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Which Kitchen Lighting Should I Choose?

From where to hang pendants to tips for tracks and wall lights, browse these suggestions for illuminating your cookspace

Houzz UK Editorial Staff. I’m a freelance journalist with more than 13 years’ experience… More

There are so many ways to light your kitchen nowadays that it can be hard to decide which to go for.

The type of lighting you choose will depend on the layout, how you use the space and, of course, your own particular design preference.

Need some inspiration? Take a look at these ideas to get you started

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Put pendants over the island
The key to lighting your kitchen is to work out where you need the most illumination.

Task lighting is important for brightening up specific areas where you’ll be preparing food or eating. For example, it makes sense to focus it over an island.

To combine style and functionality, go for a row of matching pendants. The repetition will reinforce the design of the light and create a striking focal point in the room. From a practical point of view, the extra lights will bring plenty of brightness to all areas of the work surface.

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Hang them over the worktop
Worktop lighting is often provided by under-cabinet fittings, but what if you don’t have wall units?

You could choose a line of pendants instead, as the designers have done here. The shades are small, so as not to encroach on the space, but the yellow helps them to stand out.

This is a great way to both provide task lighting and add interest to a blank space above base cabinets.

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Illuminate the dining table
Think about how you light the dining table, too. If you don’t have an island, this might be the perfect place to position a row of pendants.

Here, two metal light fittings have been strategically placed above the table to light up the dining area and anchor its position in the room.

Choose lights that aren’t too bulky and use bulbs that produce a warm glow rather than harsh beams.

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Opt for one statement piece
If you don’t fancy the idea of installing a series of separate light fittings, it’s perfectly possible to go for one large pendant instead. Choose a beautiful ceiling light and make it the centrepiece in your kitchen.

This contemporary version of a chandelier offers the best of both worlds, as the bulbs spread out from the central spot to cast plenty of light on the worktop below.

Discover more kitchen lighting in the Houzz Shop

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Create ambience with LEDs
Don’t forget to complement your ceiling lights with some ambient lighting in other areas.

If you’ve installed open shelving, think about fitting LED strips along the edge to cast a glow on the objects on display, and to give the room a subtle shimmer.

Need advice or looking to fit lights in your home? Find lighting professionals in your area

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Keep it simple with downlights
Of course, you don’t have to go for a pendant light at all. Recessed spotlights are simple and practical, and they won’t get in the way of other features in the room.

This pale green, Shaker-style kitchen has plenty of beautiful features and looks just as lovely without statement lighting. The grid of downlights is functional yet unobtrusive.

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Strategically position wall lights
Don’t forget the practical possibilities of wall lighting, particularly for illuminating specific areas.

In this stylish kitchen, the designers have positioned wall lamps above the sink area to make it easy to wash up.

The vintage design complements the rest of the space and works as a stylish feature, as well as a functional element.

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Set up a series of wall lights
With more of us choosing to design our kitchens without wall cabinets, the classic undercounter lighting isn’t always an option.

Here, the designers have worked around the problem with angled lights fixed to the wall above the worktop.

The beauty of these is that they can be positioned to illuminate the exact area that’s needed, and each one has its own switch for even more flexibility.

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Stay on track
A simple way to retrofit multiple fittings is to install track lighting. The bulbs are positioned along one single track, so there’s no need to make numerous holes in the ceiling.

Track fittings work best as task lighting, rather than to provide an overall glow, so position them above areas you want to highlight.

In this contemporary kitchen, the exposed tracks and cables enhance the industrial feel of the room.

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Focus on flexibility
Can’t decide where to place your pendant? Try a design like this one, with a long cable and a hook in the ceiling. Lights can be left to hang perpendicular, but can also be lifted across to a ceiling hook for illumination elsewhere.

In this kitchen, one pendant hangs vertically off the conduit piping, which carries the wiring around the room, while a second has been hooked to the neighbouring beam to spread the illumination.

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Go wide
An alternative to a row of pendants is a design like this wide lantern. The glass box holds five bulbs to carry light along the table.

There’s no need to install a separate fitting for each bulb, which works particularly well in this space, as the ceiling is on different levels.

Tell us…
Which type of lighting will you choose for your kitchen? Share your ideas in the Comments section.
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