How to Light a Kitchen Correctly 20 Plus kitchen Lightening Tips

The kitchen, together with the dining room, always represents the heart of a house, so its lighting must be correctly thought out, leaving nothing to chance. The lighting in your kitchen, in addition to being technical, can also be decorative. Getting to use lamps as decorative objects to bring more personality to your home. There are many luminaries, so you can find the lamps that best suit your personality and that of your home.

Next, we will show you some tips and ideas to keep in mind to know how to light a kitchen , keep reading!

Things to consider when you light up your kitchen

Distribute the uses in the kitchen

The first thing you must take into account to know how to light a kitchen is to define the uses in it. That is, mark where exactly you will cook, where you are going to eat, if you have an island in the kitchen, etc.

It is recommended that in the kitchen there are two types of lighting : technical and decorative (or ambient). Whose objective is to enhance some areas of the kitchen.


Technical lighting

To give greater light support, we recommend lighting the countertop with led strips under the tall kitchen units. Thus ensuring linear lighting and avoiding shadows in the kitchen.


Decorative lighting

This type of lighting in kitchens is considered a reinforcement, more aesthetic than functional . For this reason, you can find a wide variety of elements to accompany technical lighting.

Decorative lighting is usually seen on islands and tables. Since they are also family meeting points.

Two lit

Has it ever happened to you to go to the kitchen in the middle of the night (to get a glass of water or milk), turn on the light and go “blind” momentarily? Yes, it has happened to all of us. For this reason, in this article on how to light a kitchen, we are going to give you a little advice to avoid it: Two switches. As we have mentioned before, in the kitchen there must be at least two types of lighting:

  • The decorative one:a lamp in the middle of the kitchen with aesthetic functions.
  • The functional:led profiles and downlights to illuminate the worktop and ceiling.


These two lights can be separated by two switches. In this way , you can choose which light to turn on when you wake up at night. By turning on only one light, you will achieve a dim lighting, thus avoiding the wonderful blindness.


Air extractor

Another little advice that we are going to give you is that, when purchasing the air extractor, it has a built-in light . We have commented on it previously and that is that, if there is only a central light in the kitchen, we will shade ourselves when cooking.

If the exhaust fan has a built-in light, you can bring out the cook inside you.

Goodbye to the old, hello to the new

The fluorescent lamps were a must in the old kitchens, since it was an easy and quick installation to do. After a while the recesses (also known as downlights ) arrived and replaced the fluorescent ones.

Built-ins are currently the most common option when lighting a kitchen. However, there are other alternatives that are the same (or more functional) and, above all, more aesthetic.

An example of the novelty in how to illuminate a kitchen would be led strips or linear luminaires . With them, you will get a unique and totally personalized kitchen differentiated from other kitchens with built-ins.

Savings above all

Led is synonymous with savings, so you can take advantage now that you are building or renovating your kitchen to move to the saving side of the led. Several studies ensure that the energy consumption of the LED can be up to 90% less than a halogen bulb.


Also taking into account that the life of the LED is much longer than that of the traditional bulb. This is the trick on how to light a kitchen that will save you a few euros at the end of the month.

Add more value

If you want to add more value to your kitchen, an ideal option would be to illuminate inside the cabinets and drawers . Some of our clients have opted for this magnificent option. Since when you open the cabinets or drawers, an automatic light turns on. Thus lighting this part of the kitchen.

The different way to light your kitchen

Are you in the dark when planning your kitchen lighting? We help you put a little light on the matter and get rid of doubts. Follow these tips and you will enjoy the right light for each area.


  • Define kitchen uses to play with lighting
  • General kitchen lighting
  • Spotlighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Lighting above the kitchen table
  • Lighting over the island

Are you worried about lighting? Are you going to reform or plan your kitchen ? We talk in this article about natural and artificial lighting. Because it is part of the kitchen decoration and of those aspects that make it more comfortable. It’s about always making the most of natural light but making good use of resources to illuminate with led strips, spotlights, ceiling lamps, etc. “Lighting plays a fundamental role when giving life to a kitchen . No matter its distribution, size, or design, the choice of each point of light can change the space completely. Not only in terms of aesthetics, but also in regarding its functionality .

