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How to plan kitchen lighting

Bright sunny days and light nights – at the height of summer, it’s not unusual to leave kitchen lights switched off altogether.

The extra hours of sunlight may be lovely now… but if you’re planning a new kitchen, it can also be a trap!

With gloomy overcast days far from our minds, it’s all too easy to overlook the importance of lighting. Yet, when done properly, kitchen lights can help to zone areas, improve safety, influence mood, and set the tone of your space.

Want to make sure you get things right? Here The Marble Store share their thoughts on how to get the best from kitchen lighting.


Types of lighting

When it comes to organising the lighting in any room, you should think about it in relation to its use.

There are three main types of lighting:

  1. Task lighting – this refers to light primarily intended for illuminating a space to help you see clearly – ideal for reading recipes and preparing food.


  1. Ambient lighting – this is the general ‘all-rounder’ of the lighting world, used to provide overall lighting. In kitchen designs, ceiling spotlights are typically used for ambient light.


  1. Accent lighting – it’s easier to think of this as ‘decorative lighting’, used to create visual interest rather than to illuminate.


What can affect lighting levels?

It’s not just changing seasons that can influence lighting levels. The time of day, the position and number of windows – even what you choose as a window covering – can all impact the level of brightness in a room.

Other contributing factors include:

– Wall coverings

Painting walls white or a similar light colour will lift your kitchen, helping to reflect light and give the illusion of space. Opt for dark shades or busy wallpaper and the room will feel more cluttered and enclosed.


– Worktop and unit choice

Both the colour and materials you choose can have a real impact here, too, so it’s worth spending time thinking about the look you want to achieve. You can then adapt your lighting levels to accommodate this.

Lighter shades such as white, cream, or silver-toned worktops will help to reflect light and illuminate the space. If you want to maximise this effect, look for a quartz or granite worktop with sparkle and mirror flecks. We love the Cimstone Cascara Bianca quartz worktop and granite Grigio Diamante.

If you’re after a darker aesthetic, try Star Galaxy – a striking black worktop with a little sparkle to prevent things from becoming too oppressive.

High gloss cupboards rather than matt units will also help light to bounce around the room.


– Flooring

If you’re busy staring at the ceiling thinking about lights, it can be easy to forget to look down. But what you choose as a floor covering can also impact the overall lighting effect of the room. Again, the key thing to remember here is that light colours are the best to lift and reflect lighting.


Where should kitchen lights go?

For this, you need to first establish where any natural light comes from – the size of your kitchen and the height of the ceiling also need to be considered.

Next, think about your intended layout and how you plan to use the space. That way, you can work out where your key areas will be for task lighting.

Ask yourself where will the main food prep area be? Have you thought about kitchen sink lighting? Do you intend to have an island unit? If so, do you want a series of drop pendants, a statement chandelier, or just more focused task lighting?

Exactly how many lights you need is largely down to personal preference. There are no set rules, and the number will be influenced by the other design choices you make, e.g. the colour scheme.


Options for kitchen lighting

Gone are the days of strip lights and spotlights being your only solution for kitchen lighting. Today there’s a plethora of choice. You could use:

– Under cupboard lighting

These can boost light levels across worktops or add a warm glow to illuminate your kitchen when the rest of the lights are switched off.


– Plinth lights

Relatively new to the kitchen design scene but already a popular choice. Plinth lighting is a great way to illuminate your kitchen and emphasise its design.

Just keep in mind, while lighting close to the floor is a great way to highlight your space and create a new dimension, it will also show up the crumbs!


– Spotlights

Perhaps the most popular lighting used in kitchens, spotlights are both functional and stylish. Perfect for ambient and task lighting, you can position spots across your ceiling to provide illumination where it’s needed most.

Sitting flush to the ceiling, they are a good option if you have low ceilings or if you don’t want to make a feature of your lighting.


– Statement lighting

Kitchen designs have seen a huge rise in the use of feature lighting, with drop pendants over island units a particular favourite. Statement lights are a fantastic way to inject fun and personality into the room.


– Feature lamps and fairy lights

If you want to keep any changes to the electrics to a minimum, don’t forget that not all lighting needs to be hardwired.

Carefully positioned lamps can add brightness to an otherwise dull corner of the room, provide focused light, or simply create a relaxed vibe.

Equally, fairy lights draped over cupboards, along windowsills, and across the back of worktops don’t just look pretty – they are an effective way to boost light levels, too. Opt for battery powered for increased flexibility.


Help your kitchen to shine bright

Showcase your kitchen in its best light with the Marble Store.

For more advice on planning your kitchen and guidance on the best light-reflecting work surfaces, talk to the team. Call us on 0800 470 3182 or email your questions to [email protected].

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