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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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