You’ve seen those designer kitchens in home magazines that seem too good to be true. Many homeowners attempt to recreate those looks in their kitchens but fall short. They include granite countertops, stunning tile backsplashes, and state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances, but their kitchens still lack that specific something. Interior design experts let lay people in on a little secret. It’s the layers of lighting that set designer kitchens apart from the rest. Different types of lights are used throughout the room to illuminate work areas and set the mood for space. Here are some top kitchen light fixtures that you can use to recreate those magazine-worthy designer looks.
Ambient Lighting Fixtures
Ambient lighting is the soft lighting that fills a room for primarily functional purposes, and it’s often called general lighting. When you enter your kitchen during the evening to prepare a meal, the first lights that you likely switch on are your kitchen’s ambient lights.
Recessed lights are installed in kitchen ceilings and are great ambient light sources for kitchens with open floor plans and those that have islands or eat-in dining spaces. Using LED kitchen light fixtures is a hot trend with today’s interior designers. LED kitchen light fixtures last longer and are significantly more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. Consider installing LED recessed lights to areas in your kitchen that get heavy foot traffic and aren’t illuminated by other light fixtures. The low-profile design of recessed lights makes them ideal for kitchens that have low ceilings.
Flush Mount Ceiling Lights
Flush-mount ceiling lights are an effective alternative to recessed lights for ambient kitchen lighting. These lights provide an even base layer of coverage and sit flush to your kitchen ceiling. Flush-mount ceiling lights come in LED models that can have decorative metal finishes around frosted or clear glass globes. These lights are easier to keep clean than recessed lights because it’s difficult for bugs and dust to penetrate the glass globes.
Tube lights are rectangle-shaped lights that sit flush to your kitchen ceiling. These lights offer expansive coverage for the general lighting needs of large kitchen spaces. While traditional versions of tube lights emit unflattering fluorescent light, updated versions of the fixture using LED technology. The simple lines of tube lights make them an excellent choice for modern kitchen design styles.
Task Lighting Fixtures
The kitchen is where new recipes are crafted, and tried-and-true dishes are recreated. Cooking and food preparation require adequate lighting for safe operations. LED kitchen light fixtures provide the high-power luminosity that you need to cut up your favorite vegetables, sear them to perfection in your wok, and serve them with care to your family and friends.
Counter space is one of the most valuable pieces of kitchen real estate to the home chef. This is the area where food processors whir, pizza dough gets rolled out, and shakes are blended. To efficiently accomplish these activities, you’ll need task lighting in the form of under-cabinet lights. Under-cabinet lights sit under your upper cabinets to illuminate countertops below.
Since under-cabinet lights are designed for function and not decoration, a variety of lights can be installed in this hidden space. You can cut to size LED strip lights and install them under your cabinets, or you can apply puck, tape, or rope lights to space. If you don’t have nearby power outlets for all of your under-cabinet lighting areas, don’t stress. Many under-cabinet lights are battery operated. Some come with cool features such as remote control operations, motion sensor activation, and dimmer functions.
Track lights are lights that are mounted to a metal frame and aimed at specific spaces. This design is ideal for targeting workspaces such as countertops, stoves, and sinks with an abundance of bright light. Track lights work well in most contemporary kitchens, and ceiling imperfections aren’t a problem when using these types of task lights. When installing track lights, you’ll need to make sure that you pick the right track length for the area that you want to illuminate. Monorail light systems are a form of track lights that flexibly bend to meet the task lighting needs of all types of kitchen spaces.
Linear Suspension Lights
Many kitchen activities take place on islands. Small islands function as overflow space for food preparation while larger ones double as dining spaces. Linear suspension lights hover over islands to add light and an element of style to the area.
Accent Lighting Fixtures
Accent lighting is used to call attention to specific spaces or objects in your kitchen. They are usually wired to use independently of task lights or ambient lights that bathe the entire room with light. Here are some common types of accent lights that show up in today’s high-end kitchens.
Accent lighting is used to amplify design features in your kitchen, and a crown molding is one of the most dramatic architectural details in that space. Crown molding frames ceilings with trim that ranges in styles from simple to ornate. Lights that are installed in the open space above your cabinets place emphasis on crown molding and high ceilings. Above-cabinet lighting is also a good choice if you’ve decided to use the open space above your cabinets to display decorative china, crockery, or plants. The easiest way to add this type of lighting is by installing LED strip lights or rope lights.
Cabinet and Drawer Interior Lights
There’s often no need to invest in elaborate pieces of art in your kitchen when you have pretty glasses and dishes to display. Glass-front cabinets give you the perfect opportunity to marry beauty with function by showing off wedding china, crystal goblets, and other cherished collectible kitchenware. Installing interior lights in your cabinets makes these objects shimmer on demand. Interior cabinet lights have more than aesthetic value. When used in non-glass, traditional cabinets, interior lights give a targeted view of the dishes that you use for everyday meals. Install interior lights in drawers to illuminate flatware during trips to the kitchen for late-night snacks.
Late-night snack trips take a turn for the worse after stubbing your toe on kitchen furnishings. Toe-kick lights that are installed under cabinets and islands near your floor help to prevent these mishaps and more. These lights make it possible for you to move around your kitchen without flooding the space with ambient light. Toe-kick lights also highlight decorative islands and lower cabinets, and they add a pleasing glow to specialty tile and hardwood floors.
Decorative Lighting Fixtures
Installing the right kitchen light fixtures gives you an opportunity to shed light and make bold style statements. Today’s decorative lights come in a variety of shapes, colors, and finishes to match every kitchen design theme. They are like jewelry for your kitchen.
Chandeliers are a classic type of decorative lighting that beautifies and provides moderate levels of ambient and task lighting. The versatility of the chandelier makes it an excellent option for homeowners who want to increase the wow factor of their kitchen space while maintaining function. Depending on your kitchen’s design and your personal preferences, choose a metal chandelier that delivers rustic appeal or a sparkling crystal version that depicts formal elegance. Your chandelier should hang about 32 inches from the top of your table or island at its lowest point.
Pendants are on-trend decorative lights that can also double as task and accent lighting. The style options for pendants are nearly endless, and they come in a variety of finishes, colors, and sizes. If you need decorative pendants to cover a large area, consider installing a pair of large pendant lights or a cluster of mini pendant lights. Pendant lights come with dimmable bulbs that allow you to adjust light levels based on the atmosphere that you want to create.
Wall sconces can provide your kitchen with supplemental light and the style boost that you want for space. These decorative lights come in designs that range from candle-style versions to wall-mounted models that have enclosed glass globes. Wall-mounted, swing-arm sconces look great next to kitchen desks or workstations.
Lighting enhances the functionality and looks of a room. However, using one type of light fixture isn’t enough to bring out the best in your gourmet kitchen. Whether you’re entertaining guests while cooking or sitting at the island helping your child with a homework assignment, filling your kitchen with ambient, task, accent, and decorative LED kitchen light fixtures makes the space more appealing.