Love Your Home: See Your Kitchen In A Better Light

Love Your Home: See Your Kitchen In A Better Light

Kitchens are often multi-function rooms, making lighting challenging. You need the right light for cutting, chopping and reading recipes; catching up with the family and maybe providing a little homework help; and even dining when it’s not a formal affair. The best way to tackle the challenge is to break it into parts—ambient or overall lighting, task lighting and accent lights. Often one type of fixture performs two of the three. Here’s how I broke it down for a few recent clients:

Kathy Corbet Interiors designed this kitchen.

Let’s start with general lighting. Rather than relying on one central fixture, you want light throughout the space so you can work, search cabinets and see any and every crumb, but you don’t want to be overwhelmed with anything to harsh or overwhelming.

Notice how the kitchen above has a nice, all over light feeling that isn’t too harsh or bright. Recessed lighting is one of my favorite recommendations for general lighting because you can get the right amount of light exactly where you need it. Consult an electrician for placement. About 30 inches from walls with cabinetry is a good starting point.

Kathy Corbet Interiors Kitchen.

Sometimes recessed lighting just isn’t an option, so tracks are another good choice. If there is not a convenient place to conceal it then it make it decorative as well as functional.

I get the most questions about island and peninsula lights. One larger fixture or several small fixtures can do the trick. Remember you are not performing surgery here, you just need to read a cookbook. Avoid fabric shades—these are tough to clean and age quickly as a result. The pendants should be mounted 60 to 66 inches from the bottom of the shade to the floor.

To add a little style and color, table lamps can serve as an unexpected alternative to hanging lights on an island or peninsula.

Kitchen designed for entertaining.

Under cabinet lighting is a great way to light the surface you need to work on. It also beautifully accents the beautiful countertop you painfully selected during the design process.

I almost never recommend florescent lighting—it is the best for aging eyes that want to work, but flattens the depth and beauty of natural stone and quartz counter tops. fixture is from:

Dining lights in the kitchen follow the same formulas as the ones for your dining room: about 12 inches smaller than the narrowest part of the dining table. This Curry & Company chandelier is mounted about 30” over the top of the table.

Want to let an expert take the trouble out of kitchen lighting? Contact me and I’ll find the perfect formula.


Kathy Corbet Interiors is thrilled to be featured in the upcoming book Inspired Interiors. Browse some of our most beautiful spaces alongside the work of other leading interior designers and start imagining your dream home.