Spots, tracks, pendants, chandeliers, the choices in kitchen ceiling lighting ideas alone are vast. So how do you make the right choice for you and the way you use your kitchen?
“Look at your kitchen areas and think about the activities that will occur in each space,” says Marketa Rypacek, managing director of Industville. Some spaces, such as the food prep areas, the kitchen sink and above the stove, require task lighting, while others, such as the dining area, require mood and accent lighting.
“In terms of the size and arrangement of the lights, this completely depends on the size of your kitchen and the dimensions of the island, as well as the overall look you want to achieve.”
kitchen ceiling lighting ideas
Whatever the size or shape of your kitchen and the design styles it appeals to, there are a number of ways to ensure that kitchen lighting ideas work well and look good in your scheme.
1. Mix large pendants in Neapolitan colors
In a neutral kitchen, mix things up with three large pendants in different shades of ice cream. “Sets of odd-numbered pendants can make an eye-catching display,” says Marketa Rypacek, Industville’s Managing Director. (Opens in a new tab). “One of the most common mistakes in kitchen island lighting is that people get too small. Try playing with different heights, shapes, and shades for a unique look.
Alternatively, one large statement necklace can create a real talking point. However, consider the size of your table or island and the size of the room, in general, to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm the space or appear lopsided. This is especially important when looking at small kitchen lighting ideas.
2. Make the feature appropriate
Since Plumen launched its designer bulbs twelve years ago, it’s become fashionable to make the pendant feature fit itself and ditch the shade completely. Even with simple LED bulbs, this back-hanging style can be eye-catching, if you choose a bright color for the fixture. Definitely something to consider when thinking about how to plan kitchen lighting.
“Proper lighting on your kitchen island can really make a bold design statement, which sets the tone for the rest of the space,” says Jo Blunt, Pooky’s Head of Design. (Opens in a new tab). ‘Pendant lights are the best choice. In addition to providing a great source of practical downlight, they look simply stunning hanging above the kitchen island.’
“Proper installation will really light up the pendant lights beautifully too. Aim to hang your pendant lights about 30-36 inches from the top of the island, and about two feet away.”
3. Embed sound with lights
If you love the idea of a “smart home” and would rather not have bulky speakers or radios cluttering your surfaces, consider sound-guided ceiling lights.
“Unlike pendant lights, spotlights can also offer homeowners so much more than just lighting,” says Morten Warren, founder of Zuma. (Opens in a new tab). Distinguished clients demand more, they want smart solutions that work and fit beautifully into the home without all the clutter.
People are looking for experiences that continue to impress and take comfort to the next level. High-performance lighting with High-Resolution Audio combines two everyday essentials – light and sound – in one easy-to-use application or audio console. It is a game changer.
4. Combine bold pendants with subtle floodlights
“Strong lighting is required for preparation and cooking, but dim lighting provides a calm, relaxing atmosphere when dining and socializing,” says Graeme Smith, Head of Design at Life Kitchens. (Opens in a new tab).
So if you fancy an eye-catching style for mood-enhancing pendants, let your task lights blend into the background. “For ceiling lights, my advice is to be as discreet as possible, perfectly white frames and a simple grid pattern,” says Emma Cowburn, senior kitchen designer at Harvey Jones. (Opens in a new tab).
In terms of the type of necklace that really depends on the style of the room you want to achieve, my advice will always be – be bold! Let your pendants do the talking, your ceiling should be a simple, non-distracting backdrop. If you need inspiration for your lighting scheme, look at different kitchen lighting layouts as a starting point.
5. Different regions
Ceiling lights are another way you can define different spaces as part of your open kitchen ideas, where lights define one area and the other pendants. “Using zoning lighting in an open kitchen can add depth and interest, while creating an organized living space,” says Marketa Rypacek, Industville.
“In the kitchen, a well-placed pendant or decorative set of lights can turn heads to give each area a distinct purpose.”
“The row of three pendants is the most common,” adds Emma Cowburn, senior kitchen designer at Harvey Jones. “But keep in mind that two are better than three tightly fitting necklaces.”
6. Don’t forget to include the dimmer switch
“The number one consideration for lighting any space, regardless of size, scale, or budget is a dimmer switch,” says Marketa Rypacek, Industville. Make sure your lighting doesn’t fall under the kitchen design mistakes you want to avoid when planning your layout.
