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Tips for layering kitchen lighting

Your kitchen is where you’re going to entertain, knock-out your best meals, chat about your day with the family, or wind down for the evening, so your lighting needs to be adaptable and fit with your needs; morning, noon and night. When it comes to kitchen lighting there is a huge selection of designs and styles available, all with many different features and suitable for various placements within the available space. 

We make bespoke, hand painted shaker kitchens for customers in Berkshire, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire. We take our time to understand each of our clients’ requirements in detail in order to deliver the best solution for your home. Each household has a unique set of needs to fit their lifestyle; our unparalleled experience, expertise, and craftsmanship enable us to guide our clients every step of the way. 

If you would like to speak to us about your bespoke kitchen and be guided by experts to design and deliver your dream kitchen, make sure you call us on 01344 627150 or email us.

When designing your kitchen, we recommend a layered lighting approach to cater for all of the different uses your kitchen will have to cope with. A layered approach will enable you to accent the design of your kitchen and also illuminate the functional areas as and when they need it.

Let’s look at some of the areas that the choice of lighting can really make a difference to the ambiance of your kitchen. 

The full ceiling, the obvious bit

Spotlights, bars of spotlights, and recessed downlights are the classic choices for many for overall lighting of a kitchen, this type of lighting ensures that light is evenly distributed around the room so that your kitchen is brightly lit, especially for food preparation, easier cleaning or working late evenings in the kitchen. Having a kitchen evenly lit also adds a real airy feel to the room, helping this space to feel clean and open. There is a right balance needed when adding these lights to ensure that it is not over powering or leaving any dark areas, an expert can map this lighting out for you. 

Lighting in and under your cabinets


Lighting inside glass cabinets and adding light underneath your wall cabinets can add another dimension to your kitchen. It can really make your glass-wear or china stand out and bounce light around the room. It is also the perfect lighting for closing down the kitchen after your meal and just enough light to set the mood for a glass of something nice. It’s a perfect low energy light too if you’re just popping in for an evening snack and don’t want to light the whole room. Lights placed below the cabinets can also be used to light up task areas when you’re cooking, helping to see the recipe book, and especially useful to light up the worktops on a gloomy day outside. 

You can also add lights to the plinths and skirtings of your base cabinets to really illuminate the floor space. This can make the room feel bigger and brighter and adding these types of lights when you’ve got a beautiful floor, such as natural or gloss type tiles, can really make them stand out. Lighting around the cabinets can be in strip or spot lights and also wired in by hiding the wires behind the woodwork.

Kitchen island lighting

If you’re lucky enough to have the space for a kitchen island, it’s likely to be the centre focus of your kitchen, and if it’s not set under a skylight bringing natural light in, really utilise this feature for adding lighting to the room. In terms of the layout and what you use the island for, whether that’s sitting around it together or presenting a spread of food on it, a great way to add lighting is in a row with low hanging pendants. By choosing glass pendants this will allow light to reach out to where meals will be set out or by adding more solid shades the light can be focused on the centre where you can beautifully present a spread of food to pick at.

If your island is more of a square use this space to add a feature light by adding a chandelier, or cluster of lights which will bounce light around the room while keeping the focus on your main feature. Ensuring that this area is well lit is key to being the central focus of the room. 

Lighting a little kitchen nook

The type of lighting you would choose here really depends on the style and theme of your kitchen. While this space is best lit by natural light for breakfast or brunch you want to ensure it is cosy and inviting for when you’re having a less formal evening meal. Again, here a low hanging pendant works well, giving a calm feeling to this space. This can be a cluster of glass pendant lights or one big shade driving the light down at the table, all very much depending on your style. If you’re not sure on the light hanging down you can add a wall light, or two if it’s in a corner, to brighten up the space as a ‘nook’ when you don’t want to have the full kitchen lights on. 

Lighting over your beautiful dining table

A lot of people take pride in their dining tables and they are the more formal setting for entertaining at home. A bit like the kitchen island and the nook you can use the area where your dining table is placed to add feature lighting. A more traditional setting would have candles so you’d be looking to have lights up high if this was your style, where others prefer these days to use lighting instead to set the mood. Again, this can be with a central chandelier, glass pendants hanging low in a row or a cluster of lights set in different heights to add texture.

Other ideas…

Coving lighting around the edge of the ceiling or in separate areas 

If your ceilings are low, or your style is quite modern, integrating coving lighting into your kitchen design can make the walls feel taller and rooms much larger. It is also great if natural light is limited. LED bulbs for this type of lighting can be chosen to give off a warm light to make the room feel cosy or a brighter whiter light to bring energy into the space. 

Wall lighting, but isn’t it old fashioned? 

Actually, wall lights now come in a range of different and modern styles and can be an artistic addition to your kitchen, especially to light up cherished artwork or feature walls, and they are also perfect for nooks set in corners with little natural light. In general, for cosy dining at night lights should always point up to create an intimate atmosphere whereas for breakfast lights would generally point down, so a wall light you can adjust is the perfect option to cover all times of day.

A few more tips from us…

Have your lights set and wired to their own switches, and where possible with a dimmer. This will give you the flexibility to change your lighting to fit the mood or have a pre-set control fitted so that you can do this at the push of a button, or even add smart bulbs so you can ask Alexa/Google home to do it for you.

An eco-friendly kitchen is always a top priority also. Aim to use energy efficient bulbs to keep costs low, as your kitchen is likely to be the most power consuming room of the home as it is. 

Many kitchens today are designed to open up and entertain out to the patio or garden, so remember your external lighting can also make a difference to the feel of your kitchen. When deciding your kitchen lighting it is a good idea to consider what you’ve got outside as well. 

Get in Touch

If you are looking to add something special to your home with a custom, handmade kitchen, make sure you get in touch with us. You can call us on 01344 627150 or email us. You can also follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn if you’re looking for inspiration.

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