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How To Use Different Types Of Lighting In Your Kitchen

Aug 16, 2021 | How To

Lighting is an essential, but often overlooked part of home and interior décor. Beyond just picking out fun new designs, the placement and effectiveness of lighting must be taken into account as well. With the rise of open-concept kitchens, kitchen décor and lighting choices often influence the atmosphere of the rest of the home, and has to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetic quality.

   The Basics

Essential Lighting

The kitchen is one of the most utilised parts of the home, and is certainly used for much more than just cooking. It is also a place where the family gathers, last-minute homework gets done, guests are entertained, and lighting is vital in any scenario. In any kitchen, there are three types of essential lighting to be taken into account: Ambient, Task and Accent.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the main source of light in your kitchen. This can be used to complement natural lighting, or in the absence of natural lighting, to replace it. Ambient lighting is meant to light your space as evenly as possible, and while the design you choose (be it surface lights, pendant lights, track lights etc) is very much up to you, the light should be strong and wide enough to illuminate most of your kitchen for functional purposes.

Wooden kitchen cabinets with a high gloss olive green Alusplash splashback and wooden countertop with wooden utensils

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used for those tricky spots in your kitchen that inevitably end up left in the shadows, even with Ambient lighting. It’s for those spaces in the kitchen that you may not use as often, but are no less important, like your pantry and shelving areas. The right lighting (such as spot lights or portable lights) at these areas, allow you to perform the tasks you need to, safely, and without fuss.

Lighting is an essential, but often overlooked part of home and interior décor.

Accent lighting

Accent lighting is a designer’s dream, and helps cross the line from a purely functional kitchen design, to one that is far more aesthetically pleasing. These lights can be layered on top of your more functional lights, and might be used to accentuate your favourite elements in the kitchen. Lighting (such as recessed lights) behind shelves or above your open concept shelving, can be used in an entertainer’s kitchen, or just as a way to allow for soft mood lighting when you’re entertaining in a nearby room.

Blending Function and Aesthetics

Wooden kitchen cabinets with a high gloss olive green Alusplash splashback and wooden countertop with wooden utensils


Pendant lights have become all the rage because of their perfect blend of functionality and that ‘wow’ factor. Often hung above a kitchen island, they provide great illumination and allow you to focus on chopping, slicing, and meal prep, all under rather glamourous lighting! Surface lights are still a common and favoured type of ambient lighting of course, and while efficient, also have some beautiful and modern designs to add to your interior décor.

Red Kitchen backsplash in a modern white kitchen


Under-cabinet lighting, which can include anything from surface, puck or even strip lights, are incredibly efficient at task lighting, and are great at eliminating any dark or shadowy corners in your kitchen. Keeping them small and planning ahead can ensure that they don’t clash with your ambient lighting, while adding to the overall atmosphere of your kitchen.

Wooden kitchen cabinets with a high gloss olive green Alusplash splashback and wooden countertop with wooden utensils


Accent lighting allows one to be quite playful and creative when it comes to kitchen design. Recessed lighting can go anywhere, but works best in places where light can bounce, like on glass shelving, or be used to illuminate beautifully designed areas. Whereas over-cabinet lights add a dramatic touch to your kitchen design, and can be used to accent décor or architecture.

Lighting, like most interior décor, should be chosen carefully and with a balance of functionality and aesthetic beauty in mind. In the kitchen, lighting should be layered, starting with Ambient, Task and then finally Accent lighting, to bring out the best in your kitchen design!


  1. Stephanie

    I really like the 4th fixture – the gold one over the table on the green dining room. Can you tell me where it is from?

  2. AluSplash

    Hi Stephanie! Thank you, this is actually an image from Pinterest that we liked. But, after doing a quick search we found that you can purchase something similar from here: https://bit.ly/3hzOfP4

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