Dimmer switches are a quick and cost-effective way to deliver multiple levels of light in a space. They allow you to set the tone and instantly change the atmosphere of the room. For example, you may prefer low light to entertain guests at a dinner party, but you still need the full brightness option if you’re reading later.
To reap the benefits of dimmer, make sure your spotlights are on a different circuit than pendants or a chandelier. This way you can lighten or lower parts of the lights, not all at the same time.
Emma Cowburn, Harvey Jones adds, “You may make your electrical technician work more challenging, but the ability to control lighting helps you recreate your space for every occasion.”
7. Add a letter of a contrasting color
In my opinion, pendant lighting always looks good above the kitchen island. Not only does it add a decorative touch, but it also provides effective task lighting.
The island performs a range of roles in the kitchen. It’s where you cook, wash, and prepare food, but it can also be where you eat or socialize. So proper lighting is critical, and most importantly it must be able to adapt to all functions.
“Metal pendants have become a staple in most kitchens, but we’re seeing more fun designs come to the fore,” adds Peter Legg, Där Lighting. “The colorful designs will add a touch of warmth and personality.”
8. Casts an even glow
Cooking, chopping, cleaning and other kitchen chores require targeted task lighting in key work areas. ‘Aim to position your pendants so that the light is cast as evenly as possible throughout the space,’ says Joe Blunt at Pooky.
To complement the ambient lighting, you will need to illuminate the targeted tasks in the main cooking and preparation areas. So consider adjustable spotlights and recessed lighting, especially for kitchen lighting ideas.
If you have wall cabinets, include lower cabinet lights that are mounted above the sink and cooker, above tables, and any other areas where you prepare or serve food. This will provide efficient, focused lighting and help reduce any unwanted shadows, as well as contribute to the overall amount of light in the kitchen.
9. Hang pendants in a group
For a great focal point, hang pendants in a group, rather than a row. They are clever small kitchen lighting ideas that will not only flood your work surfaces with light at night but will look amazing in a small kitchen during the day too, when the lights are off.
“Odd numbers work especially well — for a touch of drama, try hanging the lights in a group, or placing them at different heights,” says Joe Blunt, Bucky.
Would you rather not scatter lights in your ceiling and unsure about another pendant when planning your kitchen lighting layout? Extractor lights are a good alternative. “You might not want to hang a pendant above your island unit, if you already have a display stand above your dining table, because that will create competition, says Charlie Smallbone, founder of Ledbury Studio. (Opens in a new tab).
Or maybe you just want a clear view through your kitchen? That’s when the hood’s strobe lighting comes on by itself, illuminating the stove and the surrounding kitchen worktop. Although this only works if the island is not very large, it is usually about two meters long.
Are kitchen ceiling lights necessary?
Yes, it is essential that you see what you do in the kitchen. With hot oil, boiling water, and sharp knives, it’s essential that your kitchen be well lit with good overhead lighting. Wall, cabinet, and shelf lamps are great for extra layers of important or moody lighting but ceiling lights will light up a larger area.
Where should the lights be placed on the kitchen ceiling?
It depends on the design of your kitchen but when considering how to plan the kitchen lighting, the preparation, cooking and eating areas should be adequately lit. According to kitchen expert, Charlie Smallbone, founder of Ledbury Studio, “Define the main work areas in your kitchen and make sure they are well lit. It’s best to space your downlights regularly to ensure the light is evenly distributed. Make sure your kitchen is perfect by planning how many lights I need while planning Planning your lighting.
Should the kitchen lights be warm or cold?
Rohan Blacker, founder of Pooky, advises that a cooler light temperature works well in the kitchen. Since most people are now choosing LED fixtures due to their longer life and energy efficiency, it is important to understand what type of bulb you need for a different type of fixture and fixture. Plus, match it with the ambiance you want to create in that space, says Rohan.
The Kelvin measurement on the bulb helps you understand the color of light it will produce. As a general rule, the higher the value the whiter the light, with lower values producing a warmer glow.
If you want to imitate daylight and prefer cooler tones, for example in the kitchen, look into incorporating lamps with a higher Kelvin value. Something between 4000-5000K works well in spaces that require this type of task lighting.