While good kitchen design can make a huge difference to the feel of your space, one area that’s often overlooked is lighting. Well-placed lighting can add extra dimension to your kitchen, helping to highlight key areas that you want to show off as well as illuminating spaces where you need to focus.

There are three different types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Layering each type will help keep the area well-lit for your cooking tasks, as well as keep the space looking balanced. Here, we’ll share our kitchen lighting ideas for each, so you can create a relaxing and inspiring space.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is the main light source in your space. This is usually a ceiling light placed in the centre of the room. Ambient lighting should provide a bright, constant source of light throughout the entirety of the space. Natural light from windows can also be considered ambient light.

Kitchen ceiling lighting ideas

There are a few options available when it comes to ambient lighting in kitchens. Downlights are a popular choice for this space, as they can be placed throughout the room to create an even wash of light. As they sit flush with the ceiling, they also avoid interfering with the overall design of the space and are perfect kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings, where hanging lights would be intrusive.

Directional spotlights are also a popular kitchen ceiling lighting idea. These are usually placed on a mount, often with three or four spotlights on one mount, and can offer more directional lighting options than downlights. Spotlights also offer a more flexible solution, as the lighting direction can be changed as required.

Finally, a stylish chandelier or lighting fixture in the centre of your room will provide a more unique lighting element to your space. Just be sure to consider size and shape when finding a light fixture for your kitchen to check it doesn’t dominate the design or interfere with the flow of the space.

Task lighting

Task lighting illuminates workspaces. It should provide a bright, shadow-free light source for you to be able to complete tasks uninterrupted. Lamps are the most common form of task lighting in homes, but you might find different types of task lighting in a kitchen to highlight key cooking areas. These kitchen lighting ideas will help brighten up your space and provide both a practical and stylish addition to your design.

Cooker hood lighting ideas

Cooker hood lights are one of the most common forms of kitchen task lighting. These are usually built in as part of the cooker hood or extractor fan unit and most cooker hoods come with this option. These also come in a variety of styles, from traditional options to contemporary wall extractors and ceiling extractors with built-in LED lights, such as those in our collection of Wave kitchen extractor fans. These provide a more elegant and discreet lighting option that doesn’t sacrifice practicality.

Under cabinet kitchen lighting ideas

Another popular kitchen lighting idea is under cabinet lighting, which helps to illuminate your key preparation spaces as well as highlight your cabinetry design. Under cabinet kitchen lights usually come in the form of spotlights or LED strip lights and are especially effective in small kitchens, helping to provide an extra light source in an unobtrusive way.

Kitchen wall lights ideas

If you’re looking for a more understated kitchen lighting idea that’s an alternative to under cabinet lighting, then you may want to consider wall lights. While under cabinet lights will illuminate your whole worktop, wall lights can be used to highlight specific areas — perfect for creating a moodier and more intimate atmosphere.

You may choose to place wall lights above your hob to highlight your cooking area alongside your cooker hood lighting. Or, you might use wall lights to provide extra ambient lighting. Choosing wall lights that can be switched on individually can also be a more energy-efficient option, as you can illuminate one separate area when you need it. For instance, if you’re simply popping into the kitchen to boil the kettle, you can turn on one wall light instead of the whole room.

Kitchen island lighting ideas

A kitchen island or breakfast bar can make a stylish addition to your kitchen design, offering extra space for prep, cooking, dining, or entertaining. Whatever you use your kitchen island for, you can illuminate it with some stylish pendant light fixtures. These suspended lights will transform your island into a focal point of the room.

If you’re looking for kitchen diner lighting ideas, pendant lights are perfect here too. Place them above your kitchen table for a chic look that also provides plenty of ambience while eating and hosting.

When choosing pendant lights, it’s a good idea to go for the rule of three. This is because our eyes are immediately drawn to odd numbers, and therefore three pendant light fixtures will offer balance while being pleasing to the eye. However, if you have a small island, one or two pendants should suffice. Alternatively, if you have both a kitchen island and dining table, opt for three over your island and one over the table to avoid a cluttered look. Just be sure that each light hangs at least 30 inches from the surface of your island or table to give you enough room to prep, cook, or entertain.

Kitchen cupboard lighting ideas

If you’re looking for a stylish and convenient kitchen light idea, integrated cupboard and drawer lighting could be the solution. These are built into your kitchen cabinetry and are designed with a sensor mechanism to switch on automatically as you open the door or drawer. With these, you can clearly see everything you need at a glance, which is especially useful in deep drawers.

Accent light

Finally, accent lighting is used as a decorative element and usually highlights structural details or décor. Also called mood or feature lighting, this type of light is often the most dramatic of all the lighting solutions. In kitchens, accent lighting is usually used to emphasise the details of the cabinetry. If you’ve opted for a German kitchen, the right lighting solutions can show off its full design and craftsmanship.

Kitchen shelf lighting ideas

If you have open shelving or cupboards with glass fronts, extra lighting options can add even more dimension to your space. Solutions such as backlighting, integrated spotlights, or the backlit recess system offered by next125, can help to highlight various design elements and your favourite decorative objects, as well as make it easier to find things you need. In many instances, these lighting options are also dimmable so you can create the exact look you want, at any time of day.

Kitchen plinth lighting ideas

Kitchen plinth lighting is integrated into the base panel of your kitchen units. They’re used to illuminate your walkway as well as provide a striking yet cosy ambience to the space. In the case of our Schüller range, LED plinth lighting is also customisable and dimmable. Just like under cabinet lighting, plinth lighting can be a particularly effective small kitchen lighting idea, offering a dramatic look that can be adjusted to suit the mood and time of day, without taking up any extra space.

It’s only right that an expertly crafted and beautifully conceptualised kitchen is illuminated by stylish lighting solutions. Brighten up your room, illuminate your workspaces, and add ambience and dimension with these kitchen light ideas. To see even more kitchen lighting solutions, take a look at our kitchen inspiration or head into our kitchen showroom in Hexham to see our German kitchens in person. When you’re ready to make your bright ideas come to life, book a kitchen design appointment with our expert team and let us light up your culinary haven with the perfect blend of functionality and style.