Inspirational Kitchen Lighting Ideas To Brighten Your Kitchen
Of all the rooms in the home, the kitchen has the longest list of tasks, from a busy breakfast before work to wind down dining at the end of a long day. So the best kitchen lighting ideas need to take you from bright and functional to atmospheric and cosy. Both master bakers and salad only chefs need task lighting for breakfast and cleaning with fresh ceiling kitchen lighting, but to be able to tone down the brightness through the addition of subtle wall lights; the perfect mix of form and function.
Before you start shopping for the perfect kitchen lighting, know what you’re working against.
Unless you employed or inherited the work of a world-class architect, your kitchen is likely to have some of its own particular quirks. That could be lacking daylight or space or so much of both it’s hard to create atmosphere.
For a universally dark kitchen, there are a myriad of tricks you can employ to brighten it, from choosing reflective countertops to adding mirrored surfaces to double the perceived electric and sunlight.
Choosing window coverings with light-enhancing qualities such as white wooden Venetian blinds will bounce light around the room whilst partly obscuring any less pleasing views or harsh midday sun. These blinds also work with either a more traditional kitchen in soft creams, or with wooden tones to produce a rustic or modern Scandinavian look. (Wonderfully versatile if you are prone to frequent interiors updates). Gloomy corners can become favoured corners with carefully chosen, one-off pieces that add character whilst performing a function. A classic torchiere floor lamp will bounce gentle light upwards to reflect back softly from the ceiling, or a standalone rattan floor lamp will cast looped patterns of light across walls and flooring. Just one of these pieces will give a focus to a small space or much needed interest to a larger, blander space.
Semi flush mount lighting is ideal for low ceilinged rooms as they offer the focus and detailing of a pendant light but don’t drop as far into the room. You might even consider a semi flush crystal chandelier, which will cast light in every direction and bounce off surfaces. A kitchen floor lamp is good in a small space if shelf space is at a premium, but you need to boost the current fitted kitchen lighting. It can also stand near window or corners too slight for furniture or permanent pieces, and gets away from the standard kitchen lighting ideas that often just feel very functional.
For those that lack square metres, diminutive doesn’t have to mean dull – in fact, decorating small busy kitchens can present an interesting challenge to accentuate the space you do have. Start with flush mount kitchen lighting: perhaps a chrome wall sconce that will take up minimal room, utilise dead wall space and ensure guests won’t bang their heads on hanging fittings as they wander in proffering a bottle of wine. The best small kitchen lighting highlights areas of interest with cleverly directed pools of light – you might find a beautiful brass wall sconce to light up a gorgeous bookshelf filled with pretty cookery books, or string up bare bulbs to create unique kitchen wall lights. Alternatively, large spaces with full-size windows need seriously considered management of daylight as it drifts across them during the day. Think about a series of coverings that can be managed independently, say a series of roller blinds, or vertical blinds.
Wall and floor surfaces also need to be part of the scheme; matte or satin paint will give a more diffused sensation of the light reflected back. Gloss is the most reflective but will do it in small concentrated areas that can create glare. However it’s suitably hard-wearing and wipe clean for high traffic areas like bustling kitchens.
Country Style Kitchen
Natural grain and irregular patterns in materials like wood and limestone can create an earthy, homely feel, even in the busiest room of the house. As well as providing a sense of warmth, country kitchen cabinets in rustic, distressed woods paired with an outsized traditional farmhouse sink are hardy and practical for keen cooks or a home that needs a rugged backdrop.
To avoid this look becoming predictable try country kitchen lighting that adds some modern contrast. Glass pendant lights hanging above the island counter top, or a wrought iron chandelier casting a warm glow over the kitchen dining area, will draw the eye to your focal point of choice. Farmhouse kitchen lighting should deliver warmth, even if you have used a bold modern colour for your hand-painted cupboards such as navy: adding in bronze pendant lamps or several small country style chandeliers will achieve this and give the room an almost Georgian grandeur. Keep things even more cosy with copper or mustard-hued blinds that tie in with the materials used in the lighting and warm up the daylight diffused through them.
