Best Kitchen Lighting in 2021: Buying Guide & Reviews

Are you planning a new kitchen and need some help to choose the right lighting for you and your project? Maybe you are simply looking for some expert advice to help you upgrade your kitchen lighting?

We understand that the kitchen is probably the most used room in the house that demands a lighting solution that is flexible to suit all occasions. Bright general lighting for the daytime as well as at night, great task lighting to successfully use the kitchen counter tops for working on as well as transforming this hub of the home into an intimate setting with atmospheric mood lighting. This is our kitchen lighting buying guide to help you successfully achieve this.

Kitchen Lighting Buying Guide

How to Light a Kitchen gives you everything you need to know to get you started in making your own kitchen lighting design choices. A beginners guide to choosing where to place kitchen lighting and the types of light needed.

Kitchen Lighting Basics

The lighting created from the choice of lighting fixtures as well as what they can actually look like can wonderfully enhance the design and use of this important space or impede the solution. It’s important to get right so consider these details:

Fundamentally, understanding the type of lighting you need to create as well as the style and practicalities of some of the fixtures, is a key to successful kitchen lighting.

Selecting the fixtures

This buying guide for kitchen lighting addresses the key factors that must be considered when choosing the right fixture for the type of lighting you need to create.

Kitchen Lighting Style & Aesthetics

The design, material finish and colour of the lighting fixtures that are seen,  create an opportunity to enhance the style of the kitchen. Feature lighting like pendants can become the focal point of the kitchen so they have a key role to play. You decide on how bold a statement you want to make for each choice: 

Kitchen Lighting Sizing, Quantities and Placement

The size and shape of the kitchen interior will influence the quantities and sizing of your choices. 

A smaller kitchen will need to create the illusion of space with cooler colours and fixture choices that disappear rather than grab your eye. Here the lighting is used to push back the walls and ceilings and is best reflected off of cupboard doors from recessed ceiling lights and lighting the ceiling from hidden fixtures on top of wall cupboards. 

A medium to large sized kitchen benefits from a focal point feature light, usually a island pendant light where it’s size is proportionate to the island or table it is placed over. The quantities of light fixtures to use should be dictated by where the light is needed. Do not simply light the floor because there is a space in the ceiling for a fixture unless it is for an area that would be too dark without it and there is no other way to create light.

Kitchen Lighting Practicalities

Consider whether you can get power to where you need a light fixture. It sounds obvious but it can be a problem that should be addressed before you choose. Solid ceilings or walls will need surface mounted or semi flush mounted lighting fixtures.

LED lighting will often have separate power supplies to the light fixture. This creates an opportunity to run a group of LED lights from one power supply and hide it remotely. Constant current LED lighting groupings are usually wired in series.

Highly reflective counter tops and floor tiles will reflect the bright sources of light above them.

How to Choose Kitchen General Ambient Lighting

Ambient or general lighting is the entire illumination of the kitchen created by all the individual lighting choices and added to with a specific choice if it is required. A kitchen’s brightest lighting needs are in the day and night. Daylight may need supplementing with ambient lighting to enhance the natural light especially in north facing kitchens, deep parts of the kitchen or spaces with small windows.

Buying Guide to Ambient Lighting

choices will be added here:

How to Choose Kitchen Task Lighting

Good task lighting over the areas of activity such as food preparation, cooking,  washing up, making a hot drink reading the paper, opening the mail, – anything where you need a reasonably bright and shadow free light to perform the job well.

Buying Guide to Task Lighting

choices will be added here:

How to Choose Kitchen Mood Lighting

The kitchen can be transformed into a cosier space by dimming circuits or turning off the ones that are too bright and focus in on features with the accent lighting choices. Coloured lighting from IP addressed fixtures instantly create a variety of moods but be restrained with the use of colour and allow the natural colour of light strike a balance unless  you want to create a nightclub!

Lighting a counter top with a task light together with an accent light in shelving or from lights in the toe kick/plinth lighting, will create an everyday useable relaxed atmosphere calm enough to prepare you for sleep but bright enough to make that last hot drink.

A moodier intimate atmosphere will rely upon a dimmed accent light, such as wall lighting and if eating a relaxed meal use a low output source such a candle or dimmed table light near the diners.

Buying Guide to Accent Lighting

Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.