The Best Light Fixtures For Kitchens – When And How To Use Them

A lot of things have to be done just right when designing or decorating a kitchen and the lighting is one of them. You have to carefully consider your options and to choose the ones that best suit your kitchen and your lifestyle. There are quite a few styles to pick from and often it’s nice to mix and match them to create a customized setup. Here are the most types of kitchen lighting:

Recessed Lighting

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Recessed ceiling lights quickly became very popular a while back and are still considered classic and very practical. One of the reasons for that is the fact that they’re very versatile and suit a lot of different styles. Recessed lights are installed flush with the ceiling and point down which is both good and bad. On one hand, they’re minimalist and can blend in easily but on the other hand they don’t cast any light onto the ceiling and they create shadowing whenever something is in the way of the light beam. It’s usually best to complement your recessed lighting with other types of fixtures. Perhaps you can be inspired by this contemporary kitchen designed by Thirdstone studio.

Track Lighting

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Track lighting is highly appreciated for the fact that it allows individual fixtures to be moved along a track so the light can be focused on key areas. The individual fixtures can be added or removed from the track and that provides a lot of flexibility, allowing you to customize your kitchen lighting system in a ways that makes most sense for you. However, track lighting usually has an industrial appearance which impacts the overall interior design and decor of the room. In a lot of cases that results in an eclectic environment, like this kitchen designed by studio LDa.

Flush-Mount Ceiling Fixtures

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Flush-mount light fixtures are also very popular in kitchens. Their biggest advantage is that they instantly illuminate the whole space which is often what you want when you turn on the lights. However, they don’t illuminate the counter space so they’re not useful when it comes to task lighting. For that you need to complement your flush-mount fixture with additional focused lights. The rustic kitchen setup featured here was designed by Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects.

Hanging Pendant Light Fixtures

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Hanging pendant lights are generally appreciated for their stylish and sophisticated appearance. Usually, they can be adjusted vertically so they hang at the desired height and don’t get in the way. However, they’re usually also fixed in place and can’t be moved and hanging more than one can make the kitchen look cluttered which means you’d most likely placed the pendant at the center of the room. This will create shadowing so task lighting will also be required.

Backlit surfaces

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Backlit kitchen cabinets, shelves, mirrors and other surfaces can give the room a cozy and sometimes futuristic vibe which helps to create a pleasant ambiance. Backlighting is usually meant to set the mood and isn’t that useful in other ways. The kitchen still needs a main ceiling fixture and probably some focused counter lighting as well.

LED strips

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LED strips are also very useful for setting the mood or for highlighting certain design features. They can be integrated or added to a variety of different surfaces and for a variety of different purposes. They can be just for display or they can provide task lighting if, for example, you install them under the cabinets just above the counter.

Wall sconce

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Wall sconces are quite versatile. You can use them either for the purpose to add accent lighting to the space or to create visual focal points which also helps to set a pleasant and comfortable ambiance. Usually, sconces point up and direct the light towards the ceiling although that’s not necessarily a rule, especially in the case of contemporary designs. Use them in combination with recessed ceilings light, as shown in this design completed by Smith & Vansant Architects.

Under-cabinet lighting

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This is perhaps the best kind of lighting for the kitchen and that’s because it directly illuminates the counter and doesn’t create shadows. You can install several individual lights, flush with the cabinet or you can add an LED strip along the entire cabinet surface.