Industrial Style Kitchen
Concrete worktops, stainless steel appliances and long lines are the hallmarks of the industrial-style kitchens remaining a perennial décor favourite. Minimal clutter and wipe-clean surfaces mean they’re easy to keep tidy, if you’re happy to stay ordered and disciplined.
Palettes tend to be limited, such as white, grey or black working with materials such as metal, grained wood and patina vintage elements. A light fitting can create unique kitchen lighting, like a reclaimed oversized red factory light. Alternatively burnished desk lamps, brass lamp shades, a bronze ceiling light or industrial pendant lights create pools of warmth on otherwise cold, clinical surfaces. Try mixing raw industrial touches with soft brass for glamour or perhaps some rustic pendant lighting – to throw an unexpected touch into this look.
Bohemian Kitchen Style
A bohemian kitchen shouldn’t play by strictly tasteful rules. This look invites experimentation with colour, eclectic patterns and unexpected textures. Think about pendulum lighting to add some variation in height and cast interesting shadows. Try coloured glass pendant kitchen lights in a variety of shapes or tones, or a similar grouping of lampshades in different fabrics. Rattan pendant lights bring in some louche Ibizan island style, a more minimalist take than a riot of pure jewel hues. Hang them over the kitchen island or table to create an inviting glow across the hub of the home, where friends and family will be enticed to gather. All of these kitchen lighting solutions look great paired with distressed kitchen cabinets for a worn, gently lived-in feel. These warm textures and shapes will seem intensely inviting as you light kitchen candles in brass candlestick, another naturally boho material, and bask in controlled, colourful comfort.
Traditional Kitchen Style
Traditional kitchens in the British home tend to invoke images of wooden cabinetry or cream shaker style panelled detailing. These creamy and neutral colour palettes are given a more luxurious feel with modern crystal chandeliers and subtle under kitchen cabinet lights, or daylight with window treatments in luxurious fabrics and forms, like a textured sheer in Silhouette blinds. Plainer shaped kitchen chandeliers in wrought iron painted metal, or an antique drum chandelier spotted at a vintage fair (perhaps upcycled in a stand-out pattern) can add a much-needed element of quirk in a home that can feel too ‘one note’. A rustic wood chandelier can add a fresh alpine feel, paired with dark painted faux shutters or a fabric blind in an easy to maintain finish that resists moisture, for a busy and practical kitchen.
A Bright Contemporary Kitchen
The best contemporary kitchen lighting ideas create a natural and uplifting feel, shedding light on slick features and accessories in bold pops of colour. Two or even three oversize pendant lights over kitchen islands or the breakfast bar will stop this look from becoming too much like the standard fare that developers create. Although there is a place for ceiling spot or LED recessed ceiling lights, hard edges and shiny finishes must be treated carefully to avoid an almost surgical feel. Bronze ceiling lights can add some warmth not only in the tone of the metal, but also in the light that is created by the rose softness reflected into the space around it.
When considering the best lighting in kitchens allow for enough light to help you to cook even when your main task lighting is dimmed, and if any of those fixings will be at or above eye level, then you will need to ensure that they aren’t too bright or create glare. Bulbs that are silvered on the underside will bounce light back up into the shade, but diffuse the effect.
If light flows through your kitchen during the day providing all you need to work, perhaps at times too strongly, then you may need to make this central to your lighting plan. Twist blinds give you ultimate filtering opportunities without obscuring your view or losing light. If you find that in the winter months you need more help, adjustable downlighters in the same tone as your ceiling can be moved and manipulated to make up for the long low winter daylight that ends too soon. Fabrics in the Pirouette range make the most of any available daylight and delay the use of electric light. A small way to stretch the day.
So now you’ve perfected an elegant, atmospheric kitchen, time to cook in it. That part, you’ll need to work out on your own.
Like our kitchen lighting tips? See our Bedroom lighting ideas for making an illuminating feature.