Kitchen lighting: 11 ideas to brighten up your space

Looking for kitchen lighting inspiration? We have you covered with these pretty (and pratical) ideas

Kitchen lighting by Fritz Fryer
(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

Not sure where to start when it comes to kitchen lighting? We get it, whether you’re designing a new kitchen or revamping an existing room, planning an effective kitchen lighting scheme can make a huge difference to the feel of a space, as well as it's functionality. 

But don't worry because we have covered all bases here and you will find loads of inspiring ideas, as well as practical tips. If you want even more in-depth advice, make sure you read our feature on how to plan kitchen lighting, too.

How to choose kitchen lighting 

We recommend focusing on the three types of kitchen lighting – practical task, general background light, and accent lighting – when you’re planning your kitchen lighting scheme.

Pay attention, too, to how you use each part of the space to decide which lights you need where. The overall style of your lighting should complement the kitchen’s look, whether you have an industrial style kitchen, a contemporary kitchen, or a traditional country style kitchen. 

Don’t forget to factor in both budget for the fittings themselves and, for most lighting, for an electrician either employed by you or your builder or kitchen supplier if they’re not part of any price you’ve been given.

1. Use lighting ideas to make the kitchen island a focal point

Kitchen island lit effectively by Roundhouse

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

Plinth lighting can be subtly concealed beneath a substantially sized kitchen island to create an almost floating effect. In this instance, illumination also shows off the stylish parquet flooring. 

Concealed LED plinth lighting from Mr Resistor in bespoke kitchen, from £35,000, Roundhouse.

Like the idea of a kitchen island? You'll find plenty of inspiration with our clever kitchen island design ideas.

2. Choose an eye-catching kitchen pendant

Charlie Kingham’s Shoreditch collection

(Image credit: Charlie Kingham)

Looking for kitchen lighting ideas that are a feature in themselves? Pendant lighting above a kitchen island draws attention to the feature, and can create a pool of light when it – or a portion of it as here – doubles as a breakfast bar or dining area. 

Find similar lights at Heal's

3. Add in plenty of kitchen task lighting 

Ikea kitchen with colourful splashbacks

(Image credit: Ikea)

Kitchen lighting ideas – and task lighting in particular – needn’t be dull just because they're functional.

In this room, white SEKOND cord sets, £5, and RYET lightbulbs, £0.90, all Ikea, stand out against the dark tones of the wall to illuminate the worktops and splashbacks and add to the moody aesthetic of the room.

 If you love this kitchen splashback idea, there are plenty more in our inspiring gallery. 

Find similar lights at Wayfair

4. Choose colour-changing lighting for your kitchen

Kitchen lighting with colour change bulbs by LDC Kitchens

(Image credit: LDC Kitchens)

If you're planning an open-plan kitchen, opting for colour-changing lights can be an easy and effective way to zone a space, adding depth and interest to a space. Swap between hues to take the mood from laid-back to more energetic, depending on your company.

Achieve a similar look with the Philips Hue Lights Strips, available from Amazon. 

Shop more Amazon lighting

5. Let a kitchen hood do double lighting duty

Elica extractor light in kitchen

(Image credit: Elica)

If you’re cooking at an island hob, you’ll need an efficient extractor overhead. Here, the hood is an attention-grabbing pendant light as well as ventilating the room, and provides LED task lighting for cooking plus ambient light for the room. 

Interstellar island hood in clear glass, £3,200, Elica. 

Find similar lighting at Amara

6. Light your kitchen cabinetry

Caesarstone kitchen splashback and worktops

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

Under-cabinet lighting isn’t just a practical feature to illuminate worktops. Position it at plinth level and it will sweep light on to the floor, plus create an attractive punctuation point between solid surfaces.  

7. Highlight the kitchen dining table with lighting 

Pooky lights over a dining area

(Image credit: Pooky)

We'd recommend planning lighting that works on a separate circuit over a dining table, so you can move attention to the meal you’ve created, and dim preparation area lights so pots and pans aren’t a distraction. 

We love the mismatched look of these geometric pendant lights from Pooky

8. Light inside kitchen cabinets

Lighting up cabinets is not only practical but they can also turn them into an interesting focal point with in the kitchen. If you have glass cabinets, fill them with your favourite glassware and crockery or why not pinch this idea and light up a (well organised) pantry. 

9. Brighten kitchen shelving with lighting ideas

Shelves in kitchen lit by lighting from Lighting Direct

(Image credit: Lighting Direct)

Strip lights along the edge of shelves will make more of tableware and condiments on display – or use them to brighten drawers and gloomy cupboard interiors. 

These 3W LED strip lights by Markslojd, £22.99 each, Lighting Direct can be installed without the need for an electrician.

10. Make a feature of a splashback with lighting

Kitchen lighting in kitchen by Magnet

(Image credit: Magnet)

The gorgeous splashback is a highlight of this kitchen, and downlights make it shine much more brilliantly than it would in daylight alone, showing off the texture, too. 

It’s part of the Integra Meteor Grey kitchen, from £2,882, Magnet.

11. Get on trend with a dark and moody pendant light

Wire and Thread Pendant Lamp in Black from Out There Interiors

(Image credit: Out There Interiors)

Feel like experimenting with the dark and atmospheric decorating trend that's becoming so popular lately? The good news is, a kitchen is a great space in the home to try out dark, since these rooms tend to have plenty of natural light to balance out the dark colours. A dark pendant light is a great way to create a graphic contrast in your dining space – and if you find that it doesn't work after all, pendants are easy to replace.

We like the lace-like effect created by the Wire and Thread Pendant Lamp in Black from Out There Interiors. Find more inspiration in our guide to dark and dramatic kitchen design ideas.

Shop similar lighting at John Lewis & Partners

Looking for more kitchen advice and inspiration ideas?