Define Kitchen Uses to Play With Lighting

Think if you only cook, if you eat in it, if you spend time having a coffee and chatting, if the little ones draw while it cooks … These activities require different types of lighting, whether it is a small or large kitchen . There must be a general light, but also a specific one for each activity and you must avoid leaving dark areas.

The Lighting Possibilities of a Kitchen

“From a technical point of view, we recommend choosing a cold light for the kitchen work area, of about 3,700-4,000 ° K, in this way, we will illuminate work areas such as the hob, the hob, taps, etc. . , with cold temperature light and we will facilitate comfort when working. In addition, with a high CRI (CRI is the color rendering index that helps to perceive colors), above 98% as we usually do in Marina, It will allow us to obtain the most faithful representation of the color of each of the foods with which we work “, they detail from Marina Estudio.


These experts in kitchen design and planning also consider that the best option to configure a kitchen lighting project -whether it is a modern kitchen as traditional, contemporary or rustic- is to divide it into areas according to its functionality and play well. with different points of light. “We will dedicate the coldest light to the food preparation spaces, and we will bet on warm lighting for the areas where food is enjoyed” , they add .


“We also want to highlight an element that many people forget: the interior lighting in the furniture , both for the base units, such as breakfast cabinets or pantries. Lighting inside this furniture will not only stylize your visual image, but it will maximize its functionality in the day-to-day kitchen “, detail the experts consulted. You can incorporate strips that work with batteries and turn on when detecting -through a sensor- that the door opens or planning a system that is powered by current.

General Kitchen Lighting

It is essential to have a uniform and constant light, hence the best thing is to distribute recessed or downlights throughout the ceiling of the kitchen. When choosing them, keep in mind that they have a large focal aperture, at least 60º, since they give a greater expansion of light. It is recommended to install one for every square meter.

We have asked Marina Estudio about downlights and the differences with halogen bulbs and its manager Hugo Gainzarain has cleared us of doubts: ” downlights provide a very open angle of light. Halogens are more closed. When we talk about downlights, we have to plan their distribution well. An example of success is usually to align them and separate them from each other about a meter and a half apart, (always depending on their power of course). If it is a question of large areas, we can place them for example in parallel lines, always away from the walls for maximum use “.


The downlights have different sizes, with either a square or circular design. Halogens also have different measurements although they are usually smaller. Both are recessed in the ceiling.

Spot Lighting

It is very important that the area where you handle food has good spot lighting. The best? Place lights under the tall modules that are specific for that type of installation (led strips with specific protectors -both for installation in the corner between the tall module and the wall as well as for the base of the furniture that are directed directly towards the countertop and spotlights). You can also install adjustable spotlights on the wall if there are no tall units.

Ambient Lighting

With LED strips, for example, installed at the bottom of the cabinets, on the shelves of an open piece of furniture, inside a showcase … Remember that LEDs do not give off heat. You can also install spotlights on a piece of furniture or in the upper area in the pantry.

The perimeter pits are small ceiling plinths, also called footlights, which offer a very soft filtered light, ideal for indirectly illuminating the room and giving warmth to the environment. “Whenever possible, we like to use ambient lighting. Either for small decorative elements that we want to highlight, or for a special corner, or simply to enjoy a quick snack in the kitchen without having to fully illuminate it with stronger lighting and direct “, conclude the experts consulted.

Lighting Above the Kitchen Table

Here, depending on the design, you can create another environment with ceiling lamps that give warmth to the corner. But take care of the light that the table will receive . If you are lucky enough to have natural light during the day, perfect. But when night falls, make the space comfortable and different from the kitchen work area. As experts indicate, this color temperature is warm: 2,700-3,000 ° K. And always keep in mind that the height of the lamp does not dazzle the diners .

Ligting Over the Island

The island is an element in the kitchen that lends itself to preparing food, cooking or just being. It can be used as a breakfast bar. So depending on its use you can choose a light with a more or less warm color temperature . Hanging ceiling lamps decorate as well as illuminate and are a good option. The installation of a hood with spotlights and beautiful lamps is not at odds either if the dimensions of the island allow the creation of zones.

