Skip to main content

Best Kitchen Lighting: 8 Buys to Help Your Kitchen Shine

the best kitchen lighting has a range of different styles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best kitchen lighting has the power not only to boost the design scheme of your kitchen, but can also ensure that it works well on a practical level.

There are many different elements that make up a great kitchen lighting scheme and you will need to think about this at the same time as you begin to formulate a new kitchen design

Kitchens are multi-functional spaces — more so than ever these days. While food preparation is, of course, one of the main roles of a kitchen, most kitchens are now also expected to play host to a number of other day-to-day activities, including dining, entertaining, home working and even relaxing.

What all of this means is that your kitchen lighting needs to be flexible and the scheme as a whole needs to be made up of different types of light, including task lighting, as well as background and mood lighting.

Our guide to the best kitchen lighting out there covers all of the above to ensure your kitchen can perform in every way expected of it. 

(MORE: Kitchen Lighting Ideas)

Which is the Best Kitchen Lighting?

The best kitchen lighting will be made up of many sources. The three main types of light include:

  • Ambient lighting: Also referred to as general lighting and background lighting, ambient lights provide the main sources of light to illuminate the entire space. Recessed downlights and chandeliers are a good examples.
  • Task lighting: As the name suggests, task lighting provides lights for a specific job and provide a focused beam where it is needed, such as over worksurfaces or hobs. Adjustable spotlights and extractor hood lights are examples.
  • Accent lighting: Accent lighting is all about design and should draw attention to certain features in your kitchen and bring its design to life — picture lighting and under-cabinet lights are sources of accent lighting. 

1. Best Kitchen Downlights

are these downlights the best kitchen lighting?

(Image credit: Amazon UK)

‎HiBay GU10 Recessed Ceiling Light Fittings

Sleek, stylish and adjustable downlights

Light style: Recessed downlight | Dimmable?: Yes | Material: Metal | Switch type: Wall switch | Colour: Brushed chrome

Adjustable 
Can be used with different bulb types, including smart bulbs
Easy to install
Minimalist design
Only IP20 so not suitable in areas where moisture build-up might occur (such as above hob)

A great, affordable option, offering a minimalist finish and design flexibility. This kit includes 12 downlights along with the fittings required to install them and can even be fitted on a DIY basis in just four steps. 

The 30° swivelling angle of the lights makes it easy to ensure every corner of your kitchen is well lit and to highlight certain features or work areas, while the brushed chrome finish fits in with any design scheme.  

Another bonus of these kitchen downlights is that they are suitable for all standard size GU10 bulbs, including halogen, LED, dimmable and smart bulbs — be aware that no bulbs are included in the kit. 

2. Best Kitchen Wall Lighting

is this glass wall light the best kitchen lighting?

(Image credit: Wayfair UK)

Amini Light Dimmable Antique Chrome Armed Sconce

Inject some vintage glamour with this glass wall light

Light style: Wall | Dimmable?: Yes | Shade material: Glass | Switch type: Pull cord and/or switch | Colour: Clear

Value for money
Pull cord and wall switch operation possible
Suitable for modern and traditional kitchen schemes
Textured glass gives off nice light effects
Only pull cord supplied — wall switch needs to be purchased separately

Kitchen wall lights are a great idea, adding a homey feel to the space. Wall lights are also a great way to highlight a bold paint colour or patterned wallpaper.

This particular wall light exudes vintage style with its textured glass shade and brushed metal details. It is also dimmable making it easy to adjust the intensity of the light according to the mood you are aiming for in the kitchen. 

Although it comes with a pull cord for operation, you should note that it can also be operated by an external switch if easier, although this will need to be purchased separately. 

3. Best Under Cabinet Lighting

is under kitchen cabinet lighting the best choice for your space?

(Image credit: Amazon UK)

WOBANE Under Cabinet Lighting Kit

Affordable and easy-to-fit

Light style: Flexible LED strip | Dimmable: No | Shade material: N/A | Switch type: Plug in | Colour: N/A

Easy and quick to fit
Low cost
Comes with spare adhesive pads
Can be used for a number of applications
Needs a socket nearby

This set of DIY cabinet strip lights is the perfect way to add accent lighting to your kitchen without spending a fortune or calling in an electrician.

The pack of four under-counter lights come in strips measuring 50cm and are designed to be stuck under units or base cupboards, beneath shelves or even on the inside of kitchen units to help you find everything you need. 

The lights emit a lovely warm white that offers a lovely glow as opposed to a cold, bright white glare and also come with spare sets of stickies in case you decide to relocate them at some stage in the future. 

