Kitchen Lighting: How to Create the Perfect Ambiance in Your Cooking Space

The kitchen is your home’s heart and soul. Whether you’re working on a kitchen remodeling project or creating a kitchen for a new construction project, you have many factors to consider. The kitchen lighting design ranks among the most critical factors to keep in mind.

Good lighting matters, as it allows you to perform typical kitchen tasks such as prepping meals and cleaning up safely. In addition, proper lighting adds character to a space and creates a particular mood. Keep reading for a closer look at some of the factors to consider when choosing new lights for your kitchen.


When choosing new kitchen lights, you want to consider the function of each type of light. For example, you can use different layers of light to provide ambient lighting, task lighting, and more. You may also want to add visual appeal to certain areas of your kitchen by installing decorative lights.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lights create a conducive and creative ambiance in the kitchen. You can add ambient lighting in addition to the natural light or fill in for lack thereof. Soft, ambient light will create a warm, welcoming glow and wash your kitchen with light.

Examples of ambient kitchen lights include:

  • Pendant lights
  • Chandeliers
  • Flush mount kitchen ceiling lights
  • Recessed kitchen lights

Task Lighting

Once you install ambient lighting, think about task lighting. Ambient lighting will often cast shadows in areas that require more focus. With task lighting, you can illuminate work surfaces and cabinets for safe meal preparation, easy ingredients spotting, and reading recipes.

Common kitchen task lighting options include puck lights, cabinet lighting, and strip lights.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting predominantly functions as decorative additions to the existing basic lighting. Accent lights create a soft focus on some crucial elements in the kitchen, such as a dramatic kitchen island façade or dining table. There are no hard and fast rules regarding accent lights, so it boils down to personal preference.

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific areas or objects in the kitchen. This type of lighting is usually provided by under-cabinet lights, recessed lights, and track lights. Accent lighting can be used to highlight a beautiful backsplash, a collection of decorative plates, or a piece of art. Use your imagination!

Kitchen Design with Lights

Light layering involves creating different shades of light, using colors, and playing with shadows to highlight a room’s best features. In the kitchen, it means incorporating ambient lighting for general illumination, task lighting for food prep and cooking, and accent lighting to highlight specific features like a piece of art or a gorgeous backsplash.

When it comes to choosing the right kitchen lighting, it’s important to consider the size and layout of your kitchen. For smaller kitchens, it’s best to stick with a combination of task and ambient lighting. In larger kitchens, you can add accent lighting to create a more dramatic effect.


The right kitchen design with lights can set the proper mood for your gatherings and mealtimes. To create your kitchen lighting design, consider what type of mood you want in your kitchen.

For instance, translucent lights create a happy and laid-back mood. Meanwhile, drum-shaped fixtures and rectangular box-shaped lights add interest to the kitchen.

Kelvin Color Temperature Scale

The warmth or coolness of lighting is known as the “color temperature” of the lights. This is technically referred to as the Kelvin Scale. The higher the Kelvin scale is, the “cooler” the light will be. The lower the Kelvin measurement, the “warmer” the light will be. Generally, you want to use warmer lighting for creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Warm lights fall within the 2700K to 3000K range. Cooler color temperatures are best for task lighting. Especially when knives are involved! Cooler lights are within the 4000K to 5000K range. Check the Kelvin temperature chart below to get an idea of what color temperatures lights can have.

Kelvin color temperature scale for kitchen lighting

Kitchen Lighting

Kelvin color temperature scale


When choosing new lights for your kitchen, you can’t afford to overlook efficiency. When shopping for lights, go for bulbs and fixtures that are as energy-efficient as possible while providing the look you want. Energy-efficient lights can help lower your daily energy consumption.

Although energy-efficient light fixtures may have a slightly higher initial cost than traditional incandescent bulbs, the true costs of more frequent bulb replacement and higher energy consumption when you’re budgeting for lighting are essential to consider.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting allows you to control the lighting in all rooms of the house via your phone, tablet, or other electronic device. The most significant advantage of smart lighting is the high level of control.

Take the Next Steps

Proper lighting is essential for any kitchen. It’s important to consider the different types of kitchen lighting, the size and layout of your kitchen, and the color temperature of the lighting. If you take the time to consider all your kitchen lighting options, you’ll be able to create the perfect ambiance in your cooking space.

Royal Kitchen & Bath, your one-stop-shop for all your kitchen and bathroom remodeling needs, offers a wide variety of kitchen lighting options to suit your personal style and needs. Call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our expert designers.