How to Choose the Best Kitchen Light Fixtures

In most residences, kitchens are considered “the heart” of the home. That’s because the kitchen is usually where friends and family gather, where meals are shared, and everyone enjoys hanging out together. Kids will do their homework on the kitchen island, and adults might pay bills at the counter. It’s also where families and couples take time to talk with each other at the beginning and end of every day.

Because kitchens are constantly in use, choosing the appropriate kitchen light fixtures that will function the best for this space is important. 

However, the proper lighting is often an overlooked aspect of the kitchen design, even though it can significantly impact the room’s look and how we feel when we’re there. Plus, it’s often the last thing the homeowner thinks about with their kitchen remodeling project, and if the budget is getting stretched, it’s often the first to be cut. 

There are many things to consider when choosing new kitchen light fixtures. The most important consideration is that the homeowner must understand how light functions in this space. Believe it or not, there are four different ways to use light in a kitchen, which are very important.

The Type of Kitchen Lights Makes a Big Difference

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An essential aspect of any home is its lighting. The best lighting can set the mood and help with tasks such as cleaning and cooking. But because there are so many styles and types of light fixtures, you must select the correct fixture for each area and each use.

Keep in mind, too, the amount of light you will need. For a small kitchen, an overhead light and some task lights may be all that’s necessary. In a larger kitchen, you’ll probably need lights at various brightness levels and in several areas. Take into consideration the amount of natural light the room gets as well.

This may seem daunting – especially when reviewing all the available options for kitchen light fixtures. But by taking your time, understanding the different types and functions of lights, and assessing your needs, you won’t have any problem choosing the ideal fixtures for your newly remodeled kitchen.

Most homeowners don’t realize that the proper lighting in their kitchen is more important than just about anywhere else in their home. It can help you avoid accidents, be more productive, and make the space look and feel warmer and more welcoming.

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Here are three general things to keep in mind regarding the kitchen light fixtures for your home. 

  • Does the fixture offer enough light? As you are preparing food, can you see what you’re doing? You don’t want to strain your eyes or cut your fingers if the room is too dim.
  • On the other hand, is the light too bright? Florescent bulbs can be very harsh, make a buzzing sound, and give food a strange color. Dinner is less appealing if the green beans aren’t green! Instead, try LED lights.
  • Ensure the kitchen lights are installed so they won’t create dark spots. If you only have a ceiling light behind you as you cook, you may work in your own – or someone else’s – shadow.

Choose the Ideal Kitchen Light Fixture

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of sizes, shapes, and types of light fixtures. To function well and look stylish simultaneously, the kitchen needs to be lit properly, which means having more than a few fancy lights installed on the ceiling. The best lighting plan considers all of the architectural and working details of the room to offer the ideal illumination for the homeowner. 

Before you search for the best kitchen light fixtures, here are three questions to answer first.

  • What is the layout and size of the space? Do you need general lighting or something more focused to help with specific tasks? How many lights will you need in total to illuminate every area?
  • What is the style of your kitchen? Is your home more traditional or modern? Be sure to select something that will blend with the rest of your home’s décor, especially if you have an open floor plan. 
  • What is your budget? Set a realistic dollar amount because kitchen light fixtures can get expensive. Shop around at various stores and keep an eye out for sales.

Understanding the Four Layers of Light

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In everyone’s home, the kitchen is used very differently than the rest of the house. To properly illuminate it, there are four necessary and key “layers.” It’s important to understand how these four layers work together to do the best job of lighting the kitchen. The four layers are:

  • Task Lighting
  • Ambient
  • Accent Lights
  • Decorative Lighting

Although no single style of kitchen light fixture can do everything, some may overlap in their lighting responsibilities. Here are some examples of how each layer is used.

Task Lighting: These lights are used to help brighten workspaces such as in a pantry closet (to see the food more clearly), around the stove when cooking, or over a work area for meal prep. 

Task lighting is especially important in spaces that require accuracy and fastidiousness. For example, you may add lights under an upper cabinet to illuminate the counter or install pendants to focus light over the island. Using only a ceiling fixture will cast shadows where you are trying to work.

Ambient or General Lighting: This is for light that will bounce off the ceiling and gently fill the room. Ambient lighting helps to create a feeling of an inviting and warm space. However, the kitchen won’t be bright enough to cook or wash dishes if you only use ambient lights. Plus, the room will have no depth, and everything may look boring and flat. 

Additionally, ambient lights installed above the upper cabinets or along the toe kick of base cabinets can also serve as a night light. You can walk through the kitchen without stumbling or bumping into anything when it’s dark. 

Accent Lights: Accent lights help to highlight specific areas and add dimension around the room. Use adjustable track lights or recessed lights. This pinpoints and highlights an architectural oven hood or some artwork or uses lights pointed toward the glass doors of a cabinet to show off a pottery collection. 

