How to Choose Your Kitchen Lighting

Posted by Matt Ates | June 28, 2018

Why Lighting Matters

The kitchen has rightly been dubbed the hardest working room in the home, but that doesn’t mean you should have to work hard in it. A well-designed kitchen makes it easy for you to cook, clean, and casually dine. While it’s essential to get layout, cabinetry, and countertops to work well for you, much of the ultimate success of a kitchen depends on its lighting.


Decorative fixtures aside, lighting is a unique home element because its effects are more felt than observed. When lights are perfectly balanced, for instance, spaces feel inviting and warm. When they’re overbearing or inadequate, spaces feel harsh or dingy. This makes selecting the right lighting challenging, but it’s by no means impossible. Here are our expert tips to choosing lighting you’ll love in your Dallas, TX, kitchen remodel.


The Six Types of Lighting

Your kitchen is the one room in your home where you’ll want to make use of every type of lighting: natural, general, task, display, decorative, and ambient. Natural lighting, of course, refers to outside light. No kitchen is complete without sunlight. It generates a warmth, brightness, and cheeriness that simply cannot be achieved artificially, so be sure to welcome the outside in through broad windows, solar tubes, and windows and doors in adjacent rooms.


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General lighting—the most popular of which is currently recessed can lighting—acts as a sort of supplement or stand-in for sunlight on cloudy days. It’s evenly dispersed and virtually invisible, and it’s often controlled by a dimmer switch so that its strength is adjustable.


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Task lighting is the complement to general lighting, as it spotlights specific work areas. Popular task lighting includes under-the-cabinet lights to highlight countertop work spaces, toe-kick lights to illumine the floor at night, and pantry lights to allow easy visibility and food accessibility.


Display and decorative lighting are both used for aesthetics, but their purposes are distinct. Display lighting—often placed inside cabinetry—is invisible but serves to spotlight decorative dishes and glasses and simultaneously add depth to the kitchen by creating layers of light.

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Decorative lighting, on the other hand, is where the source itself is the centerpiece. Pendants and chandeliers fall into this category, and home owners typically use decorative lighting to introduce fun shapes and colors into their designs.

Ambient lighting is any lighting that creates a gentle mood by generating a soft glow that may also cast artistic shadows to create further depth.  


How to Achieve Balance

While the best kitchens incorporate most (if not all) these types of lighting, it’s important to achieve a good balance. Homes that receive more natural lighting can get away with dimmer general lighting, for instance, and kitchens with bright task lighting often need plenty of ambient lighting to balance an industrial vibe.


When in doubt, add more kitchen lighting, and if possible, control each source with a dimmer switch so that you can easily adjust the balance for various situations and daylight hours. Be sure to view our kitchen remodeling gallery for inspiration.



Kitchen Remodeling