Kitchen Lighting

Kitchen remodels can cost big, but consider lighting upgrades for budget kitchen makeovers with a big impact.  The biggest change you can make in kitchen lighting is adding task and accent lighting.

Task Lighting

Mid level lighting in the kitchen can give you the most bang for your buck.  Under counter lighting is a quick and inexpensive addition that gives your kitchen a whole new look.  Ikea has a set for under $30 that can be installed easily, and the impact will shock you.  Not only does it add task lighting for prep work, but accent lighting for countertops.

Layer it On

While the four layers of lighting ambient (general), task, accent and decorative lighting is still necessary in the kitchen, lighting can easily multi-task. Use an overhead light for general lighting, install a handsome chandelier on a dimmer switch to fit the bill for decorative and accent lighting as well.

Lighting over the sink is often neglected, a low hanging pendant or even a multi-armed casual chandelier will brighten the area, literally and figuratively.  Hang the lamp so there’s at least 30 inches of clearance between the sink base cabinet and the lowest part of the pendant for adequate clearance.

If you have space above the cabinets that you accessorize, add accent lighting to show off your treasure trove.  Rope lighting is an excellent, low cost option to use above cabinets.  At just $5-$8 per foot, rope lighting needs no installation, and can be plugged in.


Don’t forget to focus light on your focal point!  If you have a kitchen island, bring it front and center with decorative pendants.  Use at least two for smaller islands, larger islands can handle three or more.

Ceiling Fans

For an ambient and decorative light source that can also lower the energy bill, consider adding one or two ceiling fans to the kitchen for overhead lighting.  Make sure there is no recessed lighting within reach of the blade, it creates a strobe effect.  With the heat generated by cooktops and ovens, it’s good to keep air moving within the kitchen.  Not only can it generate some cool breezes, but switch them on high after mopping to dry the floor before the dogs and kids can muck it up.

The most common mistake in kitchen lighting is using a single ceiling fixture to handle all the lighting.  Not only does it cause an ugly glare in the room, but you’re working in your own shadows when doing prep work at the counters.  Layer your light in the kitchen and create ambiance in the room.