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Kitchen lighting: Advice on completing the look.

Lighting, one of the most crucial elements of any kitchen design. Careful though must be given to positioning, brightness, style, and colour in order to create a scheme that works well and looks great.

LED lighting has all but replaced halogen in recent times, they are typically more expensive than halogen but are more cost effective in the long run. LED lights are usually guaranteed to run for 30,000 + hours and are far cheaper to run. For example, the light output of a 50W halogen bulb is equivalent to that from an LED using only 6.5W.

In choosing the right lighting you will need to consider the following:


The brightness of LED light is measured in lumens (lm) which denotes the amount of visible light emitted from source. The lumens required to adequately illuminate a kitchen will depend on various factors:

  • The size and shape of the room
  • The height of the ceiling
  • The colour of the walls, furniture, and floor
  • Number of dedicated workspaces


A typical kitchen requires approx. 650lm to adequately light ‘task’ areas.


The ‘colour temperature’ of LED lighting is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale of 1,000 – 10,000. You can see from the image below that lights with 1,000 – 3,000k have an orange / yellow glow, those in the middle have a cool white appearance and those at the opposite end of the scale have a crisp blue hue.

Infographic of light colour temperatures


Kitchen lighting is commonly supplied in three colour temperatures:

Warm White: 2,500 – 3,000k

Neutral White: 4,000k

Cool / Daylight White: 6,000 – 6,500k

Warm white is often used to create a sense of warmth and works well as feature or mood lighting. Neutral white works well in kitchens where there is plenty of natural light and wooden elements.

Daylight White is perfect for preparation spaces and modern kitchens with dark walls and furniture.

The best light to work under is around 5,500-6,500k as this puts less stress on the eyes and prevents fatigue.

Ceiling Lights Image showing ceiling coffer lighting

Ceiling spots are a great way to illuminate your kitchen, together they will illuminate the whole room, they can be can also be positioned to highlight key focal points and working areas.

To reduce shadow, spots should be positioned approx. 700mm away from the edges of the room and spaced apart at intervals of approx. 800/900mm. It may be a good idea to consider dimmable spots so that you can adjust the brightness to suit, this is particularly useful if your space is open plan. You may also want to consider a recessed or box coffer in the ceiling to incorporate a soft ambient light.

Furniture Task Lighting

The main preparation and cooking areas of your kitchen should be evenly lit, if wall units are above this space, LED strip lighting or spots can be fitted under the units to illuminate the space. When using strip lighting, it is a good idea to use a diffuser to cover the light. This prevents glare from the diodes, both at eye level and from the reflection in a polished worksurface.

Image showing Sensio cob lights   Image showing Sensio strip lighting

Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights are a great way to introduce lighting over an island, peninsula or breakfast bar whilst adding a personal, stylish touch. Consider the brightness and colour of the bulbs that you use and choose a solution suitable for the purpose of the light, daylight for tasks lighting, neutral or warm for ambience and mood.

Image of a kitchen in Surrey with beautiful pendant lights over the island

Ambient Lighting / Profile Lighting

As well as light coffers and drop ceilings, profile lighting is a great way to introduce low-level ambient light to your space. Illuminate shadow gaps over wall units with an ‘up-lighting’ effect, add strips or spotlights to kickboards or, if you have a handle-less profile on your base units, light the space under the worktop.

Image showing plinth kitchen lighting
Plinth lighting
Image showing handless rail lighting
Handleless rail lighting
Image showing uplighting in a kitchen


View our knowledge centre for more articles on how to find your kitchen utopia.

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