4 Main Types of Kitchen Lighting


Lighting up your home isn’t as simple as buying a few lamps and installing them wherever you fancy. You need a bit of finesse to light up every room perfectly. Using different types of lights with differing brightness and shades is essential for a well-balanced room. 

The kitchen is particularly difficult to light up correctly. You’ll need different kinds of lighting, from recessed lighting to pendant lighting and everything in between. For those who aren’t aware of what type of lights are best to use in the kitchen, we’ve put together this guide to help you out. 

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll know all you need to know about the different types of kitchen lighting. This should allow you to choose the correct light to deal with any dark spots in your kitchen currently or to help with any redesign in the future.


Cabinet Lighting

It can be difficult finding the right glass or plate in an unlit cabinet. While not everyone opts to use cabinet lights, they are both useful and aesthetically pleasing. In case you haven’t yet worked this out, cabinet lights are lights that you install inside a cabinet! Generally, you would place these lights in the roofing section of each of the cabinet’s shelf. 

Since cabinet lights sit above the shelf they nicely illuminate everything below. If you use nothing but ceiling-hung lights, there will be a dark spot in the top corner of each shelf. Cabinet lighting removes this issue and makes it easier to use your cabinets at night, whilst making your kitchen brighter as a whole.

We recommend using LED cabinet lights. LED cabinet lights conserve energy whilst still shining bright enough to light up the whole space. 

Recessed Lighting

If you’ve ever walked into a kitchen which had lighting that seemed to go into the ceiling, then you’ve seen recessed lights before. You can use recessed lighting for both general lighting and task lighting, depending on the need. 

They tend to be around half a foot in diameter and usually are located five or six feet apart. They tend to use incandescent, LED or halogen lightbulbs. 

For added utility, you can also make your recessed lights dimmable. This way you can adjust the intensity, depending on how bright the room already is, to your own preference. 

On top of all that, you can install directional recessed lights. These allow you to adjust the surface where the majority of the light is directed towards. This can be useful for limiting the number of recessed lights you need to install. 

Hanging Lamps

Hanging lamps are useful in the kitchen for both decoration and practicality. A hanging lamp for a kitchen will likely have four bulbs and light up the center of the room. It will also fit the aesthetic of your kitchen, making it feel even more like home.

Kitchens tend to be a tad foreboding as far as rooms of the house go. Adding hanging lamps, even if it is just one in the center of the kitchen, go a long way to improving the room’s aesthetic and feel.

If you do want to add a hanging lamp to your kitchen, just make sure you use the right fixture and that the bulbs end up higher than your head! You should also use lampshades that compliment the room while still giving you enough light to see what you’re doing clearly. 


Spotlights are perfect for covering up any dark spots in your kitchen. You can target the location in which the light is too dim. 

Spotlights are typically used to light up specific surfaces. Most people use them over countertops, the stove, and so on. This way you are assured to have enough light to see well while you prepare food and cook. 

Spotlights can be designed to look good as well as perform practical functions. You can set them up one by one from your ceiling or even use track lights – it’s the same basic idea but the spotlights are mounted on a metal pipe traveling the length of your kitchen.

Spotlights are incredibly useful in large kitchens with a high ceiling. Normal lights may not be able to light up the necessary surface area well enough if there is too much space to cover. Spotlights, on the other hand, can be aimed directly at the surface you want to illuminate.


The Number 1 Choice – Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting is a must for any nice-looking kitchen. Since most kitchens are quite uniform in colour and tend to be bright, pendant lights go a long way to making the room more inviting.

A pendant light has a single bulb with an intricate lampshade covering it. While these lampshades tend to be designed for decoration, they will also change the color and temperature of the light coming from the bulb inside. You can use them to illuminate a particular spot in your kitchen or to spread light throughout the whole room.

To learn more about what pendant lights actually are, read this article.

While pendant lights only have one bulb, they tend not to come alone. You will normally see them in groups of two or three.  The most common use for them is to illuminate the countertops in the central region of the kitchen. Another use could be over your dining table if it’s in the same room as your kitchen.

We’ve also got another  useful guide on how to install pendant lights.

These are five of the more useful types of kitchen lighting. While we believe that pendant lighting holds the most decorative and practical value for a kitchen, a combination of the five is the best way to go. 

The explanations above should be more than enough to help you determine which type of light you would need to add to your kitchen in order to make it look better. Good luck and happy lighting!

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