How to create the best lighting scheme for your kitchen | Balnei & Colina | Balnei & Colina

How to create the best lighting scheme for your kitchen

How to create the best lighting scheme for your kitchen

Lighting is sometimes overlooked and often plays a secondary role to the more expensive features in a kitchen. However, lighting is an important part of any kitchen design. Kitchen lighting needs to be effective and practical in order to provide adequate illumination for key areas within the kitchen work environment. 

Cleverly positioned lighting can make a room appear larger, disguise awkward architecture and even compensate for poor natural light. A sound lighting plan will also highlight unique areas and detail of your new kitchen design.

Besides preparing meals and dining, the kitchen is also a room for socialising and is the hub for many other daily activities like kids homework. Each area of your kitchen will require different lighting solutions. Some spaces like food preparation zones will require task lighting, while others such as the casual dining area call for mood and accent lighting. The best time to think about your kitchen lighting strategy is in the early stages of planning. Focus on key activity zones in your new kitchen and the types of tasks that take place in each area for eg Oven & Stove = Food preparation = task lighting. 

Take the time to research the types of kitchen lighting available, consider the size and layout of your new kitchen and the amount of natural light it receives to help select the best lighting to incorporate in your kitchen design.

We hope the following article provides you with basic steps on how to create the perfect kitchen lighting plan as well as some lighting inspiration for your next kitchen design.

Robert Fonti

Director, Balnei & Colina


Image credit: Studio Black Interiors

A good lighting plan consists of three layers 

  • Ambient Lighting - fixtures that offer overall illumination
  • Task Lighting - focus lighting that enables easy performance of everyday tasks
  • Accent Lighting - Highlights areas of a room that are unique or activity specific like displays, unique architecture or gathering area. 

Ideally, each lighting layer should be on a seperate circuit and controlled by a dimmer switches to allow for maximum flexibility in setting moods for the room.

Today’s intelligent lighting systems allow you to create and recall pre-set light patterns at the touch of a button. Systems can now be controlled via smart devices like your mobile phone allowing you to adjust the amount and location of light emitted.

Design tip: Choose lighting that not only complements your new kitchen style but that of your home for a more cohesive look.


Image credit: Alexandra MacMillon Design

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting if often referred to as general lighting. It’s role is to light an entire space and therefore should be diffused unlike focused task lighting. Overhead recessed lighting eg downlight, are the most practical and easy choice to brighten up a space. Recessed lighting will assist in eliminating shadows and glare whilst creating an inviting and warm environment. 

Design Tip: Install dimmers will help you control the degree of brightness in your kitchen at anytime of the day. For a smaller kitchen, a central large pendant above the eating area combined with an overhead light within the work triangle may be sufficient. However, if you have a large kitchen area with one or more islands we highly recommend a combination of both. 

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Task Lighting

Task lighting refers to lights that target main working areas of the kitchen such as the workbench, stove top and sink. It ensures there is enough light to safely and efficiently prepare meals.

Examples of task lighting include ranghood lighting, LED strip undercabinet lighting. This type of lighting is ideal as it is hidden from view and won’t shine in your eyes as the light is directed right at the work space. LED strips also stay cool and have longer replacement times.

For an island of breakfast bar, you can install either recessed lighting or opt for pendants. Pendants can provide task lighting and well as create atmosphere. They also allow you to add personality to your kitchen design or further support and enhance your overall kitchen theme. By adding dimmers to them you can readily control their intensity and as such change their function from task to mood lighting.  Ceiling mounted lights, flush fitted for a streamlined, modern look, with directional spots and right beam widths lights allow you to create focused light. 

Interior lighting is now available for drawers too. LED’s service to illuminate deep corners so you don’t have to go digging or crawling for items at the back of your kitchen cupboards.

Design Tip: Fitting deep pantries and dark corners with automatic lights will ensure your kitchen items are easy to locate and access.


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Accent Lighting

This type of lighting singles out features of your kitchen that deserve additional attention because of their decorative qualities or unique features. Accent lighting can also double as task lighting depending on it’s location in relation to the key kitchen zones. The most common accent lighting options include LED strips located that the back of shelves to create a wash of light for a window splashback for example, or for highlighting dishware collections, decor or architectural detail like carved moldings.

These stips can also make a striking statements under there perimeter of a counter or above the kickboard to create visual interest.

Design Tip: Plan for light switches at each entry point to the kitchen. Install seperate switches for task areas and ambient (general lighting) to provide the greatest flexibility. Dimmers are also a great option as they allow you to vary the amount of light distributed within the space.

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Still unsure how to plan lighting for your next kitchen renovation? Leave it to the experts.

For more information about our custom kitchen renovation service or to book a design consultation, call 1300 450 320 or send us an email.

If you’re looking for further inspiration and ideas for your upcoming kitchen renovation, signup to our newsletter or connect with us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest design trends. 

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