Now that the kitchen has become the central hub of the home, it’s sociable rather than simply utilitarian. You’ll certainly prep and cook in there, but chances are you’ll also dine, entertain, do homework, watch TV and possibly even lounge. 

David Amos, MD of Amos Lighting in Exeter, says the most common mistakes made in kitchen lighting are “over-lighting by using too many downlights, or having recessed lights in the wrong location. This only presents itself when using the kitchen for the first time and you are standing in a shadow. Or, it’s so bright that there’s lots of uncomfortable glare.” For an effective but achievable scheme, David recommends introducing layers of lighting that can work individually or in harmony. By having pendants, recessed lights and cabinet lights on different switches and with dimmers, you can create different moods and areas of focus, without ever feeling it’s too bright or too dark. 

A multi-tasking room demands versatile lighting. Think of zones (cooker, sink, over cabinets, under counters, islands, dining tables), mood (crisp for function, warm for relaxation), style (do you want lights to be low key or design features?) and, most importantly, what your most frequent tasks will be. Planning is key, and there’s a lot to consider…


General background light can be achieved through a single, dimmable source or multiple sources working together. It needs to be versatile, as you won’t want the same ambience for dining with family, entertaining friends or doing homework on the kitchen table. Remember that all light bulbs have a colour temperature (from soft and warm at 2700K to daylight-replication at 6500K,) so choose a bulb that reflects the feel you’re after.


‘Task’ lighting is all about getting clear, crisp light on the subject in areas where you really need to see what you’re doing. The cooker, the sink and the worktops need focused light without the intrusion of glare or shadow. If you’re installing a light above the cooker, make sure the panel is low enough so you don’t see the bulbs, and use fittings that are flush, for easy cleaning.


There’s often a lot going on in the kitchen, so highlight just one or two key features – maybe a particularly impressive cooker, piece of art, dresser or glass cabinet. Spotlights, wall lights and pendants can all do this job. Directional spotlights angled towards cupboards, walls or the ceiling can create a sense of space in smaller kitchens.

Taurus Pendant Cage light
Pendants: alone or in groups, pendants over islands or dining tables can make a real statement. Try Där Lighting’s Taurus Pendant Cage, available at Dusk Lighting in Exeter
Garden Trading’s Pimlico
Wall lights: stylish designs can be features in themselves and are perfect for infusing the room with a gentle, unobtrusive glow. Try Garden Trading’s Pimlico Glass Wall Lamp, available at Dusk Lighting in Exeter
Dar Idaho available at Amos lighting in Exeter
Spotlights: individually or on tracks, spotlights can be invaluable for focused task lighting when you don’t want full-on overhead illumination. Try: Där Idaho 2 Spotlight, available at Amos Lighting in Exeter
Clare Hunt

Published 24 April 2017

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