37 Kitchen Lighting Ideas to Brighten Up Your Space

Black kitchen fixtures

Michelle Berwick Design

We've long believed that the right light fixture can be like jewelry for your home—a glamorous finishing touch that makes every other detail come together in perfect harmony. But even we can admit that kitchens often get the short end of the stick. While formal dining rooms get dramatic chandeliers and even powder rooms enjoy more than their fair share of fun sconces, kitchens rarely get the first-class treatment when it comes to lighting.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Whether. you want an eye-catching centerpiece or you just need a little extra task lighting that's aesthetically pleasing, focusing on the lighting in your kitchen can do a lot. From modern sculptural designs to vintage-inspired chandeliers to understated accents, we rounded up our favorite scene-stealing light fixtures just might make the kitchen your favorite room of the house.

Click through for our favorite kitchen lighting ideas, and soon you'll be seeing your prep space in a whole new light. (Sorry, we had to do it.)

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Add a Rustic Touch

kitchen lighting ideas

 Design: Alison Giese Interiors; Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

This clean and cohesive kitchen is what we'd call "new traditional", but we love the subtle nods to more rustic elements—seen here in the unique light fixture, bar stools, and accessories. These small touches add another layer of character to this charming space. The metallic accents on the light fixture help tie the whole look together.

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Opt for Something Natural

kitchen lighting ideas

Mindy Gayer

While we'd obviously never pass up a great brass, copper, or oiled bronze light fixture, a rattan or woven jute option can be a great way to bring the outdoors in—especially if you're leaning toward a Scandi decorating scheme with lots of cane and light wood tones.

This sculptural pendant lands somewhere between Japanese-inspired and subtly nordic—in other words, it's high-design and statement-making while remaining understated.

jute flush mount
Anthropologie Jute Flush Mount $128
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03 of 37

Add a Lantern

kitchen lighting ideas

Design: Southern Studio Interior Design with New Old Custom Homes

Opposites attract—which may account for why we're so smitten with these vintage-style lantern lights in this muted, contemporary space. Their oversized scale and light-catching brass accents make them the centerpiece of the kitchen, and reference the historic elements elsewhere in this home.

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Give a Nod to Midcentury

kitchen lighting ideas

Design: Cortney Bishop; Photo: Katie Charlotte

There's just not enough time for us to unpack everything we love about this quirky, midcentury space—but the light fixture definitely takes the cake. Its atomic age-esque shape fits right in with these Eames-style chairs, while the natural fiber brings a touch of the organic into this cheery eating area.

05 of 37

Keep It Simple

Kitchen with gray lights

Alvin Wayne

A transformative kitchen lighting design doesn't have to be overly bold. Here, two simple gray pendants maintain the subtle, minimalist look of the rest of the kitchen while still acting as a focal point.

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Opt for Mini Pendants

Black kitchen with mini pendant lights

Ann Living

Sometimes the best lighting ideas are the most out-of-the-box choices. Instead of going for traditional recessed lighting or a pendant over the kitchen island, consider hanging a handful of mini pendants throughout the center of your prep space for a fun, playful lighting idea.

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Ditch the Shades

Black kitchen with lights

Ashley Montgomery Design

Who says you need to cover up your lights with shades? Here, exposed bulbs give off a rustic, industrial look and feel and add a lot of interest. You can opt for warm, loft lighting or Edison bulbs to keep the lights from feeling too harsh or bright.

08 of 37

Go For Something Contemporary

Kitchen with light over table

Ashley Montgomery Design

Less is definitely not more when it comes to eye-catching chandeliers. This multi-bulb fixture is perfect for creating a contemporary focal point in your open concept kitchen/dining room and helps to delineate the space.

If you don't have a dedicated dining room, a statement fixture is a great way to carve out a more formal look and feel in the room.

09 of 37

Add a Little Playfulness

Kitchen with wavy lamp

Britt Design Studio

Here, a pendant light with an oversized glass shade offers a fun touch to the otherwise traditional kitchen. The wavy, clear glass shade is subtle enough to provide just enough of personality without clashing with the rest of the space.

10 of 37

Embrace the Beach

Kitchen with wood like pendants

Brophy Interiors

Whether or not you are actually close to the beach, you can still incorporate a nautical decor look in your kitchen through the use of lighting. Look for pendant lights made of driftwood or shell details to add a beachy vibe to your prep space.

