The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need for Kitchen Lighting

Last modified on December 26th, 2018 at 3:23 pm

6 min read

Ignorance is no longer bliss. Light up your kitchen perfectly with the necessary fixtures and you will be amazed with the difference they make. Here’s the best kitchen lighting advice you can get for Indian homes!

under cabinet kitchen lighting
Image: Courtesy MuseLAB Design Engine

Gone are the days when every Indian kitchen would include a single tubelight and you would consider your job done! Now that we are more aware about the health benefits of good lighting, it is essential that your modern kitchen is well lit—and in all the right spots. Don’t worry, you can do this without being too fancy or adding too many kitchen light fixtures. All you need is our guide to kitchen lighting and ideas to illuminate your kitchen perfectly.

Here’s what this post will help you with:

  • The different ways to light up a kitchen: General, Task, Decorative Hanging and Cabinet.
  • How to use each type of kitchen lighting the best, aka the best kitchen lighting design ideas.
  • How much brightness is required for each type of kitchen lighting.
  • Why you should choose LED kitchen lighting.

So, what are the different ways to light up a kitchen?

1. General Lighting

An absolute must is general lighting. These are lights that uniformly light up the entire kitchen, whether big or small. Your quintessential tubelight did that for you earlier but the options are much more sophisticated now.

ceiling kitchen lighting
Interior Design by UrbanClap Professional Home Makers Interior Designers & Decorators

How to use them best:

  • General kitchen light fittings work best when recessed in the ceiling without any obstructive object—like a fan, pendant lights or overhead storage—in their radius.
  • In the absence of a false ceiling, use wall-mounted light fixtures so that the light distributes uniformly in the room. In such a kitchen lighting layout, you can either use two light fixtures at opposite ends or a central light fixture (depending on the size of the room).
general kitchen lighting
Interior Design by UrbanClap Professional Spaced Out

However, general lighting alone is insufficient.

2. Task Lighting

Task lighting, which is placed mostly over countertops and under cabinets, eliminates shadows and gives you a good view of your work surface. As the name suggests, it ensures that you have enough light while chopping vegetables or tackling any other prep work. Under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen also helps you identify the quality of fresh produce, read labels on jars and so on.

How to use them best:

  • Fix them below the overhead storage in the kitchen in such a way that the internal wiring is hidden and the switches are close to the light.
  • You can also run an LED kitchen strip light along the overhead storage—discreetly though—to create continuous, linear task lighting over the counter. (below)
  • The number of light fixtures will depend on the length of the counter. In case of budget constraints or limited light points, a good idea is to add task lighting only for the main prep zone—this would ideally be close to the stove. 

Protip: Did you know you can add task lighting over your stove top too? Choose a chimney with inbuilt LED lights to ensure that you get a better view of the colours and textures of your food. It makes a world of difference!

kitchen chimney lights
Left: Interior Design by UrbanClap Professional Zero9. Right: Photography by Palak Mittal

3. Decorative Hanging Kitchen Lighting

Decorative hanging kitchen lights, like pendants and chandeliers, are perfect for island or breakfast counters. These lend an inviting vibe to the space. Don’t dismiss them as frivolous. They function as task lights too, besides adding a warm design element to an otherwise highly functional space.

decorative kitchen lighting
Photography by Shine Parsana

How to use them best:

  • Place decorative lights, like chandeliers or pendant lights, above kitchen island counters used for prepping food.
  • Kitchen island pendant lights are perfect above breakfast counters too.
  • These work best in sets. Depending on the length of the counter, place more than one kitchen pendant light in one line.
  • Pendant lights should be positioned roughly 30-34 inches above the counter.

The key to getting your kitchen lighting right is to layer it—ambient lights for general illumination, task lights for focused chores, and accent lights for design and flair.

Also Read: 15+ Indian Kitchen Design Images from Real Homes

4. Cabinet Lighting

Cabinet lighting helps you browse through the otherwise dark storage spaces easily. Often, these lights switch on automatically when you open the shutter, and switch off when you close the kitchen cabinet. These are perfect for high-end kitchens. However, one can choose to include these only for corner storages or under-the-counter cabinets, if budget is an issue.

How to use them best:

  • Identify the requirement, if any, for cabinet lighting at the start of your kitchen construction or renovation stage. This is because cabinet lighting needs internal wiring within the carcass.
  • Automated lights are your best options.

Also Read: 9+ Kitchen Cabinet Design Ideas That Will Leave You Impressed

BONUS! Lumen Chart for LED Kitchen Lighting

This is a comparative chart to show:

a. How much lumen (brightness of a bulb) is required for each type of kitchen lighting;

b. How much energy is consumed by both LED and CFL lights to produce a required amount of lumen.

Type

Lumen
(per sq-ft) 
LED
(in watts) 
CFL
(in watts) 

 General Kitchen Lighting
(for a 100 sq-ft space)

5 9-12W

13-15W

Task Kitchen Lighting

50 4-5W 9-13W
Pendant Kitchen Lighting 20 3-4W

4-9W

So, why should you opt for LED kitchen lights?

  • Helps you save power and electricity bills.
  • Provides glare-free illumination.
  • Lasts longer.
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

So, there you have it. If you sort out these four kitchen lighting essentials, there’s no stopping your cookspace from not only being extremely useful and functional but also instantly pleasing.

What other quick guides would you like to read? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll write them for you!

Meanwhile, explore more than 2,500 modular kitchen design ideas and pictures for inspiration.

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