Kitchen Lighting FAQ: Your Top 10 Questions Answered

Nov 22, 2021 | Cabinets, Lighting

To help you finish your kitchen remodeling plans, here are the top 10 questions about kitchen lighting with answers that’ll make your kitchen appealing and functional.

How much should I budget for kitchen lighting?

The cost of kitchen lighting depends on the type you want, but HomeAdvisor puts the average cost of light installation in 2021 at $524. At the upper end, it could cost $1,000 or more. Simple ceiling lights could run around $100, while light bars under cabinets can cost anywhere from $300 to $400.

What types of light fixtures are best for kitchen lighting?

What works in your living room might not be suited for the kitchen. To get a good blend of ambient and directional lighting, consider:

  • Recessed lights and directional recessed lights
  • Decorative pendant lights
  • Multiple wall or ceiling lamp fixtures
  • Cabinet lighting for cabinets with glass doors
  • Track lights
  • Spotlights
  • Under-cabinet lights

What shouldn’t I use for kitchen lighting?

Chandeliers and other large, dangling fixtures can be installed in your kitchen, but only if you have a large, high-ceilinged room. Larger light installations should really only be used above islands and dining room tables.

Any type of floor or table lamp should be avoided. Not only will they get in the way, they’re likely to get broken and create an unnecessary hazard in your kitchen. Otherwise, kitchen lighting options are virtually limitless.

How many light sources do I need in my kitchen?

If you’re planning on using recessed lights, plan to put one four-inch bulb every 4 feet. One large kitchen light fixture, like a chandelier over an island, will probably be enough ambient light, but should be paired with smaller, more directional lights under cabinets so you can see while you wash dishes and prep food.

What color should my kitchen lights be?

Since a kitchen is often both a cooking and gathering area, you have a wide range of colors to choose from. Bright white lights are great over counters. For ambient lights, a soft light with a hint of yellow makes late-night talks around the kitchen table a little more intimate.

To make your kitchen even more inviting, consider red-domed pendant lighting. Red is often thought of as an appetizing color and complements other red accents around your home.

How bright should kitchen lights be?

The right brightness makes all the difference in a kitchen. Generally, a bright light is great for prepping meals and showing off your kitchen’s color scheme. Each bulb should provide 70 to 80 lumens per square foot.

However, you can certainly get brighter lights for the areas above your counters. A 400-lumen LED light fixture provides ample visibility for cooking.

How big should kitchen lights be?

No matter what kind of light fixture you want in your kitchen, it needs to be the right size. A kitchen is an active place — your lighting must reflect that.

Recessed and under-cabinet light size is a matter of preference, but hanging light fixtures should be at least 30 inches above the surface they’re over (a table or counter, for instance). Choosing lights that are much bigger than that is uncomfortable for everyone in the kitchen and makes the room seem more cluttered.

Pendant lights over a counter should be spaced about two feet apart. That means you may want to consider smaller lights for your kitchen to provide enough space to work.

Where should I put kitchen lights?

The abundance of surfaces in a kitchen makes light placement key. With the size of your desired lights in mind, start planning the layout. To get the most out of your kitchen lighting, plan to install two types: ambient and directional.

Ambient lights can go just about anywhere. Flush or semi-flush installations can line the wall near the ceiling. If you have an island, pendant lights or a bar of chandelier lights over it add a touch of elegance.

Directional lighting should be placed above counters, sinks and anywhere you’re working with food. If you have cabinets above your counters, under-cabinet LED lights are un-intrusive and bright. If not, pendant lights illuminate your counters while adding decorative flair.

How can I match kitchen lights with my décor?

Now that we’ve established the rules for proper kitchen lighting, it’s time to get creative. From rustic to modern, there’s a world of light fixtures, styles and finishes to explore.

For a contemporary yet classic look, an Ida pendant light with a bronze frame and clear glass dome accents a variety of styles.

If rustic is more your style, a small chandelier made of dark wood and iron with exposed bulbs will turn your kitchen into a chic country cookery.

To keep a kitchen clutter-less and minimalist, recessed ceiling lights paired with under-cabinet lighting makes for a well-lit room with virtually invisible light sources.

Undecided about the kitchen look you want? Find inspiration from this collection of 65 kitchen lighting ideas to find a style that suits you and your lifestyle.

Should I hire professional kitchen remodelers or install kitchen lighting myself?

The great thing about modern kitchen lighting is that there are a number of solutions you can easily install yourself. LED strips and lights placed under your cabinets can transform a boring kitchen. However, if you plan on doing much more than that, you should hire professionals.

A kitchen is full of obstacles. It’s where the electrical, plumbing and gas lines in your home all come together. Running wires to new kitchen lights can get complicated. You need a professional to navigate your kitchen remodel safely and efficiently to get the best result for you. 

Let RH Homes handle your kitchen lighting and remodeling needs

At RH Homes, we’ve been delighting homeowners with high-quality kitchen remodels in Columbus, Ohio, for over 16 years. From kitchen flooring to kitchen lighting and everything in between, our team of experienced craftsmen and passionate designers will transform your kitchen into a space you’ll love spending time in.

Not ready to dive in? Check out our gallery of kitchen remodels we’ve done in the past or contact us today for a free estimate on kitchen lighting and remodeling. We’re here to make your kitchen ambitions come true.