11 of 37

Let the Lighting Take Centerstage

Kitchen with lantern type pendants

Brophy Interiors

If the rest of your kitchen is streamlined and simple, consider opting for more detailed or elaborate lighting to take the focus in your space. A multi-faceted, Moroccan-inspired pendant can not only reflect more light, but the artisanal look provides an elevated feel that's creative and personal.

12 of 37

Frame the Window

Kitchen with black pendants

Calimia Home

Though the most popular kitchen lighting choices are focused around the island, don't forget the rest of your space. A few modern sconces can help frame a window and add task lighting above the sink where you need it.

13 of 37

Pick Clear Shades

Kitchen with wallpaper

Casa Watkins Living

If you want the lighting (and not the fixture) to steal the show, pick a shade that is understated and almost blends in with the rest of the kitchen. A clear glass cover allows the bulb to be the focus so you can pick a warm light such as an Edison bulb to fill the space with a glow.

If you play with Edison lighting in your kitchen, make sure you have multiple source of light so you fill the space with adequate lumens for the square footage.

14 of 37

Match the Cabinets

Kitchen with white cabinets

Charlie Interior Design

Not sure where to start with your kitchen lighting? Look for lighting that pairs well with your cabinetry. Matching the color with your cabinets is an easy way to keep a streamlined look throughout the space.

15 of 37

Try a Mesh Pendant

Kitchen with mesh pendants

Charlie Interior Design

Here, simple IKEA pendants are given a fun upgrade to create a custom lighting look that works wonderfully with the rest of the space. Consider DIY-ing or improving on cheap lighting to develop a kitchen lighting plan perfect for your space.

16 of 37

Add a Few Sconces

Kitchen with sconces

Charlie Interior Design

If you are a fan of open shelving in the kitchen, be sure to plan your lighting to support the look. Hang a couple of sconces in the open space above the shelves to help fill the walls and add a little warmth.

17 of 37

Embrace Modern Farmhouse

Kitchen with white industrial lights

Design: Katie Martinez

Photography: Malcolm Brown

Modern farmhouse often incorporates a lot of brass, metal, and other rustic materials. This look is perfect for adding statement lighting that doesn't feel overly formal or too elegant. Opt for more rustic, vintage materials and shapes to give your kitchen that farmhouse edge.

18 of 37

Pick the Correct Size Lighting

Kitchen with black pendant lights

KG Designs

Have a big space to fill? Not only should you consider the lumens to support your room, but you should also be sure your fixtures themselves can hold their own in the space. Opt for oversized fixtures when you're working with a large, open concept kitchen plan.

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Install a Chandelier

Kitchen with a chandelier

Laquita Tate Styling and Designs

While you may not want to hang actual candles from your ceiling, you can steal the look with a fixture that is reminiscent of a hanging candelabra. This fixture is great for adding a bit of drama to an otherwise understated space.

20 of 37

Go Big & Bold

kitchen lighting ideas

 Design: Alison Giese Interiors; Photo: Robert Radifera

Scale is everything—and here's proof. This oversized pendant light brings a whimsical touch to this eat-in kitchen area, and subtly mimics the undulating shape of the tulip table underneath at the same time. This dreamy, midcentury-tinged space proves that even a simple shape can make a big impact if you play with proportion in an unexpected way.

oversized hammered pendant light
CB2 Hammered Brass Dome Pendant Light $329
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21 of 37

Go for an Elegant Look

Kitchen with golden lights

LeClair Decor

You don't need to focus on just fixtures that feel kitchen-y. If you want to give your kitchen a more inviting warmth, consider a linen shade or brass accents that offer a more elegant, soft feel.

22 of 37

Add a Lot of Glam

Kitchen with golden scale lights

LeClair Decor

Give your kitchen a touch of pizazz with a gold, scaled pendant light. The touch of Moroccan flair helps to transform this otherwise minimal kitchen and easily becomes the centerpiece of the whole space.

23 of 37

Add Light Over the Sink

Kitchen with light over the sink

LeeAnn Baker Interiors LTD

If your sink is on the kitchen island, consider placing your hanging pendant directly above it to frame the space. Not only does this provide task lighting, but it also helps to center your kitchen add scale against the appliances.

24 of 37

Go for a Vintage Look

Kitchen with gold light

Mary Patton Design

Instead of pendants over your kitchen island, consider. an oversized chandelier. A vintage-inspired brass piece is a great way to add a focal point to your space and help to create a more formal feel if you tend to dine at your island a lot.

