Tips on Lighting for Small Kitchen

Aside from the aesthetic purpose, lighting plays important role in the kitchen. It would be the guide to see which way to move to stove area, the storage area, and so on. A kitchen without proper lighting will be a disaster in the night. Now, if the cooks have an option to balance functionality and charming effect, is there any risk implied after?


1. Kill the Sun Shine Effect

Who have the experience of turning around and staring directly to the sun? Isn’t it blinding? This is exactly what happens when the kitchen only relies on a single lighting. Sadly, the mistake belongs to many cooks and house owners. They install the lighting on the center ceiling. Referring themselves to make everything “efficient and simple”, they actually build the “shadow effect”.

Ceiling center lighting has instantaneous effect: blinding light on closest area and dark shadow for the furthest area. This is surely not something to be proud of, particularly, if the stove area is close to the wall on the opposite side. A person might be hiding in the shadow without being caught!

Kill sunshine effect for small kitchen lighting

2. Pick Layered Lighting

Small kitchen is still a kitchen. It stores whatever any kitchen should have. The only difference is the size of the area. In order to give proper lighting, the plan should include different kind of lighting types; task lighting, ambient lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting. Four of them will ensure bright and pretty kitchen as a cooking and even dinner space.

  • Task Lighting

The main function of task lighting is to provide clear view of what the cook is doing; reading recipe, cutting vegetables, whisking egg, etc. Some real examples are the lights placed above the sink, the lamp that hung just above the kitchen counter, and those located under the cabinet. Why is the task lighting important? The reason is simple: to give board view of the working area.

For the ones that would be installed above the kitchen island, don’t forget to mention it specifically to the staff. They usually give two options: square or oblong shapes.

  • Ambient Lighting

Among the other types, the ambient lighting is the most overlooked one. Many house owners are still arguing about the practical use of it. As the name implies, this lighting provides warm atmosphere for the kitchen. For limited space kitchen, it helps to make it less appealing. Stepping into the kitchen, the guests will get a nice welcome.

Installing the ambient lighting on the ceiling helps to chase away the shadow. It blends well with the main lighting to provide clear view. The cooks might also create height effect in the kitchen by simply installing the ambient lamps on the window and ceiling.

  • Accent Lighting

As the main lighting for functionality and atmosphere have been placed, now it is time to highlight some corners. How to do it? Install the accent lighting. The most famous example of this lamp type is sconces. It is independent and represents the art. In the store, there are a lot of types to choose. One big tip though: match the accent lighting with the overall color and concept.

  • Decorative Lighting

Guessing from the name itself, the decorative lighting might have similar function with the accent ones. This is not 100% accurate. The decorative lighting helps to provide the “glitter” of the room, in the other words, a “wow effect” of the small kitchen. Take an example from a limited space kitchen with high ceiling. A hanging decorative lighting will make the room look taller and enchanting.

Small kitchen pendant lights as decoration


3. Consider Dimmer

The purpose of installing so many lighting is giving the room layered look. To make it even prettier, the house owners could set how bright or how dim the light should be. This addition might seem simple, but it does help to create the desired atmosphere. Otherwise, the kitchen might just lose its charming setting.

So, which one should be connected to a dimmer setting? It would be overwhelming for both the budget and the space of each lighting has dimmer for itself. In this case, take two of them at the most: the task lighting and ambient lighting. Then, pick neutral color for the rest of the lighting set.

Neutral color for small kitchen lighting


4. Match the Lighting and the Kitchen Shape

  • The Galley Kitchen

Those who mention “small kitchen” usually refers to this setting. Galley kitchen is efficient for a single cook. Put two or three persons in the space and it would be cramped already. It would be a big disaster if the lighting is not chosen carefully. First, install ceiling light along the kitchen. It could also be replaced with the accent lighting along the ceiling or walls.

Then, don’t forget to add over and under the cabinet task lighting. It helps a lot to prepare the recipe. Last but not least, hang a string of decorative lighting on the walls to give romantic ambiance and point of interest.

Small galley kitchen lighting ideas

  • The L-Shaped Kitchen

This kitchen shape has more advantage but also intriguing at the same time. There would be enough natural lighting at daylight, but as the sun sets, there would be different corners covered by shadows. To answer the challenge, the cooks should focus on the alluring setting. Those who walk into the kitchen should be lead to the deeper part of the kitchen.

The easiest way is installing the accent lighting on the walls. Don’t forget the task lighting above the kitchen counter. This spot will turn into dining table after cooking. Some decorative lighting might also be added.

L shaped small kitchen designs lighting ideas

  • The Open Floor Kitchen

Who says open floor concept always have the most natural lighting from windows? For some houses, the open floor kitchen is located literally in the middle of the house. No windows, only the lighting from the closest room. In this case, the plan should include the ambient, accent and decorative lighting.

As the kitchen area also gets additional lighting from the room across it, then define the kitchen with ambient lighting. Then, make it bolder with accent lighting on the inner walls. Want a little more drama? Hang pendant light above the kitchen island.

Open floor kitchen and dining room lighting design ideas

No matter big or small, lighting is the heart of a kitchen, particularly at night. With a proper setting, lighting could make small kitchen looks bigger and tempting. Combining it with specific shape will make the kitchen next favorite spot to spend the night. Dare to try?

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