The kitchen is a space your family uses every single day – it’s probably the most important area in the entire house. The lighting you choose can make or break the mood this important room envokes. If the lights are placed inconveniently, it can be frustrating. If the lighting is too harsh, you feel like you’re trapped in a huge, fluorescent cubicle. Having a variety of lights and settings can help make the kitchen comfortable for everyone.

We’ve listed our kitchen lighting tips below, so you can improve your kitchen home decor for maximum enjoyability:

Layers of light

layers_of_lightFound on Wow Kitchen

As mentioned in many of our lighting advice blog posts, always remember to use layers of light: ambient, task, and accent. Besides natural light, if you depend on only one light fixture to effectively light up your entire kitchen, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. We use our kitchens for entertaining, cooking, working, eating, and more. These activities require more or less light, and sometimes lighting that’s only aimed at a specific area.

We’ll focus on the best ambient and task lighting for your kitchen.


Ambience provides general lighting for the entire kitchen. Ambient lighting is best placed on, or hanging from, the ceiling.

Pendant lighting

pendant_kitchen_lightingFound on Better Homes and Gardens

If you have an island or counter you can sit at, pendant lighting suspended above makes for great ambient lighting.

Depending on the size of the pendant lights and the amount of space you have, two to four fixtures will give your kitchen sufficient lighting when you’re just sitting at the counter or searching for that latenight snack.

Fluorescent Pratt Street Metal 3-Light Pendant in Autumn Bronze with Glass Diffuser

pratt_street_metalShop Pendants


kitchen_chandelierFound on

If you prefer a more traditional style, one large chandelier will provide sufficient ambient lighting as shown above.

Bennett 6-Light Chandelier

bennett_chandelierShop Chandeliers


Task lighting is the lighting you use to help you see a task (think: chopping up vegetables on the counter). Placing lights directly over your kitchen workspaces can be extremely helpful.

Undercabinet lighting with light strips

under_cabinet_lighting_kitchenFound on HitLights

Placing light strips underneath the cabinets above your favourite workspaces will help you see better when ambient lighting isn’t enough. Use strips with LED lights to get the best lighting.

Shop Undercabinet Lighting

Undercabinet lighting with recessed lights

undercabinet_lighting_recessed_lightsFound on Decoist 

Instead of light strips, consider using evenly spaced recessed lights under each cabinet above your counter space. To save energy, give one side a different switch if you’re not using the whole kitchen. You can use MR16 halogens or LED lamps.

Shop Recessed Lighting


Put a dimmer on your ambient lighting so that you can control the brightness, especially when you want dim lighting during those relaxed evenings. Kitchen lighting should be in warm and golden hues to keep it welcoming and easy on the eyes.

Check out Red Deer Lighting to find the tools you need to make your kitchen lighting design come to life!