The kitchen is said to be the heart of a home and I’m often asked how to adequately light a kitchen. Lighting is a big part of any room, but in addition to aesthetic- you really want to make sure your kitchen is properly lit for functionality reasons. In this post, I’m sharing my guide for properly lighting a kitchen, as well as how to mix and match different fixtures for each area in the space. There’s a short video packed into this post as well… check it out!
*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
I created a formula I like to use when making light fixture selections for any kitchen… as I mentioned in the video, I typically like to mix in the following as needed:
- recessed lights (aka, can lights)
- semi flush mount or pendants
- under cabinet lighting
- lit range hood
RECESSED LIGHTS // Every kitchen needs can lights to evenly light & flood the room. I like to place these in highly used areas in an intentional manner (above a cooktop, a pantry, the coffee bar, a food prep area, etc). Check out this post for more details on recessed lighting.
01: halo smd direct mount dimmable can light // 02: halo white dimmable recessed downlight // 03: juno white open recessed light trim
SCONCES // I love a sconce installed against backsplash tile or brick. There is something super classic about that look- and it provides an additional light source. This time around, I opted for three sconces above the coffee bar and food prep area. I love the ambiance they add to the early and evening hours. They give off the perfect soft light. Here are some favorites from Lowe’s… unfortunately mine sold out after sharing the reveal, but I wanted to include some beautiful alternatives.
01: safavieh darren nickel wall sconce // 02: kichler avery bronze wall sconce // 03: westmore lighting antique gold wall sconce
SEMI FLUSH MOUNT or PENDANT LIGHTING // Depending on the ceiling height in your kitchen, you can use either a semi flush mount light fixture (for shorter ceilings) or a pendant (for taller ceilings). These go great above an island or kitchen sink. Don’t be afraid to install them in odd numbers – typically one or three is the magic number.
01: livex lighting semi flush mount bronze fixture // 02: globe electric brass semi flush mount light // 03: kichler nickel seeded glass semi flush mount light
If I didn’t have cabinets above my sink, I definitely would’ve used a semi flush mount fixture. If I had an island in the room, I would’ve opted for pendant lights…
01: kichler aster natural brass ribbed globe pendant // 02: safavieh gold modern globe pendant // 03: sea gull lighting brushed stainless pendant light
That brings me to my next point- under cabinet lighting! This is an important one…
UNDER CABINET LIGHTING // I didn’t realize the value and necessity of under cabinet lighting until I lived with it. Having cabinet lighting is a game changer! Not only does it illuminate the countertop and your prep space, but it is also beautiful in the evening when the other lights are dimmed or turned off. We often use it as a kitchen nightlight and it makes the entire space look so soft and dreamy. Under cabinet lights come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking to hide rope lights- or you just need a few dimmable puck lights, trust me when I say they’re well worth it…
01: under cabinet tape light // 02: under cabinet puck lights // 03: under cabinet bar lights
I ended up using a few puck lights under my upper kitchen sink cabinets. I also painted them the same color as the cabinetry to make them blend more seamlessly. These lights plug into an outlet in the center cabinet, but if you don’t have an outlet that is easy to hide or disguise… don’t worry! Many kitchen cabinet lights are battery powered.
LIT RANGE HOOD // Lastly, I also think having a lit range hood is incredibly convenient. I always have the range light turned on when cooking or baking. I’ve been getting lots of questions about my range hood, and I ordered it from the Diamond Cabinetry book at my local Lowe’s store when I placed my cabinetry order… therefore it isn’t listed online. Check out this post for more info or visit your local store! The in-store designers and cabinetry specialists can definitely help you. There are tons to choose from!
01: whirlpool black stainless range hood // 02: zline kitchen range hood // 03: zline ducted wall mounted range hood
If I had to choose where to save or splurge on kitchen lighting, I’d splurge on the decorative fixtures (pendants, sconces, etc) and save on basic fixtures- like recessed and under cabinetry lights.
Questions or thoughts about kitchen lighting? You know I love chatting in the comment section below! Having a poorly lit kitchen is kind of the worst… you really want to be able to see, set the mood for whatever the occasion, and make sure your space is super functional.
PeggiAugust 13, 2019 at 5:00 am
Unfortunately, my kitchen does not have any room for pretty lights, but alright already! I’ll get some under cabinet lights.😀 Lots of helpful information if I ever get to have a different kitchen. (Also, video looks great!)
SarahAugust 13, 2019 at 7:57 pm
You should definitely get some under cabinet lights.. I’m tellin’ ya- they are amazing!! :)
AmyNovember 10, 2021 at 4:06 am
I just wanted to say I am so grateful for these informative posts! I swear I keep them filed away in my brain then when it comes time to actually move forward with a certain part of a project I come back and reference the posts! This one is perfect, we are in the midst of laying out our kitchen lighting and I am so glad I remembered it! :D
SarahNovember 10, 2021 at 9:04 am
Thank you so much, Amy! I’m thrilled to hear that the blog posts have been helpful :) You made my day! Good luck with your kitchen lighting- let me know if you have any questions! xo