Interior Design

5 lighting options for your kitchen


Perfect lighting is a miraculous concept: when done correctly, it has the potential to make any room look immediately more open and fresh. But in rooms intended for work and concentration, good lighting becomes more than an aesthetic choice, as it is essential for practical reasons too. In the kitchen, you should be looking to achieve a nice balance between these two aspects of lighting for the best results, creating a room that is both beautifully and intelligently lit.

Unfortunately, so many kitchens are inadequately served by a single overhead light and nothing more, which makes it not only harder to cook efficiently but also to enjoy your time spent with friends and family. Done correctly, perfect lighting has the power to transform your kitchen into a more enjoyable and efficient space on the whole. The following lighting options will help you to illuminate your kitchen in all its glory, accentuate its best features, increase your productivity, and enjoy cooking a lot more. So read ahead for some kitchen inspiration – who knows, maybe you’ll have a glorious light bulb moment!

Under-cabinet lighting

You know all those tricky dark spots all along your countertops? Do they inhibit your ability to work effectively and chop onions without slicing off a couple of fingers? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you should consider adding under-cabinet lighting to your kitchen workspace. In much the same way as recessed lighting, installing light fixtures under cabinets helps you to see and work within a localised part of your kitchen, all while giving your kitchen a smooth-surfaced sheen. Additionally, this type of lighting can foster a sense of ambience in your kitchen when used during those darker hours. Those times when harsh overhead lighting is just too much to handle, such as fetching a middle-of-the-night snack…

Under cabinet lighting can either take the form of individual pucks (creating pools of light in specific spots along your worktop) or linear strips (evenly lighting the entire length of your worktop). But whichever style of under-cabinet lighting you choose, just remember that their beauty is in their simplicity and subtlety. Make sure that any external wiring is completely hidden from view and, if possible, try to hide the fixture from view altogether.

Natural light

A room lit up solely by artificial lighting can look somewhat clinical and claustrophobic, so we’d recommend making as much use out of natural light as you can. It’s not only an effective means of brightening up your kitchen during the day, it also saves you money on energy bills and connects your interior with the outside world. The most obvious way of achieving such lighting (albeit the most pricey) is to install skylights or atrium windows in locations that will capture the most sun. If these kinds of changes are within your budget, it might be worth meeting with a designer or roofer to figure out how best to make the most of natural light.

While it might be harder to introduce reams of natural light into your kitchen without planning some major architectural updates, there are some tricks that will help you make the most of the natural light that your kitchen already has. Consider the following ‘light hacks’:

  • Replace any dark window coverings (curtains and blinds) with lighter ones (or remove them altogether) and clear any obstructions from windowsills.
  • Kit out your kitchen with reflective surfaces such as glass cabinets, glossy countertops, mirrored walls, polished floors, and even lighter paint colours.
  • Cut down any shrubbery and move any garden features that might be obstructing the natural light immediately outside your kitchen.
  • Keep windows and patio doors clean.

Recessed lights

Those who favour modern designs might want to consider installing some sleek recessed downlights into the kitchen ceiling. Recessed lighting is capable of giving your kitchen a heavenly glow without adding the excess baggage of a light fixture. This makes it a perfect choice for all those minimalists out there, with the lighting becoming a part of the room rather than a feature extraneous to it.

Recessed lights may be harder to install than other light fixtures, but you do benefit from free reign over their exact positioning in your kitchen. If there is a certain part of the room that is darker than another, a simple downlight can make a world of difference. And as well as using them to highlight a specific feature of your kitchen, recessed lights can also double up as great task lighting, making the operation of a particular workspace (i.e. the sink) more efficient. Just remember this rule of thumb when planning where to install multiple downlights: the distance between two fixtures should be half of the distance between the floor and the ceiling.

Pendant lights

The design of a kitchen island or table and the lighting above it share a dynamic that shouldn’t be ignored, with the colours and shapes of the surface being emphasised in different ways depending on the quality and position of the lighting. As such, pendant lighting offers a great opportunity to complement such surfaces (or perhaps other pieces of furniture) with a quirky floating design statement.

For instance, a long breakfast bar might be best served by three or four individual pendant lights hanging in line with the surface, whereas a square-shaped island could be paired with a singular complex fixture in the centre. Have a play around with different ideas and combinations and you’ll see how pendant lights not only add interest to the surface below, they also accentuate its texture and material. For example, marble looks particularly gorgeous next to a warm glow of light. Check out our trusted suppliers, Sycamore Lighting, for some pendant lighting design inspiration.

Table lamps

Although adding table lamps to your kitchen is an unusual design choice, they provide a no-fuss way to add a splash of warmth to certain areas of your kitchen. If positioned on a busy surface they will simply look cluttered and out-of-place, acting as a hindrance to your cooking and cleaning efforts, so be clever and tasteful with the placement of any table lamps. For instance, dark corners on countertops or empty spots on open shelves can be nicely served by a small and compact lamp, while tables or kitchen islands leave more room to make a bigger statement.

We know it sounds like a strange idea, but try to keep an open mind: a well-placed lamp might just be the cosy and quirky (not to mention cheap) lighting addition that your kitchen needs. Besides, it’s an obvious option for those either living in a rental property or trying to avoid the need for any major work on their kitchen. All you have to do is plug in and go!

Designing kitchens comes to us as second nature here at Burnhill Kitchens, so if you need some expert advice or fancy visiting our showroom in Tonbridge, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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