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Modern farmhouse, focus on three lit Devin pendants

Indoor Lighting Guide

Kitchen Planning and Selecting Tips

Your kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s where you make the food that feeds your family and where you gather with guests to make your memories. This is why it’s so important to make sure your kitchen is lit with the right light, to let you create your most shining moments. Here are a few quick tips on how to choose the right light for your kitchen.

Lighting Types

Before choosing any light fixtures or creating a plan, it’s important to see the full picture and understand how your lighting will work together. Different lights working together is called light layering, and it can have a powerful effect on your kitchen.

A dimly lit kitchen with three pendants glowing above the island

There are three key components in light layering. Ambient lighting is the general overhead lighting that creates an overall level of light. Task lighting helps you complete specific tasks like cooking over the stove, doing homework in a nook or cutting on an island. And accent lighting is about putting a spotlight on decorative elements in your room. The three of these together create a complete light layering concept. Read on for how each of these can come to life in your kitchen. To learn more, read our light layering article

Light Up with Downlights

These are the main lights in your kitchen. They provide the most amount of light and are spaced throughout the ceiling so every corner of your space is lit. Typically kitchens have a few recessed downlights on a dimmer, or can opt for flush mount ceiling lights if recessed lighting isn’t an option. Either way, you can set the tone with dimmers and bulbs with a warm hue.

Kitchen with green cabinets featuring two gold finish Calter pendants
Kitchen in low-light with a Linara chandelier over the island while two Zeo and channel lights illuminate the back wall above the sink
Pendants that Pop and Focus

These are the lights that combine form and function by setting a style tone for the room while shining a light on important tasks. Pendants over an island or above a large counter space can illuminate cutting, washing dishes or serving food. Make sure to hang pendant 30-36 inches from the counter to avoid blocking any eyelines! Additionally, under cabinet lighting, created by tape lights, can shine a light on food prep while a light focused on the pantry keeps everything bright and easy to find.

Two hanging pendants over a kitchen island with text showing they're 30-36" above the surface
Show Off Your Style with Accent Lights

This is the cherry on top of your kitchen lighting. It shows off your favorite pieces in the kitchen, and the sole purpose is to let your décor shine. Use it in glass cabinets to light up vases or plates or use it over cabinets to highlight architectural details. Tape and cabinet lighting is your friend when it comes to accent lighting in the kitchen!

Kitchen countertop lit with under cabinet lighting above
Warm, day-lit kitchen with three Aster pendants lit above the island with additional lighting under the countertop
Stay Safe with Toe Kick or Step Lights

Making sure you step safely is important in the dark. Step and hallway lights are low-light fixtures that are angled down to illuminate your every step in the dark. Toe kick lighting is installed underneath a cabinet or cupboard to provide another layer of light that illuminates the floor. These techniques are especially helpful for late night trips to get little ones water or to sneak a midnight snack. Yum!

Warm kitchen with channel lighting lining the ceiling
Don’t Forget!

Dimmers make everything better. Use dimmers to change the tone of your kitchen, using moodier, dim lighting for intimate gatherings or date night in, while turning up the wattage shines a glow on family time or large parties. Also, the color temperature of the bulb you choose is important. A cooler color will mimic daylight but can be harsh in the evening, while warmer lights are more akin to candlelight, casting a warm glow on all your kitchen has to offer.

Kitchen corner at nighttime with a single Hendrik pendant glowing above the sink in front of the window
Hall way dimmer on a white wall

Whichever light you choose, it’s important to find the style that works for your kitchen. Whether you choose modern pendants for a glam look, or want to shine an accent light on your mother’s classic plates, lights can transform a kitchen’s style with the flick of a switch.

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