5 Tips For Great Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting should be a primary part of your home interior design. More so than other rooms, lighting in kitchens needs to play a multifaceted role as, these days, kitchens are used as much for entertaining as for preparing meals.
Kitchen lighting must be both functional and enhance your design aesthetic. Our interior designers recommend 3 types of lighting in every kitchen: task lighting, mood lighting and feature lighting.
Senior FCI interior designer, Ben Ibanez, shares his best tips for optimal kitchen lighting.
1. How many lights should be in a kitchen for the best interior design
The exact number of lights in a kitchen is a personal choice, but the key thing to remember is the rule of three.
Divide your lighting into the 3 different types that you’ll need. And, if you’re not sure how many lights to hang over the kitchen table, 3 is always a good number to go with as odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye.
Ben explains the differences between the 3 different types of kitchen lighting.
“Task lights focus on preparation areas such as countertops, tables, cookers and the sink. They are the brightest lights in the kitchen and their primary function is to provide complete visibility.”
Ben goes on to explain that mood lighting is soft and usually lined around the edges of the kitchen. It is used to create ambience, especially when you’re entertaining.
Feature lighting can perform a number of different functions. “You can have the light fitting itself be the feature, such as a chandelier,” says Ben, “or it can be specific lights that highlight an area or appliance. Inside cabinet lights also fall under feature lighting – they are great to have, but not essential.”
2. What are some of the best light fixtures for a kitchen
Ben is a big fan of LED strip lights for modern kitchen designs. “LED strips can do so much in the kitchen, from illuminating shelves with feature items to creating ambience through the use of dimmers,” he says.
“You should ensure that your LED strips are properly set into recesses either within your cabinets or between shelves,” he continues. “They should basically be invisible to the eye. Also, make sure you angle them correctly for the best lighting effect. We generally recommend an angle of 45 degrees back towards the wall.”
If you have a neutral kitchen design, adding a single designer light above a kitchen island can be all you need to finish off the look.
“One solo light fitting can have such great impact,” says Ben. “You can highlight a feature piece, add elegance and modernity to your space and provide functional lighting, all with one pendant lamp.”
Finally, Ben also recommends wall lights as people are frequently choosing open shelving over fitted cabinets.
“Stylish wall lights can be used effectively instead of downlights in the ceiling,” he says. “Not only do they fill space as a feature on empty walls, but they are also great as task lighting.”
This guide to overhead lighting in kitchens will give you additional inspiration.
3. How to choose the right light bulb for your kitchen
Ben explains the different bulbs and where they will best work within your kitchen.
“Cooler lightbulbs have better visibility, so you’ll want to choose these for task lighting. Choose from Daylight bulbs which have a white, almost blue light and Cool White bulbs which have a crisp white light. Both should be used sparingly wherever you do meal prep, else you risk your kitchen looking cold and stark.”
On the other end of the spectrum, warm lightbulbs will provide less visibility but are better for setting the mood.
“Soft White and Warm White bulbs are your go-to options for mood and feature lighting,” says Ben. “They both emit a yellowish light, with Warm White being the closest thing to a candle flame. It’s always best to have dimmers with these lights so you can fully control the atmosphere.”
4. Tips on installing kitchen lights
While you can install kitchen lights yourself, we always recommend bringing in a professional. For any recessive lights – lights that are built into a wall or ceiling – you’ll not only need to drill holes, but also connect the lights to your electrical wiring. And it’s never a good idea to tamper with that unless you’re a qualified electrician!
At FCI, we’ve been designing interiors and installing lighting since 1985. Our expert teams know everything there is to know about the perfect positioning and optimising of lights. We’ll gladly help you get it right the first time.
5. Ideas for decorating with lighting in your kitchen
Ben has been involved in many projects over the years and has seen many variations of kitchen lighting. There are the best lighting ideas he has come across.
Mix & match: Mix up the lighting fixtures, but keep the overall look cohesive. For example, you can add a range of pendant lights, wall lights and chevaliers in combination, but in order to keep the look from being chaotic, ensure you stick to a core colour scheme or a specific design.
Group small lights together for dramatic impact: If you’re not a fan of bold statement lighting, add multiple dainty lights in sequence. Five slim pendant lights hung side by side can have as much impact as one opulent chandelier.
Use layered lighting for high ceilings: If you’re working in a kitchen with a high ceiling, your downlights will have less impact as they’re fitted so high up. If you layer the downlights with hanging pendant lamps and wall lights, you’ll create more illumination and add a focal point for the eye.
For more kitchen decor ideas, take a look at the kitchen colour schemes that we recommend.
Kitchen lighting should never be underestimated – and luckily, we’re on hand with advice and specific light recommendations. Get in touch
and chat with our design team about all your kitchen lighting requirements.