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How To: Light your Kitchen

Breaking down best practices for illuminating your kitchen and the 4 main types of lighting used in interior design.

We spend a tremendous amount of time in our kitchens. In most homes, it is the hub, where we relax, enjoy a drink, prepare meals, or just spend time. Lighting plays a huge factor in how we interact and interpret spaces.

Here are some tips on how to attain the best lighting in your kitchen.

Light Placement

Ensure that your lighting sources are directed towards your major work areas, for example, suspended lighting above your island, an illuminated hood, and in-pantry lighting.

Now, you may be asking yourself what the difference is between the 4 major lighting types listed above. Understanding what each type of lighting is will help you to better define your needs in your own kitchen.

Multiple Light Sources

There are 4 major lighting types to focus on in your kitchen: ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting. Adding in additional light sources helps meet these needs while creating an inviting and comfortable environment.

‘Always opt for more light sources rather than brighter ones, and set decorative and mood lighting on dimmers, so they can be adjusted with ease,’ - Giovanni Corrado of Baroncelli

Ground your Island

When designing your kitchen, I always recommend installing lighting in the center of your island. Installing multiple pendant fixtures or one large-scale fixture helps to ground your island in the room and in turn often creates a focal point in your space.

Undercabinet Lighting

This small detail is extremely impactful in any kitchen, large or small. Not only are they useful in illuminating work surfaces--they also provide a subtle ambiance to your space.




Mixing lighting is key--creating visual interest through mixing functionality and design. If you choose to only use recessed cans your space may feel cold and boring. Integrating in some suspension lighting helps ensure some warmth in the kitchen and creates more of the moodiness you may wish for your space to possess.


Task lighting is more straightforward, this refers mainly to the lighting in the cooking, cleaning, and food prep areas of your space. Illuminating these spaces properly cuts down eye strain and allows you to work around your kitchen efficiently and safely.


The purpose of accent lighting is to draw attention to certain objects or valuables, such as art or other prized possessions you hope to highlight. Accent lighting can also be used to highlight a design feature such as solid wood, or to add depth and dimension to a space.


Choosing the right decorative lighting is extremely important when trying to establish the identity of a space. The goal is to select a light that compliments your space and does not dominate it.

Rule of thumb: Use an odd number of pendant lights. When installing, I suggest leaving between 30" to 36" above the counter--this is the distance between the top of the counter and the base of the light.

The task of lighting can be a daunting one, I hope that this week's post helps clear up any confusion and helps you to plan out how to light your space like a pro.

Make sure to leave a comment down below if you have any questions or comments. What would you like to read about next?

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