Tips & Techniques



10 best kitchen lighting ideas you must read before you start planning your lighting to ensure that you get it right including images and products. Sally Storey gives her best kitchen island lighting ideas, along with some of the best kitchen light fittings, to make the most of this room which sits at the heart of the home and ensure you get your kitchen lighting design right.

Kitchen lighting design needs to have the most flexible interior lighting scheme in the home to reflect the wide range of functions which kitchens are now used for. Kitchen lighting needs to adapt from a bright, general light for the day, especially in dark kitchens as a supplement to daylight, to children’s tea and homework at dusk, to an intimate light for dining in the evening. Good positioning of kitchen light fittings is the key to achieve this.


Top of my best kitchen lighting ideas is to ensure great task lighting under your kitchen cabinets or shelving. This is key to ensure the best shadow-free light in which you work is provided. Etta Eyelid under cupboard lights as shown here are ideal for this.

task and shelf lighting in this marble and wood kitchen elevation

Never place downlights in a grid. Ensure they are placed only where light is required as part of your kitchen lighting scheme. Use a low glare directional downlight such as the Polespring 50 to direct light to wash the front of your kitchen units. This will not only provide a soft reflected light to the space but also light inside your cupboards when they are open.

white marble kitchen with perfectly positioned downlights

Always light the centre of a kitchen island either with LED recessed downlights or simple decorative pendants so you can see to work. Put these on a separate circuit to your perimeter lights for flexibility. Often for added impact a pair of Polespring LEDs look good or consider the Square Double LED, as shown here, for a contemporary look.

central island of kitchen with downlights over island and lighting cabinets beyond

In a kitchen with high ceilings, look at visually lowering the sense of scale by adding low hanging pendants over the island. This can also help delineate the space in an open plan kitchen. Add Polespring LED downlights in between the pendants to ensure that you have good task lighting on the work surface below.

white kitchen with high ceiling and pendants over central island

Consider adding uplight from the top of the kitchen cabinets to add more general light. This will also reduce the number of downlights required. Whilst adding Contour LED HD27 strips above light will reflect light into the space above.

uplight above cabinets in kitchen

To create the drama, add additional layers of lighting to add interest to your kitchen lighting scheme. Create a floating effect under your island using Contour HD27 LED strip or add Cazalla floor washers into a kick plinth to skim light across the floor.

kitchen with strong lines of linear lighting above and below the kitchen island

If you have skylights, consider adding lighting around them so that they do not look like a black hole at night.  At high level conceal Contour HD27 LED strip around the skylight.

contemporary open plan kitchen and dining with a layered lighting scheme

Do not have your kitchen lighting on just an on/off switch? This will give you no flexibility to change the mood from the daytime when you want it to be bright to the evening when you are looking for a more subdued light to entertain by. Instead at a minimum fit dimmers or if money allows fit a pre-set control system that can change to different moods at the touch of a button.

layered kitchen lighting in marble kitchen

Do not put all your lights on just the one circuit as this again will limit your flexibility. Put wall lights, under cupboard lights, downlights and feature lighting all on different circuits so each can be controlled individually to create the ideal scene.  take a look at the different lighting control options available.

open plan dining and kitchen with good circuiting

Finally kitchens often lead onto gardens, so don’t forget to light the space outside. Not only does this mean that you do not need curtains, but it also extends the feeling of space within the kitchen. See garden lighting ideas.

Do also read our Dining Room Lighting Ideas.

garden lit beyond the kitchen extends the feeling of space inside