The Various Types of Lighting a Kitchen Benefits From

Designers have become creative in the application of kitchen lighting. Although most are for aesthetics, nearly all of them share the common theme of improving illumination. There are several different types and each offers a unique function and benefit associated with it. If you have dark areas in your kitchen, especially where you work and prepare food, there are some wonderful ways to improve the brightness. Here are the various types of lighting a kitchen benefits from.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lighting is a popular design that features lights that are built into the ceiling in an embedded method. This is one of the most widely used styles for many reasons. It saves space and gives a sense of openness in the kitchen and they need less cleaning than other styles. Recessed lights provide illumination from overhead and they are good for providing lighting to specific areas underneath them. They are generally used for illuminating specific areas such as countertops, ranges, and other work areas. The drawbacks to recessed lighting include limited illumination that is confined to small areas, and the need for several of them to brighten larger areas. This type of lighting may be more aesthetically pleasing for those who prefer a minimalist approach to decor, but the light produced is less efficient than most other types.

Pendant Lights

Pendant Lights hang suspended from the ceiling. They come in a range of styles from minimalist to rococo. They are preferred by those who want to add to the aesthetics of the kitchen with a themed fixture that complements other elements of the decor. These are considered surface lights that are used to bring light closer to specific areas of the kitchen such as to an island where many do food preparation. While this type of lighting illuminates a certain area well, it only covers a finite area properly and it works best in kitchens with tall ceilings.

Surface lights

Surface lighting covers a broad range of lights. In general, this type of lighting includes lights that are mounted to the ceiling such as a fluorescent fixture with tubes that illuminate a wide area of the kitchen. Also included are the smaller single bulb fixtures. Surface lights are mounted to the ceiling and this type is the right size and style can provide one of the most efficient ways to light an entire kitchen. These lights require regular cleaning to remove the dust that tends to collect because they are not recessed, and are in full view.

Task lighting

Task lighting is a kind of lighting that focuses on major activity areas. Track lighting is a good example of his type of lighting. These lights can be installed to shine on very specific areas including kitchen islands, countertops, ranges, and more. While it’s great for shining the spotlight on a small amount of space, and it offers excellent illumination in the area, there are limitations. Task lighting does not offer uniform illumination for the entire kitchen and it must, therefore, be combined with other types to avoid dark areas in the kitchen.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is used to illuminate a certain area of the kitchen and it is presented with some types of track lighting, recessed lighting, wall lanterns, chandeliers, or pendant lights. It is used to create a tone and a mood in a given space. This is a decorative form of lighting that is intended to create an emotional response rather than offer more practical or functional task lighting.

Under-cabinet lighting

Under-cabinet lighting is an ambient type that is mostly used for the sake of highlighting specific features of the kitchen as an element of decor. It usually comes in the form of bar or strip lights that are placed along cabinet bottoms. These lights offer a warm glow to the cabinet section of the kitchen. It can also be arranged to provide a direct light source for smaller areas.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight a specific place or item in the kitchen. It is most commonly used inside of glass cabinet doors in china hutches to shine a light on collectibles stored within the case. It is a decorative type of lighting that is for aesthetics versus practicality.

Room lighting

Room lighting is a type that is intended to illuminate the entire kitchen area. It is most commonly found in big ceiling-mounted fixtures with multiple bulbs. This kind sheds light over the entire area uniformly but it does not highlight specific task areas. This is why it is commonly used in combination with other lighting types.

Achieving different lighting effects

There are a variety of different types of light bulbs available. These can alter the performance in a particular fixture as each type of bulb produces different lighting effects.

Incandescent lamps come in a variety of sizes and shapes. this type produces heat when it is illuminated but has largely been replaced by fluorescent and LED lights. These bubs have a life up to 1000 hours and work well with dimmer switches. Fluorescent lights are mercury-based and are more efficient than an incandescent lamp producing as much light with less power use and longer life, but they cannot be used with dimmer switches also they can last up to ten times as long. Halogen lights work from a tungsten filament with bromine or iodine to create halogen. They are smaller and offer increased life and brightness over fluorescent. Metal Halide lamps are among the most efficient, used in traffic lights, outdoor lighting systems, halls, and commercial lighting needs. Light Emitting Diodes, also known as LED’s have the longest lifespan and greater efficiency than most other lighting types. They are more expensive but last so much longer than the higher cost is negated. These lights emit color and come in a variety of shades.


There are several different kinds of kitchen lighting types and each has its pros and cons. When you’re designing the lighting for your kitchen, think in terms of functionality, with aesthetics coming next. It is possible to have a highly functional and well-lit kitchen that is enhanced by the types of lighting that you chose.

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