Kitchen lighting ideas
kitchen lighting ideas - uplight a splashback

Inspiring kitchen lighting ideas

Create the right ambience without neglecting that all-important task lighting

By Paula Woods |

Spotlights, pendants and strip lights all have a role to play in the contemporary kitchen. A place for socialising as much as cooking, it’s almost as important to create the right atmosphere as it is to highlight functional areas. These kitchen lighting ideas will help you get the levels right.

Make a plan

Have a detailed lighting plan drawn up. An electrician can then use it to plot cable routes and ensure there is an adequate power supply for all fittings. When planning for multiple spot or task lights, regular spacing will ensure an even spread of light. These Whitby LED spot and shade lights have a swivel base and knuckle joint. Available with remote driver or integral dimmable driver from Davey Lighting.

kitchen spotlight wall lights

Whitby LED spot and shade lights from Davey Lighting

Layered lighting

As with any room, an effective kitchen lighting scheme requires layers of light from different sources working together – task lighting for specific functions, ambient background lighting, and accent lighting to highlight features. Each should be controlled independently for added flexibility. And don’t forget to add dimmers.

kitchen lighting ideas - feature light above a dining table, pendant light above a kitchen island and skylights above the sink

Bocci 73.7v Semi Rigid blown-glass light, from Future Light Design; Soprano concrete pendant in two sizes, from Pooky; Hexagonal Split tiles, from Bert & May

Kitchen island highlights

When fitted with a dimmer, pendants placed over an island or peninsula can double up as effective task and mood lighting. Alternatively, opt for a customisable track system that allows for a flexible mix of decorative pendants and adjustable work lights. This Deltratrack matt black aluminium track system has LED adjustable spotlights and comes in a variety of lengths with a range of pendant fittings.

kitchen lighting ideas - pendants above an island

Deltratrack matt black aluminium track system

Integrated solution

Discreet under-cupboard lighting ensures bright, focused lighting around worktops and sinks. For an alternative to the usual mini-spots and strips, this GoodHome Caraway mains-powered LED wall cabinet light with motion sensor replaces the base of a wall cabinet to offer illumination both inside and out. Available from B&Q.

integrated kitchen lighting

GoodHome Caraway mains-powered LED wall cabinet light with motion sensor from B&Q

Cabinet lighting

Low voltage, energy-efficient LED strips are a safe and easy way to shed light on cabinet interiors or highlight open-shelving. When used for display, specify LEDs that emit a warm rather than bright white light for an inviting ambience – a light’s colour temperature is measured in kelvins (k) and around 2,700k should be ideal.

kitchen cabinet lighting

Cambridge Driftwood Blue True Handleless kitchen with Sensio Glow correlated colour temperature LED shelf lights, from Benchmarx Kitchens

Lights over a dining table

Pendant lights should be hung at least 90cm above a dining table, and for comfort fitted with bulbs that do not dazzle. The brightness of energy-efficient LEDs is measured in lumens (lm) – the higher the number the brighter the light (800lm is equivalent to a standard 60w bulb). The below Bellport caned rattan and brass pendant from Jonathan Adler has a maximum drop of 1,470mm.

pendant light over a dining table

Bellport caned rattan and brass pendant (maximum drop 1470mm) with Trocadero table and Rondo boucle chair, all from Jonathan Adler

Feature lighting

Make the most of a high or vaulted roofline using pendants that draw the eye. Positioned over an island or table they can help zone larger areas and create a real sense of purpose. Ask an electrician to rewire fittings with extended cabling. These Saint Omer steel pendants with brass chain are from The French House.

kitchen pendants suspended from vaulted ceiling

Saint Omer steel pendants with brass chain from The French House; Ca’ Pietra Calcot limestone tiles from Hyperion Tiles


For a contemporary twist on strip lighting under cabinetry, try up-lighting instead. Draw attention to a statement splashback with upward facing lights or use the feature to zone certain spaces, such as a drinks station.

kitchen lighting ideas - uplight a splashback

Contour Spectrum kitchen units in bottle green from Wren Kitchens