However, be aware that if you only use accent lights throughout the space, the kitchen will look like a museum with all the artifacts lit up! As more homes are being built or remodeled with an open floor plan, decorative objects often blend into the kitchen space from the living area. This will need special lighting.

Decorative Lights: A decorative light for your kitchen is like adding jewelry to your favorite little black dress. This kind of lighting aims to add an exciting touch to your kitchen and bring attention to itself. Think about adding a beautiful chandelier or crystal sconces on the walls. Drum-shaped fixtures and rectangle or box-shaped shades are becoming more popular and can add interest. 

Be aware that this kind of lighting is related to the size of the room. The larger the space, the more or the larger a fixture can be. However, although you want to illuminate the room, decorative lights are mostly just pretty! 

Does all of this information feel overwhelming? Don’t worry – no matter how large or small your kitchen is, different light layers can still be used. As mentioned above, some fixtures can take on more than one function. For example, ambient lights can also be quite decorative. Some decorative pendant lights can be task lights, too. 

Four Strategies to Find the Perfect Kitchen Light Fixtures

Lighting systems can be tricky, and finding the perfect kitchen light fixtures for your remodeling project may sometimes be impossible. 

However, you can create a functional, beautiful, and well-lit space with some professional guidance.

Here are four strategies to help you choose the ideal lights for your kitchen for preparing and cooking meals and to make guests feel welcome in your home at the same time. 

  1. What is the Purpose of these Lights?

Determine how the new lights will be used. Do you need better task lighting in specific spaces? Would the kitchen feel more welcoming with additional ambient light? Once you understand how you want to use the lighting, it will be easier to find the right fixture. You can ignore anything you don’t need and focus on what you need.

  1. How Much Light Do You Need?

Do you have lots of windows and natural sunlight in your kitchen? Or does it feel dark and cave-like? The space size will determine how many lights you need and how bright the bulbs should be. Your kitchen should be a place where you and your family enjoy spending time together, not where you dread going. 

3. What Style Of Fixture do You Want?

As you may have already discovered, there are many styles, sizes, and shapes of kitchen light fixtures, each with unique benefits. Before shopping, narrow your choices and think about what will work best in each area. Do you prefer track lighting or recessed? Do you want several pendant lights along an island or peninsula, or do you only need one? Do you want a crystal chandelier in the center or something more practical? Do you want to light above or below your upper cabinets?

Keep in mind that your kitchen light fixtures should be compatible with the décor in the rest of your home. They don’t need to match exactly, but they should relate – especially with today’s open floor plans. For example, look for lights with minimal design and clean lines if you have a modern home. 

With a traditional home, consider classic shapes, warm finishes, and a touch of elegance. Think about adding pendants with woven shades or something textural in a more casual home. Look at your home as a whole and coordinate the finishes from one room to the next.

4. What About Bulbs?

The right light bulbs will offer energy efficiency and the correct wattage. For general ambient lighting, CFL or LED bulbs are the best options. A higher-wattage bulb will be necessary for task areas that need brighter illumination, like over the sink.

The color the lightbulb emits is important, too. A cool white light is better for task spaces, and a warm white light offers a more inviting environment. Some bulbs can mimic sunlight and be used anywhere in the house. Once you know what “mood” you want in your kitchen, you can narrow your choices. You may also want to add more windows to your kitchen remodeling project for more light and a bright and airy atmosphere.

Start Shopping for Your Kitchen Light Fixtures with Design Tech Remodeling

Working with a professional interior designer is the best way to avoid getting overwhelmed by too many decisions and choices. Fortunately, Design Tech Remodeling has a NARI-certified in-house designer who can help. Together, you can create the perfect custom lighting plan and find the ideal fixtures for your kitchen remodeling project. You will be guided throughout the entire process and ensured quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The Design Tech Remodeling professionals will create the elegant, functional, and perfectly illuminated kitchen of your dreams. This award-winning remodeling firm can help you achieve your goals through its innovative ideas, excellent expertise, and unmatched customer service. They are also committed to ensuring every client is happy with the outcome.

Best of all, when you remodel your home with stylish upgrades, you can enhance your lifestyle and add value to your residence at the same time.

Based in Mequon, Design Tech Remodeling has been a full-service kitchen remodeler for residents across the greater Milwaukee community in southeastern Wisconsin for the past 25 years. They are also outstanding bathroom and basement remodelers.

There are endless possibilities for kitchen designs, lighting plans, and fixtures. Take your time to explore many options before choosing the ideal remodeler and the perfect kitchen light fixtures. 

But the two most important tips of all: Don’t forget to have fun, and contact Design Tech Remodeling today! Call for your appointment with the best high-quality, award-winning luxury home remodeler in southeastern Wisconsin. Start the renovations you’ve been dreaming about. You can trust your home with the experts.

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