Kitchen Lighting – Five Tips from Laura Mitchell, New Zealand’s Newest Lighting Designer!

Kitchen Lighting – Five Tips from Laura Mitchell, New Zealand’s Newest Lighting Designer!

The kitchen has become a primary area for gathering and entertaining! It’s important to light this space for more than just functionality, but also for visual appeal. A layered lighting plan is your best option if you wish to create an inviting atmosphere. Here are a few lighting options you may want to consider.

1. LEDs are great for energy efficiency and task lighting. Use a wide beam angle – 120deg – recessed downlight to create shadow free task lighting for your work space area, and an approximately 10W fitting for a standard ceiling height of 2.4 meters.  

2. Under cabinet LED lights are also great for task lighting your bench space. Switch these separately from your overhead recessed lights! This is so they can be left on after the cooking is done and creates a great effect – especially if you’re trying to highlight a feature splash back.

3. Over cabinet lighting is a great effect and will make the room appear larger but I would not recommend this with a gap less than 300mm.

4. The simplest way to create interest in a kitchen is of course pendant lights over your kitchen island.   This has become almost standard in any new kitchen in NZ now so get creative with the number and style of pendants, and the heights.  For me there is no “rules” to hanging pendants in the kitchen. However, there are a few guidelines I do like to follow which I will talk about in my next blog as it is a whole different topic!

5. Wall lights can be a great alternative to pendants to create interest. Mounted above or beside the windows, over the kitchen sink, or on a blank wall space.

But of course the biggest thing to remember with any interior is don’t over do it. Kitchens are commonly an over lit area so to avoid this I would choose a maximum of three of the above lighting solutions in a small kitchen, and switch each lighting feature separately.


If you would like to discuss any topics mentioned here or need help with lighting your kitchen don’t hesitate to contact Social Light.