Most Common & Popular Kitchen Lightings

Mar 17, 2024

Kitchen lighting serves two primary purposes: general lighting, which illuminates the entire room, and task lighting, which focuses on specific areas. There are various types of lighting options within these categories, including ceiling lights, recessed lights, track lights, pendant lights, and under-cabinet lighting.

From The Ceiling

Many rooms come equipped with ceiling fixtures to meet code requirements for switch-controlled lighting in each space. Adding or updating a ceiling light is an effective way to fulfill this need in the kitchen. Ceiling fixtures provide illumination in all directions, including upward toward the ceiling. They contribute to overall safety by brightening the entire room, aiding in accessing other lighting fixtures.

While ceiling lights effectively light up the room as a whole, they may not illuminate countertop spaces adequately. Additionally, they lack the focused or adjustable lighting provided by fixtures like track lights. Even if the kitchen incorporates other types of lighting, having a ceiling light available for general purposes is always beneficial.

Next One: Recessed

Recessed lighting, also known as can lights, is a classic solution to address kitchen lighting challenges. These lights, with common diameters of around 10, 12, 15 cm provide ample illumination to specific areas of the countertop or kitchen island.

However, one drawback of recessed lighting is shadowing. Since these lights direct their illumination downward, any obstruction in their path, such as a wall cabinet or a person working at the counter, can create a shadow below the obstruction. The main advantage of recessed lights lies in their flush-to-the-ceiling design, saving physical and visual space. Nevertheless, this design has its downside: it doesn't cast light onto the ceiling, which can contribute to brightening the overall space.

Earlier recessed light fixtures were known for wasting energy by allowing room heat to escape into the attic. However, modern airtight (AT) and insulation-compatible (IC) fixtures have addressed these energy concerns. It's crucial to be aware of the type of recessed light used and ensure that, if it's a non-IC light, nothing in the attic covers it.

Track Lighting

Track lighting is a popular choice for providing effective illumination in kitchens and has gained popularity over the past few decades. It shares many positive qualities with recessed lighting while having fewer drawbacks. Mounted on the surface of the ceiling, track lighting consists of individual fixtures along a track that can be easily adjusted to suit specific needs. Furthermore, these fixtures can be added or removed to increase or decrease the amount of light as required.

Similar to recessed lights, track lights may experience shadowing issues. However, the flexibility of track lighting allows for the adjustment of individual fixtures forward or backward, minimizing shadowing.

It's important to be cautious with low-voltage track lighting that utilizes ultra-bright, energy-intensive halogen bulbs. Opting for track fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs is recommended, as they consume less energy, generate less heat, and, like halogens, can be compact while producing ample light.


One solution to address the challenge of kitchen ceiling lighting is the installation of hanging pendant light fixtures. Hanging pendants bring the lights down to just above head level and often come with vertical adjustability. These pendants can either be fixed in place or inserted into track lighting tracks.

It's advisable to use kitchen pendant lights sparingly. Unlike recessed lights, which can be multiplied almost endlessly due to their flush ceiling mount and subtle appearance, pendant lights, when overused, can make the kitchen appear cluttered, especially as they hang down.

When strategically spaced, pendant lights can effectively illuminate most work surfaces. However, it's important to note that they may have limitations in reaching counter spaces under wall cabinets.

Under The Cabinet

Regardless of the type of ceiling fixtures you're using, task lighting is often necessary to shine directly down from the wall cabinets. This form of task lighting is preferred because it minimizes shadows, providing bright and focused light without casting harsh shadows into the main kitchen area.

Undercabinet fixtures are a sleek option and become essentially invisible once installed. Opting for LED fixtures is recommended for optimal lighting performance and energy efficiency.

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