Small kitchen lighting ideas: 10 ways to bring light into small spaces

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  • Kitchen lighting can be tricky, especially small kitchen lighting ideas where you need good lighting to prepare and cook food safely. In a small space, kitchen lighting is part of the overall design, so it should look good, be practical and add something to the kitchen scheme, and if you eat there too, it could be the focal point, above the table for Example.

    Below, we’ve got some lighting and small kitchen ideas to inspire you, with expert commentary from industry insiders on how to get the best lighting for your small kitchen.

    Small Kitchen Lighting Ideas

    Small kitchen lighting ideas are hard to come by and should be thought about early in the planning process. If you want to put spotlights for example, this will have an impact on the floor above, so if you are renovating the bedroom, take the opportunity to put spotlights before laying new parquet on the floor. If the kitchen is dark, with little natural light, kitchen lighting is even more important, so think about the different types of lighting you will need – good general lighting, task lighting and task lighting for create a scheme that is both elegant and practical.

    1. Create a task lighting key

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Lights should be placed where you need them most, above the prep, cooking and sink area, especially in a small, dark kitchen. These industrial style bulb lamps are simple yet elegant and do the job perfectly positioned above the work surface in this breakfast area. Their neat size is perfect for a small kitchen.

    The combination of different light sources is essential in a small kitchen. This can be accomplished using directional downlights or a spot task with swivel joints in the prep and cooking areas and oversized pendants with dimmers above the table or island to add drama . and the atmosphere.’ says Mary Buchanan, creative director of Laura Ashley Lighting and Mirrors.

    “The kitchen is a space where accent lighting is essential. If your room doesn’t have access to natural light and you want to create a bright workspace, consider installing lighting with cool white energy-saving (LED) bulbs.

    2. Make a statement with your lighting

    mint green kitchen with gold chandelier over kitchen island

    Image Credit: Hudson Valley Lighting; Brigitte pendant, around £618, Ivy pendant, from £321 each,

    Use your lighting to get the wow factor in a small kitchen, positioning a modern chandelier over a kitchen island will create a wonderful ambience, especially if it’s on a dimmer, and pair it with oversized bulbs in a classic finish. in matching brass above the sink. region.

    Position all the lights at the right height so people don’t bump their heads too. This chandelier is above the island so it’s out of the way and the bulbs are spaced out so there isn’t one above the sink where it could get in the way or cause shadows delicate.

    3. Consider installing directional spotlights

    Blue kitchen with island, bar stools, yellow tiles, butler sink and hardwood floors

    Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee

    Spotlights have been used in kitchens for years – for good reason, as they give great general lighting, so anything you want to add, like task or mood lighting, is a plus. Floodlights have improved dramatically over the years with the introduction of LEDs which save on energy bills as they last much longer and do not need to be changed so often. Choose Cool White light bulbs for a bright and clear kitchen.

    4. Enjoy the benefits of cabinet lighting

    Kitchen cabinet with light shelves

    Photo credit: IKEA; Enhet shelf

    Sometimes small kitchens are in the middle of the house and away from natural light, so under cabinet lighting really comes into its own. It puts the light where you need it, so you can see how to perform the task at hand safely. These Skydrag LED light strips, £13 for 60cm, can be clipped onto shelves, they’re small but mighty, can be controlled from your phone and a wireless dimmer is also available.

    5. Introduce wall sconces

    Bright kitchen walls in gray kitchen above AGA

    Image Credit: Original BTC

    Wall sconces are another form of task lighting, so they’re ideal above a cooker or prep area, putting light exactly where it’s needed. They also add an amazing design feature which is also practical. These are made from bone china, Oxford Wall Light, £235, Original BTC, and still use the ‘rule of three’ for the most attractive look.

    6. Add drama and shine

    navy blue kitchen with marble splashback golden suspensions

    Image credit: Pooky; Glitter pendants, from £83

    Using metallic surfaces will bounce light around a small space making the room appear larger, and those large gold pendants will also add a touch of glamour, especially in the evening when they provide a warm glow. Position them on the island as a focal point.

    7. Consider drawer lights

    Kitchen drawers open with lights

    Photo credit: IKEA

    There’s nothing worse than rummaging through kitchen drawers looking for something, so make your life easier with light strips inside the drawers. It will make life so much easier. These are Skydrag LED lighting strips from £13 for 60cm at IKEA.

    8. Pair downlights with reflective surfaces

    Kitchen island with gray island with glass doors

    Image credit: Higham

    Use well-placed downlighting to illuminate a credenza. Choose a high gloss material such as acrylic or aluminum for maximum reflection – or look for a more subtle approach with marble or tile designs.

    Natural daylight brings life to a kitchen, but if you don’t have a lot of natural light, or want to make the most of daylight, this idea is perfect. The reflective surface will also make the kitchen appear larger.

    9. Add a pop of color

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Jo Henderson

    To create a focal point in a small kitchen, add a brightly colored pendant lamp – these easy-to-install sunny yellow and sea blue hues inject a splash of color and personality into a space. Then you can work a color scheme around it.

    Using lights to add color rather than walls or cabinets allows you to keep the color scheme white, bright and airy without being stripped of color.

    10. Opt for the industrial style


    Image credit: BHS; 3-bulb pendant light, £110, BHS.

    For something a little different, choose a mesh pendant with an industrial look and work your scheme around it. It will sit perfectly above a narrow bar table like this one with its metal legs and rustic wooden top – the perfect dining nook in a small kitchen. Metal and wood stools complete the look. Narrow tables like this are ideal for awkward places and stools can be pushed underneath, out of the way.

    Can you put pendant lights in a small kitchen?

    “Danger pendants can help draw the eye upward and give the illusion of more space,” says Peter Legg, lead designer at Dar Lighting. “With smart placement, they can be a great addition to small kitchens. Always go for those with adjustable cords so you can account for low ceiling levels and remember to check that you can open all high level cabinets without having to struggle with them.

    Simple pendants can make a great statement on their own, but you can try a tiered cluster to frame a key area, like above a table where walkways won’t be impacted. Minimalist designs are ideal for adding a touch of interest without taking up space.

    Clear glass designs will help illuminate the whole area, while colored designs can add a touch of warmth and personality. Pendants can also be perfect for those looking to install lights on a sloped roof. Those with flexible joints can be installed on sloping roofs and remain perfectly suspended.

    How to light a kitchen without recessed lighting?

    “There are lots of ways to get the perfect lighting for your kitchen without recessed lighting,” says Lizzie Beesley, Design Manager at Magnet. “For smaller kitchens, ceiling level spotlights are a great alternative and can be fitted to target areas that need light the most, with the option of dimmers to create atmosphere.

    And under-cabinet lighting is a great space-saving lighting solution, not just as accent lighting, but as an effective way to illuminate food prep areas rather than the entire room. It can also attend those Friday night kitchen discos in multicolor and be controlled via a smart app such as Alexa.

    How much light do I need for a small kitchen?

    Lizzie Beesley, Head of Design at Magnet, says: “Good lighting is essential for any kitchen space. First, it should be bright and shadow-free, which makes food preparation safe and easy. But secondly, it can also be used for an ambience effect and to highlight architectural elements. The amount of lighting needed in a small kitchen depends on various factors. Including the size of the room, the availability of natural light and the color of the walls.’

    “It’s a good idea to incorporate spotlights in small kitchens because they can be recessed into the ceiling. Create a smart, streamlined effect. Dimmers are also a great addition and allow you to easily create different moods for any occasion.

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