t provide enough light for an entire room as ambient light does. They illuminate the surfaces they hang over to increase visibility and come in various decorative designs.

Type #6: Island Lighting

For the kitchen island, you can have a dedicated light fixture to provide light just for the workspace. It typically comes in a pendant or chandelier with multiple fixtures grouped. Like most others in the kitchen, these lights can be controlled with a dimmer.

Type #7: Cabinet Lighting

With under-cabinet lighting, you provide direct light to a specific counter or work area. They can shine directly down or be focused light fixtures that cross between task and accent lighting. In-cabinet lighting is also a popular option for illuminating storage areas for tableware or highlighting collectables in a glass cabinet.

Type #8: Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is designed to light up specific areas directed at and focused on, like artwork, collectables or architectural elements in the kitchen. Because they support the main lighting, their role is not to provide ambient light but to highlight and provide different effects.

Type #9: Sconce lighting

Sconces work great in a kitchen to give it a custom look and feel. You can put them over open shelves or above a kitchen window for the best effect. It fills the space and provides an illuminated focal point to draw the eyes.

Type #10: Track Lighting

These accent lights come in various styles and shapes and give a sleek modern look to your kitchen. They provide directional light as an accent and double as task lighting. Track lights are light and flexible and can add additional fixtures if needed, making them very versatile for your kitchen.

Type #11: Picture Lighting

Picture lights work well for task lighting but are also great for accent illumination in the kitchen, where you want small but effective brightness. They are typically mounted around 6 inches above a picture or accent piece and angled towards the wall. Picture lights won’t give you enough light to work on tasks in the kitchen, but they do their job well for their intended role.

Type #12: LED Strip Lighting

For a modern look that jazzes up your kitchen, you can add a strip or two of LED lights almost anywhere. LED strips are more energy efficient, last longer and can be customized with different colours and patterns. They can be mourned on the ceiling, under the cupboard or even below the bottom cabinets.