Interiors advice - choosing the right lighting for your kitchen

PUBLISHED: 12:10 23 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:10 23 March 2014

Working areas need higher levels of light

Working areas need higher levels of light


Your kitchen is the heart of your home. As most kitchens are now open plan and part of a wider living and dining space, it has never been so important to get the lighting right.

Under cupboard lightingUnder cupboard lighting

Kitchens tend to have few windows as the walls have units on them, so even during the day they can be darker than you’d like. To make your kitchen feel airier try placing light sources on top of your wall cabinets. This produces a light which has been reflected off the ceiling and will lift the whole room.

To avoid damaged fingers, working areas need higher levels of light (lumen levels). A professional kitchen has a minimum of 500lux so why compromise in your own kitchen? Use a high quality LED or halogen under cabinet fitting to provide light where you need it. You also get the added bonus of ambient low level lighting under the cabinets when the space is being used for dining.

In most rooms in a house we would usually recommend clients avoid the use of recessed spotlights as their primary light source. However, the kitchen is the exception to this rule. In a kitchen recessed fittings are a great way to introduce high levels of illumination combined with the ability for accurate positioning. You don’t want to be chopping or cooking in your own shadow. A warm white light works nicely for this purpose as the colour of the light is not too cold/blue, or warm/orange. In a professional environment a cooler light would be more suitable, but remember this is your home!

If your kitchen is going to have an island or table try adding a feature pendant. Consider supplement the spotlights with secondary circuits e.g. wall or floor lamps, which will allow you to create atmosphere. Adding feature lights to the kick-boards at the base of your units adds another dimension.

A good guide is to budget 5% of the total cost of the kitchen for functional lighting, with decorative pieces to suit your overall budget and design taste.

This article was contributed by Lighthaus Wilmslow

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