The Quick and Easy 5-Step Guide to Picture-Perfect Kitchen Lighting

When remodeling a kitchen, most homeowners tend to focus on getting new appliances, adding new hardware, installing new cupboards, or (for those with deep pockets) adding a kitchen island. Lighting, however, is not a priority, which is unfortunate because the right kind of lighting can transform the entire look of your kitchen.

Most Scottsdale homeowners look at kitchen lighting from a utilitarian standpoint (i.e. it lets you see what you’re doing). But with the right lighting, you can ensure your kitchen isn’t just well-lit and safe to work in, it also looks good—your countertops sparkle, your décor pops, and your kitchen actually looks inviting.

With that being said, here are 5 ways to nail down your kitchen lighting.

1. Plan Ahead

The first step of creating your lighting plan is determining how many light fixtures you need in the kitchen, which in turn, will make it easier to figure out how many bases and junction boxes you will need for your project. And even if you can’t afford to install those nice pendant lights over your center island now, go ahead and add three junction boxes during the remodel anyway. You can always add fixtures anytime—junctions, not so much.

2. Avoid Glare

Most homeowners place one or two very bright overhead lights on their ceiling to light the entire kitchen. This approach, however, can create a lot of glare and overpower the kitchen. It also makes the kitchen look bright in one area (usually directly beneath the light fixture) and dim in the rest. Instead, mix up your light sources so you have an even distribution of light in your kitchen.

This brings us to the next step.

3. Layer Your Lights

A well-lit kitchen has multiple light sources arranged in 3 layers:

1. General lighting is your primary source of lighting in the kitchen. This layer is usually composed of your overhead or ceiling lights.

2. Task lighting casts light on your work areas, allowing you to do food prep, fry, boil, broil, and bake meals under full visibility. Examples of task lights include track lights and under-cabinet lights

3. Ambient or decorative lights give your kitchen touches of warmth and help eliminate shadows. Examples of ambient lights are wall sconces, chandeliers (which also double as general lighting fixtures), and small pendant lights.

4. Install Dimmer

A dimmer lets you adjust the brightness of your lighting, allowing you to create different lighting effects depending on what you’re doing in the kitchen. For example, if you want to have a cup of coffee early in the morning, you can turn your lights down low so you don’t hurt your eyesight. Take note, however, that not all lights are compatible with dimming controllers. For best results, install LED light bulbs, which will work with most third-party dimmers.

5. Get Professional Help or Use Design Tools

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong hiring a lighting designer to design the layout of your kitchen lighting and recommend the best light fixtures for your needs. A designer can study your kitchen’s layout and design elements, such as surface finish, ceiling height, and natural light to determine the placement, type, and number of light fixtures you need for the space. You can also use online design tools to help you get an idea of which light fixtures work best for your kitchen.

Keep these lighting tips in mind during your kitchen remodel to create a space you will actually enjoy spending time in.