kitchen remodel

A Guide to Planning the Best (and Most Magical) Lighting for Your Kitchen Remodel

There’s no doubt decorative lighting has taken center stage in kitchen design.  From gorgeous pendant lights to wonderful wall mounted sconces, design is in every last detail of the kitchen design process.  Follow these tips to creating a sparkling space with the perfect light for every task. 

Assessing your kitchen

The first step in planning a lighting installation is understanding the functions of your kitchen, and how the light will interact within your space. There are three types of lighting: General, task, and accent. Each one needs to be understood before you tackle a lighting plan in a kitchen renovation.

kitchen remodel

Recessed light fixtures are an excellent way to introduce general light to a kitchen. Their simplistic design also forces your attention to the stunning chandelier hanging above the island kitchen.

Credit: Spacecrafting Photography

General lighting

General lighting is exactly what its name suggests. It provides broad, primary light for the room. The purpose of general lighting is to emit soft and blanketed illumination without being too harsh and bright. It is also commonly referred to as ambient lighting since it directly influences the overall tone and mood of the room.

A great example of a functional yet stylish general lighting is recessed lighting. Recessed lighting is an attractive choice because of its minimalistic design while also providing enough light without demanding too much attention. This gives you room for choosing more decorative pieces for your task and accent lighting.

kitchen remodel

These mauve colored pendant lights add just the perfect amount of task lighting above this kitchen’s work area, all the while giving just the right amount of contrast to this clean, midcentury modern kitchen renovation.

Credit: Spacecrafting Photography

Task lighting

Task lighting is a much smaller source of light compared to general lighting because it’s designed to provide lighting in specific work areas. This type of lighting highlights particular workspaces (i.e., above the stove, under a cabinet, above an island), and is installed for more practical uses. The purpose is to provide direct, contrasting light to maximize productivity in the designated space.

Task lighting works very well in a room that has many dark corners, which is common in kitchens due to shadows from cabinetry. Under-cabinet lights give you just the right amount of light to be able to see where to clean and what you are preparing for dinner, so they are an excellent choice for task lighting.

Another common form of task lighting in kitchens is an overhead light above a kitchen island. This gives an opportunity to experiment with decorative pieces, such as pendant lighting, which will really make a statement and bring out the beauty of your kitchen. 

kitchen remodel

While these fixtures could be considered task lighting, the continuation of the colorful and intricate design that mimics the mural behind really makes these lights stand out, making them a focal point of this kitchen.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting offers even more concentrated light compared to task lighting, but its purpose differs. While task lighting is functional lighting, accent lighting is decorative. The primary role of accent lighting is to provide a focal point for the room, by illuminating a specific object or part of the room, such as artwork, photos, or to bring out the natural beauty of your home’s unique architecture, or to bring attention to the light fixture itself.

Once you’ve evaluated which types of lighting are necessary for your kitchen to remodel, it’s time to map out your light plan for the right lighting fixtures. Traditionally, lighting was necessary for its practical uses. But with innovations in design and functionality, you can create a magical yet effective lighting experience right in your kitchen.


An example of a lighting plan blueprint created by the experts at Crystal Kitchen + Bath.

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