Kitchen Design 7 : How to choose the right lighting fixture for your ideal kitchen?

The kitchen is the heart of a home. In order to accommodate the needs of cooking, working, socialising and entertaining, your kitchen needs to have good and adaptable lighting. This means that lighting is very important to your kitchen as the right lighting fixture can provide the right amount of light you need and highlight your kitchen design.

There are some key factors you need to consider when selecting lighting fixtures for your kitchen, such as functionality and location, styles, sizes, materials, bulbs, light colours and colour temperature. The shade style, size and materials you select will largely affect the light output.

Functionality & Location

The functionality of kitchen lighting includes ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. The types of kitchen lighting fixture are ceiling lights, under-shelf lights, strip lights, undercabinet lights, pendants, sconces, etc .

  • Ambient lighting is the main source of the light that provides the most amount of light in a kitchen, mostly coming from an overhead light or recessed lighting.

When laying out recessed lighting in a kitchen, you should focus on areas that aren't illuminated by other lighting fixtures like pendant or undercabinet lighting. If you have a gallery-style kitchen or walkways created by an island, single row of recessed downlights will be enough to complete your ambient lighting scheme.

You can also install adjustable track lights (Directional downlights) which are versatile. They are easy to install, customisable, energy efficient, and cost-effective. The adjustable, directional lamps and variety of lamp styles available make it ideal for illuminating work place and providing general ambience. Track lights can also be tilted to wash the upper kitchen cabinets, showing off their finishes and handles while also providing light into the cabinets when the doors are open.

  • Task lighting is made for specific activities like cooking, illuminating a specific area directly to enhance the activity with adequate amount of light.

Linear LED strips create an even glow of light.

Your kitchen worktop is usually your work space. Installing the light source above to illuminate the surface is the key. You can install undercabinet lighting to improve the functionality and environment of a kitchen.

  • Accent lighting is the decorative lighting that highlights an architectural feature or brings a certain mood to a kitchen.

The popular places for accent lighting include above an island, over the kitchen sink or over a table for an eat-in kitchen.


The style of lighting fixtures in a kitchen will depend on the style of the kitchen. If your kitchen is a contemporary style, you will go for a contemporary light, whereas if your kitchen is a traditional style, you will select a classical light.

Traditional Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen

You can mix different metals in your kitchen, but stick to the dominant one. That can help you decide which colour to go with for your light fixture. So, if you have matte black hardware in your kitchen, a satin brass sink tap, and satin brass curtain rods, and brass is the dominant metal in your home, you’ll be likely to choose brass pendants above your kitchen island.


The size of your lighting fixture should be big enough for you kitchen space that doesn't look proportionally small.

  • For smaller kitchens, you can select small fixtures.

  • For larger kitchens, you can consider to install a larger statement piece along with smaller fixtures like recessed or cove lighting to help brighten the kitchen.


The common shade materials include clear glass, opal glass, metal and linen.

  • Clear glass shade with a LED light bulb will illuminate your entire kitchen with bright ambient.

  • Opal glass shade is a type of semi-translucent glass that diffuses the light.

  • Metal shade focuses on the light downward, making it an ideal option for tasking lighting.

  • Linen shade brings softness and warmth to a kitchen.


  • Standard soft white incandescent or LED light bulbs provide warm, natural lighting, making warm colours such as red, orange and yellow appear more intense and cold colours such as green, blue and purple appear duller.

  • Vintage Edison Bulbs add warmth by yellow. They are best used in a room that doesn't get much natural light and are also applied to complement warm paint colours.

  • Fluorescent bulbs give off a blueish, cooler light. They pair well with cooler paints and are best used in workplaces or kitchens.

Light Colour

Three elements of light colours are brightness, saturation and hue.

  • Brightness is the amount of light given off by a light source, usually expressed in lumens or lux.

1) 100-200 lux highlight some perception of detail.

2) 300-700 lux are used well in kitchens or offices.

3) 1000-2000 lux are difficult to finish visual tasks.

  • Saturation is the intensity of a colour. More saturated hues can have amplifying effects on emotions, whereas muted colours can dampen emotions.

  • Hue is a colour or shade. It's have been proved that natural light can make you happier, but colours created by artificial light can also evoke different emotions and have other effects on the body.

Colour Temperature

The temperature of light colour can influence our perception of texture. The measuring unit of colour temperature is Kelvin (K).

  • Lower kelvin numbers mean warm colour temperature closer to candle, highlighting texture, such as brick.

2700K: ambient, cosy for social spaces like living room

3000K: friendly, inviting for social spaces like living room and dining room.

3500K: friendly, inviting for kitchens.

  • Higher kelvin numbers mean cooler and indicative of a light that closes to bright daylight, washing out texture.

4000K: crisp, clean for garage

5000K: vibrant, direct sunlight for commercial and industrial interiors.


To make your kitchen functional and appealing, select the right lighting fixture to suit your needs:

  • Pick lighting fixtures that match your kitchen style.

  • Consider the functionality of lighting fixtures and install them in the right place of your kitchen to meet all your needs.

  • Think about the proportion when selecting lighting fixtures.

  • Understand different shade materials will have an impact on final look and feel.

  • Don't forget about bulbs.

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