A Kitchen Committed to Saving

For lighting, bet on LEDs. By now you will know that its energy consumption is very low and its useful life is very long – up to 50,000 hours. In different types of bulbs and sockets you will find warm, neutral and cold light with this technology. And its ignition is instantaneous. In addition, the light produced by the LEDs does not emit ultraviolet or infrared rays, which helps to avoid health risks. In addition, the LED bulbs are recyclable and do not pollute the environment.

A Little Theory About Color Tempreture (° K)

It is expressed in degrees Kelvin (° K) and is what determines the type of color that the light from the light source will have. Up to 2,700 ° K it is considered a warm light, since it tends to yellow, while from 5,000 ° K it is a cold light, drifting towards blue. In general, to cook and handle food it is recommended to opt for a cooler light, while for ambient lighting or for the office area it is best to opt for warmer light.

How to Light the Kitchen Correctly

A space that used to be totally for service, today is increasingly transformed into a place for meeting, food, and experimentation. Before, the kitchens were only for cooking, but today we enjoy them as another atmosphere of home.

To cook your favorite brownie recipe, have a coffee with your friend or share a family dinner, kitchens, if you have enough space, are meeting spaces and also service spaces and therefore must be properly designed and lit.

The lighting in the service spaces is very important since it is a vital tool to be able to carry out the different activities necessary in the kitchen. It is a question of comfort, but also of safety because dangerous elements such as knives and fire are handled in this environment.

So that you finally decide to renew the lighting in your kitchen to make it more functional, today we bring you a complete guide on the different types of lights, the places to place them and some technological advances that you can integrate into your kitchen.

What types of lights do we have?

As we mentioned before, in addition to being functional, a light must create a cozy atmosphere so that you can enjoy the space not only when you cook.

Look at all the types of light that we can use in this environment and choose the most suitable for you.

Integrate natural light

A window is vital in the kitchen, not only for ventilation but for the entry of natural light. If your kitchen is oriented towards the sunrise, you can enjoy a morning full of energy and lighting.

Choose general light first

There are two types of lights that you should integrate into your kitchen: the general one and the work one. The general light must provide uniform lighting throughout the room, through luminaires distributed throughout the kitchen.

To achieve a fully illuminated kitchen, it is estimated that one spotlight must be placed for every square meter of space.

Define the work light

The work light is the most important in service spaces such as the kitchen, as it will allow you to wash, cook and prepare food and drinks safely. This type of light is focused towards the countertops, since they are the work surfaces.

You can place this lighting under the upper cabinets in your kitchen or, if you have a free wall, opt for an option like the one in the photo, with more design. You just have to keep in mind that the counter is well lit.

Bet on ambient light

Ambient and decorative lighting is intended to create a cozy and beautiful space, providing a little light. This type of lighting should not be considered as general or specific, since it is not correct to carry out certain activities.

In general, this type of light can be seen in breakfast bars and dining rooms, or in a decorative element within the space such as a neon sign, for example.

Use direct light in the work area

Complete and homogeneous lighting is necessary in food preparation spaces, so it is prudent to use direct light. This type of light is directed directly to a point, in this case the counter. Direct light can also be used within general lighting, to achieve a very bright environment.

Decorate with indirect light

On the contrary, indirect light is better used only in general lighting, or ambient lighting, since it is a more subdued and diffuse light beam. This light produces a homogeneous lighting with a very modern style .

Add details in warm light

The style of light that we choose will depend on the functions of each environment, warm light can be chosen for almost all rooms in the home, but in the kitchen it occupies a secondary place.

This type of light is best used in dining space or decorative details, since while it creates a cozy atmosphere, it is not the best for certain tasks, such as cooking.

Use cold light to work

On the other hand, cold light is the best type of light to work on the countertops since you can see all the colors clearly and it keeps us alert, protecting us from any accident.