Lucca Iron Chandelier
Pottery Barn Lucca Iron Chandelier $699
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25 of 37

Stay Traditional

Kitchen with gold lighting

Design: JLK Interiors

The best way to pick the right statement lighting for your kitchen is to first determine what decor style you want to incorporate. If your space is traditional, for example, you can either mix things up with a more modern fixture or keep the traditional feel with a brass pendant with candle-look lights.

26 of 37

Mix and Match Styles

Kitchen with rustic light

Design: Interior Impressions

Photography: Mackenzie Merrill Photography

On the other hand, don't feel limited by your kitchen decor. It's easy to mix various design styles, especially when it comes to lighting. Here, a more vintage-inspired fixture plays wonderfully with the woven, boho-look bar stools.

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Try a Statement Chandelier

kitchen lighting ideas

Gillian Segal

Give us a Sputnik-style light fixture any day—it always seems to enliven a space. And the kitchen island is no exception. While we more often see these sculptural, mobile-shaped chandeliers over the dining table or in the living room, there's no reason not to let them take center stage at the breakfast bar, too. (Especially when your kitchen is as sleek as this one.)

mobile light fixture
Crate & Barrel Kace 3-Arm Chandelier $279
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28 of 37

Reflect More Light

Kitchen with pendants with facets

Design: Think Chic Interiors

Photography: Hulya Kolabas

Upgrade your traditional glass pendant shades with a version that will add a bit more visual interest and reflect even more light. Look for fun shapes, interesting facets, and details that will catch extra light and add more depth to the space.

29 of 37

Install a Flush Mount

Kitchen with flush mount light

M Lavender Interiors

While we typically see a lot of hanging pendants and task lighting in the kitchen, there's no reason a beautiful flush mount can't hold its own. Swap out a boring "boob light" for a more visually appealing flush mount fixture to fill a room with light and personality.

30 of 37

Consider Mixed Materials

Kitchen with blue island

Maite Granda

We love mixed mediums in every room in the house, but incorporating various materials in the kitchen can be a delightful surprise. Consider unexpected materials in your lighting fixtures such as rope, metal, or concete to add interest to the space.

31 of 37

Add Spotlight Sconces

Kitchen with sconces

Calimia Home

One kitchen trend we can't get enough of right now? Artwork. Add a framed piece of art in your kitchen and hang a spotlight over it to give your prep space that museum look and feel. This is a great idea for that awkward space you can't fill or over a coffee nook or pantry.

32 of 37

See Double

Gold kitchen pendants

 Design: Pembrooke & Ives

Photo: Evan Joseph

So you've found a light fixture you love—now, double it. Two really is better than one, in this case, because repetition in design makes the impact of a statement-style like this one much stronger. Even in a relatively compact kitchen, it's a way to show off your personality and be bold without giving up an inch of floor or counter space.

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Add a Pop of Color

Green kitchen space

Naked Kitchens

Whether or not you have colorful cabinets in your kitchen, a fun bold-colored light fixture is a great way to add a playful twist to your space. Here, powder blue pendants help to frame the kitchen island and give it a fun extra pop of color.

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Go Articulated

kitchen lighting ideas

DESIGN: ASHLEY CLARK/SKOUT

You may associate articulated sconces with reading nooks, but they're handy in the kitchen, too—and they can be an unexpected way to highlight your space without accommodating a low-hanging pendant light. This style can be pulled out to shed a little extra light on the task at hand, whether you're working on your knife skills or watering your succulents.

articulated wall sconce
Arteriors Padma Swing Arm Wall Sconce $705
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35 of 37

Play With Length

Kitchen with blue cabinets

Naked Kitchens

There are many ways to be creative with your kitchen lighting. If you don't want to go for an overstated fixture, consider playing with the length of your kitchen pendant light cords. A few simple pendant lights can create an eye-catching piece simply by staggering the distance from the ceiling.

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Embrace the Space Age

Kitchen with spherical lights

Design: Michelle Boudreau Design

Photography: Lance Gerber

This mid-century modern kitchen features spherical island pendants that give us major galaxy vibes. They are oversized just enough to create an eye-catching focal point, but not so much that they take away from the rest of the modern kitchen.

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Go for the Gold

Kitchen with gold pendant lights

Michelle Berwick Design

There aren't really any rooms in the house we don't love using gold in, but we especially love it in the kitchen. Gold fixtures (cabinet pulls, faucets, you name it) can elevate a kitchen and give it a hotel-inspired feel. Opt for gold lighting fixtures to give your kitchen the Midas touch.

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