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Handy Lighting Tips for a Stunning Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design and Style

Step into any circa-1990s kitchen and turn on the lights. Chances are you'll be greeted by the harsh glare of blue-white fluorescent light bars. Ugh! If that’s not enough to make you appreciate the beauty of thoughtful lighting design, we insist you visit our Kitchen Magic Gallery. Here, you'll find inspiration for custom cabinets, under-cabinet lighting, and other modern lighting options that can transform your kitchen into a warm and inviting space.

Pendant Lights in a White Kitchen

Why is kitchen lighting important?

Lighting shouldn't be an afterthought. Among other things, certain lighting options need to be accounted for before cabinetry is installed. Also, like other aspects of kitchen design—lighting plans should be personalized to your kitchen's workflow and daily schedules.

Plan your lighting needs from the very start of your remodel project, and you'll get to enjoy expertly installed, reliable lighting fixtures that provide exactly the quality of light required from dusk until dawn, and back to dusk again.

Pendant Lights in a White Kitchen

First Function, Then Form

Think in terms of layers or levels

  • Upper-level lighting: illuminates from the top-down and is usually provided via recessed can lights.
  • Mid-level lighting: These fixtures provide both task light and/or ambient glow - and consist of chandeliers and other suspended fixtures, as well as under cabinet or interior cabinet lighting.
  • Lower-level lighting: Toe-kick lighting is a wonderful night and early-morning source of illumination, and can also highlight a kitchen island or peninsula that might otherwise be a source for stubbed toes or bumped hips in the dark.

Once you've determined the levels of light that are required for your kitchen, we ask clients to consider lighting in terms of these categories, defined below.

Track Lighting in a White Kitchen

What is the most effective kitchen lighting?

Daylighting. Often overlooked, the right amount (and proper placement) of windows, skylights and solar tubes provide natural light that keeps a kitchen looking bright and cheerful—and without much need for energy-consumptive lighting during daytime hours. “Bring beautiful, natural light into your home with tubular daylighting technologies. Solatube tubular skylights are the modern way to let the light in with no structural changes and an installation time of two hours.” says Samantha Rose from Solatube. Additionally, use of reflective or glass materials that enhance available natural light will contribute to the overall light in a room.

White Kitchen with Natural Light


Task lighting. Brighter and specifically directed toward kitchen workspaces, task lighting allows you to see what you're doing in the kitchen, keeping things safe and injury free. Task lighting was historically considered "general lighting"as in the switch you automatically "flip" when first entering the kitchen.

Examples include recessed cans, pendants, larger chandeliers (trending these days), specifically-directed eyeball cans or track lighting, suspended fixtures over the sink, island, regular work space(s), etc. We advise clients to select dimmable LED for task lighting needs as it can be as bright or dim as desired, without using much energy.


Recessed Kitchen Lighting


Ambient lighting. Ambient lighting fixtures are flexible. For instance, a chandelier or suspended fixture might add ambiance via the fixture's ornamental design, and/or it can provide a softer and warmer glow, shifting a busy kitchen into a more relaxed space. Ambient light is also used for night and/or safety lighting.

Examples include smaller pendants, wall sconces, certain suspended fixtures, as well as undercabinet, interior and toekick lighting. Also, any light put on a dimmer switch (highly recommended for all lights) can transform task lighting into ambient lighting after hours.


Under Cabinet Lighting

Accent lighting. These lights do emanate a glow but are mainly selected for the way they look, often adding a splash of color or a fun design pop. They may not be necessary in terms of lighting, but they sure add something special to the kitchen design as a whole.

Examples include any fixtures that add color or style, like pendants, sconces and swanky chandeliers or suspended fixtures, or interior cabinet lighting.


White Kitchen with Accent Lighting

Who can I rely on for custom cabinets and kitchen lighting? 

Achieving the perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics requires careful planning and expertise. That’s why it’s essential to consult with Kitchen Magic expert designers. We’re here to help you make informed decisions, ensuring that every element of your kitchen works harmoniously together. Schedule a free consultation and have a kitchen that not only looks beautiful but also meets your practical needs and enhances your home’s overall appeal.



Dream up your new kitchen with us!

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