The Different Types of Kitchen Lighting: A Guide for Homeowners


Indoor lighting has come a long way since the invention of artificial electrical light in 1802. So much so, that if you’re designing a kitchen, you have four main types of lighting to choose from.

They’re broadly divided into two categories: general and task. General lighting is used to light the whole room, while task lighting helps us see something specific.

Read on to learn about these four types of kitchen lighting for your next design.

  1. Surface Lighting

These lights are fixed to the ceiling or walls and come in different forms. Some are single-bulb fixtures while others can hold several bulbs.

Single bulbs are great for lighting specific areas in the kitchen. Larger fixtures are better for lighting the whole space. They often take the form of bars with bulbs at regular intervals.

On the upside, they’re easy to clean and you can use as many as you want to light the kitchen. As a downside, they can look awkward and visually break up the space of the ceiling.

That said, you can always fix that issue by mounting them on the wall and turning them into a design feature. Create a kitchen lighting plan to really wow visitors with your lighting.

  1. Recessed Lighting

These lights are supposed to solve the issue of ‘visible lighting’ that you get with surface lights. They’re set into the ceiling so they need less cleaning. These lights are perfect for spaces with minimalistic design schemes.

On the downside, you do need to be sure there’s enough space for the housing. It sits above the ceiling so you may be limited in where you can install these lights.

You’ll need several recessed lights to illuminate the whole kitchen.

  1. Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights offer many kitchen lighting options. When installed in the right place, you can use them as task lights. Yet they also act as general lighting.

For example, you might add an island to your kitchen design. Suspending pendant lights above it will illuminate both the island and the surrounding area.

If you’re looking for kitchen lighting ideas, pendants offer the most flexibility. Use single pendants over work surfaces, and a cluster of pendants for general lighting.

They come in all shapes and sizes so you’ll find a type to suit your kitchen decor.

Their own downside is the fact they hang down. That limits where you hang them unless you have very high ceilings. They also collect dust so they need cleaning.

  1. Cabinet-Mounted Lighting

This final type of lighting falls under the heading of ‘task’ lighting. They’re a form of surface light, in that they’re attached to cabinets and other kitchen furniture.

Unlike wall or ceiling-mounted lighting, they only light the area directly below them. This makes them a great way to light up countertops and work surfaces. You can also use them to bring extra light to dark corners away from windows or other light sources.

Which Types of Kitchen Lighting Will You Choose?

These are the four main types of kitchen lighting. Within each group, you’ll find plenty of different designs to suit any decor.

Choose materials and styles that match the amount of cleaning you want to do. Remember to bear in mind the bulbs that are available for each lighting type. Then have fun with your lighting design.

Keen to spruce up your house this summer? Check out our home improvement articles for more ideas.

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