Modern lighting options for your kitchen

With the kitchen being the heart of the home, it’s important to have the appropriate lighting for the myriad of uses that a kitchen provides: cooking, dining, entertaining, doing homework, paying bills, chatting on the phone, as an entryway, and many other functions.

Lighting the kitchen needs to suit all these purposes and can be summarized by three essential types in a layered approach: ambient, task and accent lighting. Here’s what works for each type.

Ambient lighting

Ambient or general lighting casts light over the entire kitchen space and supplements natural lighting. Pot lights or a ceiling light fixture are the most common forms of ambient lighting.

For the kitchen table, a ceiling globe, pendant or chandelier works well for dining, entertaining and doing general tasks such as homework.

Task lighting

Task lighting is required to safely prepare and cook meals. You’ll want a bright light for work done on the counter such as slicing and dicing, reading a recipe, over the stove to watch what’s cooking, and above the sink for good visibility when cleaning.

Under-the-cabinet lighting provides the closest light to your counters and sink without getting in the way. And your stove range-hood likely has a light for this important cooking area. Ceiling track lighting can assist as the bulbs can be pointed in the direction that you need them.

If you have a kitchen island where you also do meal preparation, task lighting can also come in the form of long pendants or a large fixture that hangs from the ceiling and provides bright light.

A kitchen desk nook where a computer is used may also require task lighting for paying bills or doing other paperwork. 

Accent lighting

Accent lighting is generally decorative and supports your decor theme. Wall sconces are decorative lighting options and ideal when entertaining for the soft light they cast.

Toe-kick lighting – lights that line the bottom of cabinets near the floor – also cast a soft beam ideal for entertaining, getting a late-night snack, or a dark early morning when you just can’t face a bright light until you’ve had your first cup of coffee.

Likewise, above-the-cabinet lighting can be a soft glow of light highlighting architectural molding at the top of a wall, or a collection of memorabilia, artwork or faux plants on top of your cabinets.

Lighting inside glass-front cabinets can also be accent lighting as it adds a touch of elegance for an entertaining atmosphere. Show off your best china and glassware with this interior cabinet lighting.


With several people usually in the kitchen at the same time, consider installing dimmer switches on some or all of the lighting. That way each person can individually control the lighting they need while in the same room.

The kitchen is likely the most popular room in your home since it’s a family hub. It can also be the most dangerous from busy meal prep and cooking in a high traffic area, to dropped and shattered dish ware. Good lighting will help minimize risks, slips, spills and falls, and make it a safer place to be.

If you need kitchen lighting, book a trusted HeyBryan Expert who specializes in handyman or electrical services to help. Each Expert has been vetted, background checked, and approved by the HeyBryan team so you can feel comfortable having an Expert in your home to complete your task safely and efficiently.

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