Combine different solutions

The ideal light for your kitchen, especially if it is of a considerable size, will not come from a single device or type of light, but you must adapt the lighting to the needs of each area of ​​the space.

Where to put the light?

After seeing the different types of light that we can and should have in the kitchen, it is time to decide where we will place it, since there are many interesting options to choose from.


A modern look with recessed lights

This is a very easy way to achieve a uniform general light, it is also a type of lamp that fits any style of kitchen, but works best in modern spaces.

Add design with appliques

If you like the idea of ​​adding ceiling lighting, but don’t have a suspended ceiling to place your recessed lights on, opt for dainty fixtures or track lights.

Highlight your kitchen with a pendant lamp

To go one step further, add a design lamp to your kitchen that adapts to the style of your space and adds an original detail. These lamps are widely used on dining tables or islands, but you can also use them on the counter, as we will see later.

Bet on a work light under the cupboard

The easiest way to add a work light is to use the bottom of the cabinets to place a lamp that illuminates your entire countertop evenly.

Design and functionality with a pendant light above the countertop

On the other hand, if you don’t have overhead cabinets and you want to add a bit of style through lighting, add pendant lamps that point to your countertop as work lights.

Opt for wall sconces

A little-used option, but that can also be applied in your kitchen, are wall lights. Being rather small and with directed light, they work very well for countertop workspaces.

Achieve a unique look with skirting light

Add light and design with this idea, use the baseboards of the kitchen furniture to integrate ambient lighting and elevate the design of your kitchen .

Surprise with a table lamp

Even weirder is finding a table lamp in the kitchen, but it’s an idea you can consider if you need more lighting, but don’t want to deal with an electrical installation.

Take advantage of the hood by adding lighting

An element that is very necessary for the correct ventilation of our kitchen, but that can also add to the work lighting of the space. If you have to choose, always opt for a hood with light.

Decorate your furniture with lights in the interior

Ideal to find everything you are looking for or simply highlight your tableware as decoration. You can opt for lights that come on when you open the door or visible from the outside if your pantry doors are glass.

Find what you are looking for with illuminated drawers

You can also choose to install lights inside the drawers to see everything clearly and even find what you are looking for with the space lights off. This type of lights have a special system that they turn on and off when the drawer closes.

Integrate technology into your kitchen lights

In addition to the correct light and a touch of design in your lamps, you can add technology and different lighting control systems to make the kitchen even more functional.

Plan the placement of the light chips

In this example we show you something that you don’t have to do, don’t let any element get in the way of the light tokens. As we have already mentioned many times, lighting is very important in the kitchen and for it to turn on we must be able to access the chips easily.

It is best to place a tab for general lighting at the entrance to the kitchen, another on the inside, and then have the tabs for the other fixtures near each of them.


Adapt the lighting to your needs

A good way to ensure that you always have the light where you need it is to opt for a movable lamp that you can adjust. In the photo we see a lamp with a flexible arm that, when you do not need it, does not get in the way on the counter.

Use dimmable lights

Another way to adapt the lights to your needs is to place a dimmer or dimmer on them to be able to transform the environment with the amount of light it receives.

Bet on low consumption light bulbs

Good lighting is one that is functional, beautiful and does not spend too much, look for LED bulbs that have a longer useful life and use much less energy, something very important in a space where you will use lighting a lot.

Change the color of the lights

Create a fun kitchen with color-changing led lights. These are managed through a control and you can put the lights in your favorite color to give the kitchen personality.

Use smart bulbs with voice

Virtual assistants are becoming more common in our daily lives and they can also help us with the lights in our house. There are devices, like Amazon’s Alexa , that connect to smart bulbs and just with your voice, you can control all the lighting in the space.

A well-lit kitchen

In a function space, in which lighting plays a very important role, it is necessary to take the time to plan the light, both general and work, its temperature, the appliances and how it will be switched on.

The definition of light is determined by the functions of each area in the same environment and the needs of each one, so we must define them with certainty when choosing the lighting that best suits your kitchen.

We hope that with all these tips and ideas you can transform the lighting in your kitchen and make it available to you, both functionally and aesthetically.


Leave a Comment