A 6-Step Guide to Lighting up your Kitchen

three bulbs lighting up kitchen island

Lighting up your kitchen involves more than a decorative pendant over your kitchen island. The Kitchen has become firmly entrenched as a mini work-hub: It’s where we sort mail, read, do our homework, prepare signature meals for a special occasion, and gather with our friends after dinner parties. This multi-functional, highly visible space needs layers of illumination to make it really shine, and this article will go over the different stages of how to light up your kitchen.

First up: Let’s break the kitchen up into individual task areas 

2018 is seeing a shift towards decorative pendant lighting, organic lights (eco-friendly, cheap, lightweight systems that use organic compounds to generate light), but taking a green approach shouldn’t exclude a well-planned, task-based, functional execution of your space’s lighting.

Imagine yourself in the kitchen; think about whatever you normally do there and where you do it: cabinets, drawers, countertops, pathways. 

Lighting Kitchen Cabinet Interiors: Opt for Light Channels instead of LEDs

Light doesn’t only belong inside a fridge – adding light to your cabinets allows you to easily scan what’s inside, assess whether it needs tidying, and makes it infinitely easier for guests to search for stuff – especially if unfamiliar to your kitchen.

LEDs are a favourite go-to for Maltese new homeowners, but we suggest considering Light Channels instead. The white diffuser lens projects a clean line of light and eliminates LED dots, while the clear lens provides maximum light levels. To decrease shadows, install on the underside of each shelf, a couple of inches from the door of the cabinet. It’s usually available in a wide variety of lengths and is easy to install.

light channel strip

What about individual decorations, china, or glassware?

If you want to draw a visitor’s eye to certain small decor pieces, a china set, or glassware, we suggest LED Puck lights to create an isolated pool of light. Their compact size and easy installation make Pucks attractive to homeowners considering a simple remodel.

Puck lights

Lighting Kitchen Drawers – No glare, just sparkle

The same argument with cabinets is valid for drawer: they deserve light. Pair a simple LED soft strip to light up your silverware, utensils, and glassware. Unlike with cabinets, it is unlikely you will get glare in a drawer – this means the light coming off from your LED strip will not take the shape of dots on the surfaces, and you do not need a diffused lens. Wire motion sensors to the led strip – it is cheap and tremendously useful. 

Countertops: Matte vs Shiny

If the countertop surface is matte, LED pucks or dots can be used for kitchen under-cabinet lighting (right above the countertop). Centre pucks under upper cabinets and space them evenly to create a seamless spread of light. Placing them roughly 20 inches apart is recommended.

If the countertop surface has a shiny surface, say marble or granite, a more diffused light source is needed to avoid reflected glare. If you’ve been paying attention, this should be easy to guess: a light channel is ideal for under cabinet lighting. 

Kitchen island: A bit of both worlds

The kitchen island is often where we go for attractive decorative fixtures like pendants, but beware the pendants distribute light in all directions – for adequate illumination on your kitchen island countertop, focused beams of light are ideal. Have a look at adjustable accent heads or recessed fixtures to provide ample light for the kitchen island. If you don’t want to let go of a shiny pendant, you shouldn’t: consider getting a monorail and get both accent heads and pendants on the same rail. 

The accent heads will provide directional light, and pendants will look pretty. It is a win-win. P.S: If you use 2-Circuit Monorail, you can wire the heads and pendants on separate dimmer switches for ultimate lighting control.

If you’re trying to go for something a bit more minimal or infuse an industrial aura: a Kable Lite spanning the space over a kitchen island gives you the same flexibility of adjustable accents with pendants

Toe Kick Lighting

One thing a great majority forget to do when planning lighting for the kitchen is to simply look down. One of the best ways to define your kitchen space is to add lighting around the perimeter of the space. Toe kick lighting goes underneath the lower cabinets and below the kitchen island, and is a simple and elegant way to emphasize the kitchen area, provide pathway lighting, and create a dazzling and unique effect during nighttime. 

Before you head off and start buying, take a survey of the kitchen floor: Is it matte or shiny? High-gloss floors reflect the individual dots within LED strip lighting, so shiny floors call for more diffused light. Finally, don’t forget to put your toe kick lighting on a different switch or dimmer to the rest of your kitchen lights to control it separately and reduce energy consumption during the daytime.

kitchen toe kick lighting

What about your kitchen lighting – How does it compare?

Cabinets, drawers, countertops, and pathways – have you got each area covered with lighting, or is your approach different from ours? We want to know what you think.