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Kitchen lighting ideas: six ways to transform your kitchen

Create the perfect kitchen lighting design with help from our ultimate how-to guide 

Kitchen task lighting, over-counter pendant lights, recessed LEDs, under-counter lighting – there are a million ways to transform your kitchen using lighting fixtures, but with so many options available, it can be hard knowing where to start.

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Whether you’re looking for new kitchen island lighting ideas, or you just want a few budget-friendly kitchen lights to spruce up your existing space, we’ve broken down some of our favourite kitchen lighting designs to help take your room from drab to fab.

Say goodbye to those fluorescent bulbs, it’s time for an upgrade! And if you like what you read, we’ve got lighting design tips for every room, too.

1. Mix it up

NEXT Dixon Easy Fit Shades
Play around with your pendant light heights to create a more informal look. Dixon easy-fit light shades, £15 each, Next.

Although uniform lighting fixtures can create a more modern feel, sometimes a relaxed look can be more in-keeping with your kitchen’s style. If you want to add a quirky vibe to your kitchen, try experimenting with different lighting heights – particularly with groups of individual pendant lights and over kitchen island lighting.

For smaller islands or breakfast bars, we’d recommend grouping the lights closer together and staggering them vertically; this will draw the eye upwards and give the illusion of a higher ceiling. Alternatively, for larger kitchens, we love the look of multiple light fixings suspended from a statement bar, or even a piece of driftwood for a touch of rustic elegance.

2. Practically perfect

Rockett St George clamp lamp
Budget buys, like this quirky shelf light, are perfect for a quick and easy fix. Clamp table lamp, £49, Rockett St George

Although you want your space to look super-stylish at all times, it’s important to ensure that your kitchen lighting is practical, too. And for everyday cooking routines, you’re going to need some killer task lighting.

For an easy fix, moveable track spotlights will allow you to light a large area with a lot of flexibility on your lighting spots. Or, if you don’t have the budget for a big lighting change, why not install some alternative temporary lights? Clamp-style lights will give you an instant solution that you can reposition in seconds.

3. The rule of three – or five

LSE Lighting Palma
When choosing pendant lights for a table or kitchen island, always go with groups of three or five. Vibia Palma pendant, LSE Lighting

When it comes to designing your kitchen lighting, it’s important to consider the different zones in your space and the type of lighting fixture that will work best for each area.

Rows of pendant lights are great for lighting a kitchen island or table, as they create a more focused and moody light suited to eating and socialising.

If you want to install multiple single pendants, take a tip from the pro stylists and choose a group of three, or five for larger islands and tables. For added flexibility, opt for a dimmable light so you can alter the lighting to your occasion.

4. Capture a corner

Tile Giant Marlow Turquoise Mix
Create a moody, relaxed atmosphere in the evening with a gorgeous corner feature light. Image courtesy of Tile Giant

After determining how you’re going to approach your task lighting, take some time to look at the areas you might want to highlight with feature lights.

Corners and far-reaching walls are often overlooked when it comes to kitchen lighting designs, but these corners are the perfect place to house a gorgeous feature light that will create a moody, more relaxed evening vibe.

A cluster of lower-hanging Edison-style light bulbs can give your kitchen an industrial look with a brighter light, or for a calmer, more diffused, lighting effect opt for a light pendant with frosted glass to create a warm ambient light.

5. Get smart

Nanoleaf Canvas
Upgrade your kitchen to a smart home lighting solution for a total tech-savvy approach. Smart lighting display by Nanoleaf

If you love a gadget, then why not embrace your technical side and incorporate it into your kitchen lighting? From smart speakers to video doorbells, smart home technology is everywhere, and your lighting needn’t miss out.

Smart light bulbs and lighting systems are a great way to modify your lighting on the fly, whether that be brightness, turning lights on and off or even the light bulb’s hue.

But if you really want to step it up a gear, systems like the Nanoleaf Canvas will allow you to combine your lighting with art and create a one-of-a-kind feature wall light or under-cabinet light installation.

6. The finishing touches

Adding small accessories like a fun neon light will give your kitchen a pop of personality. Neon light by Cult Furniture
Adding small accessories like a fun neon light will give your kitchen a pop of personality. Neon light by Cult Furniture

You’ve chosen your task lighting, created moody corners with gorgeous pendant lights, now it’s time to add the finishing touches with some creative accent lights.

Home accessories that incorporate light are ideal if your budget can’t stretch to more complex task lighting solutions. Small table lamps positioned on your kitchen shelves will create a relaxing mood for the evening, or if you really want to get creative, add a neon sign to your wall or shelving unit for a fun pop of colour; you could even make your own!

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Words by Matilda Bourne