Today’s kitchens are the central gathering place in the home. Whether you are remodeling or building from the ground up, it is essential to plan your kitchen lighting to provide for a variety of functions – from a bright light for food preparation and cleaning to a softer, warmer light source for conversation and entertaining friends.

The tremendous range of kitchen lighting and controls available today make it easy for homeowners to choose kitchen lighting that performs multiple tasks, from recessed lighting for general area lighting to bright light directed on food preparation and cooking areas. Accent lighting is also popular – providing a focus on cabinets or walls as well as providing additional lighting for task areas.

Here are some design tips for kitchen lighting.

Think about lighting controls

Because your kitchen has so many functions, you will want to change the intensity of every light in the room. Don’t just buy a switch. Your budget should at least include basic dimmers that allow you to adjust the lighting to suit the requirements of any moment. More complex wireless lighting control systems are now available that are easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

No more flickering fluorescent
Ever the old kitchen stand-by, fluorescent lighting, has undergone a sea change. No longer the pasty, flickering light of the 1970’s, fluorescent lighting is quickly being replaced by LED lighting that can be selected according to color and warmth, from a natural white for food preparation or a bright white that mimics daylight for food preparation, cooking and cleaning dishes.

Under Cabinet Lighting
LED products have also revolutionized under-cabinet lighting. New products such as flexible tape lighting are easily installed along under cabinet edges, in toe kicks, and even inside the top edges of cabinets or ceiling molding. LED lighting is cool to the touch – so you don’t have to worry about cabinets getting overheated and becoming a fire hazard.


Pendants provide a directed light on popular task areas such as kitchen islands. Many glass pendants are hand blown and make a unique design statement. The infinite array of glass choices and colors make it easy to pick up styles, finishes and colors from the rest of your home.

Consult with a professional
Homeowners considering a kitchen renovation should remember to consult with their local lighting showroom before undertaking any construction. Professional lighting designers will work with you to create a lighting layout that covers all your needs and avoids expensive retrofits.