They are plugged into a socket and feature a switch to operate, as opposed to being remote controlled, so you will need to bear in mind their proximity to a socket when planning where to stick them — the cable measures 1.5m. 

Finally, if you like the idea of them coming on automatically, invest in a timer plug. 

4. Best Kitchen Pendant Lighting

is this design the best kitchen pendant lighting?

(Image credit: John Lewis)

John Lewis & Partners Large Dome Pendant Ceiling Light

Beautiful, bold and on-trend brass pendant

Light style: Hanging pendant | Dimmable: Yes | Shade material: Metal | Switch style: Wall switch | Colour: Brass

Fashionable brass finish
Lightweight
Height adjustable
Bold, simple design
Will need regular dusting to maintain polished finish

The brass finish of this super stylish large, dome-shaped pendant is spot on to suit the current trend for warm metallic finishes in the kitchen right now. It would also be the perfect pairing with the deep blues, rich burgundies and forest greens currently enjoying popularity as kitchen unit shades. 

Adding a subtle industrial feel to the kitchen this pendant would look great hung low over a dining table or as part of an odd-numbered group of pendants over a kitchen island or breakfast bar. 

The chain cable is height adjustable meaning you can tweak it to fit your design. In addition, this pendant is dimmable — ideal in kitchen diners. 

5. Best Kitchen Island Lighting

is this pendant light the best kitchen island lighting?

(Image credit: Iconic Lights)

Steampunk Style Corinthia 3 Way Over Table Light in Aged Brass Finish

Industrial style kitchen island light

Light style: Ceiling light | Dimmable: No | Shade material: Metal | Switch style: Wall switch | Colour: Brushed metal

Looks pricier than it is
Suits contemporary and classic kitchens
Perfect for over breakfast bars, kitchen islands and dining tables
Metal can show up dust easily

A fantastic option for anyone after statement kitchen light to hang over a kitchen island — or rectangular dining table for that matter. 

The Steampunk Style Corintha light has been designed to lend an industrial feel to your space, with its aged brass finish and Steampunk influences. 

Bulbs are not included with this light, but a vintage squirrel cage bulb would look fantastic with this dimmable fitting. 

The light measures 99cm in width so would easily illuminate even very generous kitchen islands or peninsulas.

6. Best Kitchen Chandelier Lighting

kitchen chandelier

(Image credit: Wayfair UK)

Abelardo 12-Light Sputnik Chandelier

Eye-catching contemporary kitchen chandelier

Light style: Ceiling hung | Dimmable: Yes | Shade material: Metal | Switch style: Wall switch | Colour: Burnished gold

Perfect focal point
Easy to fit
Three different length downrods included
12 lights mean 12 bulbs that will need replacing over time

This contemporary kitchen light, the Abelardo 12-Light Sputnik Chandelier, is sure to become the main subject of any over-dinner conversations.

Made from metal with a burnished gold finish, the dimmable light hangs from a downrod as opposed to a chain or cord, adding to its striking appearance. Three different height downrods are included to suit a number of requirements. The unusual design, comprised of arms set at right angles to one another, only heightens the modern appeal of this light.

Note that the 12 light bulbs required for the chandelier will need to be purchased separately. 

8. Best Dining Table Lighting

adjustable dining table light

(Image credit: Amazon UK)

July HK Three-Light Pulley Pendant Light

Height adjustable — perfect for cosy dinners

Light style: Ceiling hung | Dimmable?: No | Shade material: Metal | Switch style: Wall switch | Colour: Black

Height can be adjusted according to situation
Industrial aesthetics
Striking focal point
Ideal for kitchen islands as well as dining tables
Can be a little tricky to install

With its industrial vintage design this three-light fitting comes complete with all the mounting hardware required to install it.  

Unlike the other lights featured, this one has a pulley system that allows you to adjust its height according to the situation, as and when the mood takes you — for example you might want it a little higher for family weeknight dinners and lower with a more intense, focused light for dinner parties. 

The black metal finish is ideal for most kitchen design schemes and the fact that the light is dimmable makes it suitable for all kinds of activities. 


Kitchen Downlight Layout: Getting it Right

When using a number of kitchen downlights it can be hard to know where to position them. 

Avoid a grid layout and make sure to position them only where light is required. Use directional downlights with a low glare and direct them so that light will fall over the front of your kitchen units. Doing this results in a gentle, flattering light that will also illuminate the interior of your kitchen units when they are open.

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. She has renovated a terrace and is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of her Edwardian cottage. She is now looking for her next project.