Kitchens are ground zero for delectable meals, family gatherings, and creative design opportunities, which means they should certainly shine. Enter: kitchen lighting ideas, an essential prerequisite for cheffing it up. From ornamental pendants to unobtrusive track lighting, the options for kitchen light fixtures are endless. Today’s top designers have predictably led the way in illuminating different design possibilities, proving that sconces, blinged-out chandeliers, and dimmers all have a seat at the kitchen table.
Just like living rooms and bedrooms, the tried and true rules of layered lighting apply to the kitchen. By intentionally layering light, you can harness that power and create a well-lit, well-balanced kitchen interior. To start, employ task lighting like sconces and chic lamps above cooking hot spots for more clarity. Next up, evenly-dispersed ambient lighting can help further create balance. And, of course, don’t discount a statement piece. Be it a tole chandelier or a Murano glass fixture, statement lighting can work in a kitchen, too.
If you’re currently in the midst of cooking up a lighting scheme for your own kitchen, here are 35 kitchens that exemplify a considered and purposeful approach to lighting. Get inspired by how these designers lit up these kitchens, whether you have a small layout or a space with low ceilings.
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For a sleek mid-century modern-inspired kitchen, Brian Watford suspended a trio of glass globe pendant lights above a marble-topped kitchen island.
In this farmhouse-inspired kitchen designed by Young Huh, mint green cabinetry provides a striking backdrop for a trifecta of simple glass pendants.
Red pendants lend the perfect amount of vibrancy to this coral kitchen designed by Elizabeth Drake.
Playfulness is on full display in this ultra-patterned kitchen designed by Bachman Brown.
The navy blue and gold-accented island steals the show in this sun-filled kitchen designed by Creative Tonic, while a quintuplet of sconces provide directed countertop light.
In this sophisticated kitchen designed by Beth Webb, gold pendants blend seamlessly with a mosaic backsplash and weathered wood island.
Vintage hanging lanterns impose Victorian-esque charm in this sunny and airy kitchen teed up by Dodson Interiors.
In this kitchen cued up by Douglas C. Wright, a shaded pendant illuminates the wood kitchen island, while a gold picture light sheds light on a book-filled hutch.
Reminiscent of a French bakery, this ultra-chic kitchen designed by Summer Thornton makes the ultimate case for a classic black and white color combo.
Although the skylight and arched floor-to-ceiling windows bring in plenty of light, industrial pendants and a massive orb chandelier seal the deal in this kitchen designed by James Thomas.
A Sputnik-inspired chandelier adds a touch of modernism to this the otherwise provincial-style space designed by Christina Nielsen.
A brass keystone chandelier is a perfect complement to this neutral kitchen designed by Suzanne Kasler.
A spunky palette and playful pendants wake up this kitchen designed by Ayromloo Design.
Good Things Come in Threes
Symmetry is the name of the game for this kitchen designed by Nate Berkus. Three opaline globe pendants perfectly balance the island’s six bar stools.
A pair of steel-encased globe pendant lights provide ample light in this cheery galley kitchen designed by Chandos Interiors.
For a kitchen with a homey, cabin vibe designer David Scott used a pair of crimson, quatrefoil pendants to bring the outdoors in.
Stainless pendants make the perfect complement to this chef-grade kitchen designed by J. Hirsch Interiors.
Afraid of overcrowding your kitchen with fixtures? Follow designer Sarah Montgomery’s lead and opt for a single hanging pendant.
So as not to compete with the vibrant color palette (and dramatic ceiling!) featured in this cozy kitchen, White Webb Interior Design selected a pair of simple milk glass pendants to provide illumination.
Industrial black pendants partnered with slate blue cabinets make this kitchen designed by KitchenLab Interiors feel both sleek and chic.
Practice restraint and follow studio CAK’s lead of installing simple black track lighting to make a kitchen feel unexpectedly minimalist.
A funky, geometric overhead fixture gives this kitchen designed by Jamie Bush + Co. a futuristic feel.
Two conical canvas drum pendants bring a uniquely industrialist touch to this kitchen designed by M. Elle Design.
A pair of neoclassical-style, lantern pendants bring in an Old World feel to this crisp and contemporary kitchen designed by Rinfret Limited.
A gold dome pendant glistens against the background of weighty, navy-gray cabinetry in this kitchen designed by Laurie Blumenfeld.
In this serene, crisp kitchen designed by Lisa Berman, opaque flush mounts and a bulb-style chandelier recall water droplets falling from the sky.
Prism-shaped light fixtures steal the show in this kitchen-slash-dining room designed by Kati Curtis.
Crisp pendant lights let the bamboo-bedecked island and punchy blue backsplash take center stage in this modern kitchen teed up by L.A-based firm Murphy Design.
A matte black drum pendant adds a brooding mystery to this crisp, contemporary kitchen produced by designer Lori Gilder.
In this muted, bungalow kitchen, design firm Park and Oak installed a petite wall sconce for some much-needed task lighting.
To light up this open, versatile kitchen, KitchenLab Interiors installed a Sputnik chandelier as well as multi-pronged globe pendants.
To brighten up this moody blue kitchen, designer Nadia Palacios employed a pair of cylindrical brass lights.
Paying testament to the power of green and gold, designer Crystal Blackshaw selected an amber sputnik globe chandelier for this convivial kitchen.
A latticed drum pendant and rattan dining chairs imbue texture into this charming space designed by Kress Jack at Home.
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