12 Kitchen Lighting Ideas to Brighten Up Your Space

kitchen lighting ideas

  DESIGN: GILLIAN SEGAL

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 are often left with whatever builders installed before you moved in—dated recessed lights, wonky pendants, or even the dreaded "boob light" (as it has come to be known in internet circles).

But it doesn't have to be that way. This year's most creative designers have infused new life into the kitchen area with bold, head-turning light fixtures that invite a closer look—and make every occasion feel more elegant, from chopping veggies for the week's lunches or having a quick cup of coffee before heading to the store. From modern sculptural designs to vintage-inspired chandeliers, these 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.)

01 of 12

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
Shop
02 of 12

Give a Nod to Midcentury Mod

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-cool 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.

03 of 12

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.

04 of 12

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
Shop
05 of 12

Go for a Conversation Starter

kitchen lighting ideas

Design: Lauren Nelson; Photo: Suzanna Scott

Go big or go home, right? In a space with soaring ceilings like this one, it only makes sense to turn your light fixture into a crowd-pleasing focal point. This dramatic, oversized piece makes for a high-impact upgrade to this large-scale dining area...without obscuring any sight-lines.

06 of 12

Mix Classic With Modern

kitchen lighting ideas

 Design: Linda Eyles; Photo: Julie Soefer

If you think a more vintage-style light fixture can't shine (pun intended) in a modern space, think again. This cool candelabra brings a distinctive touch to this eat-in kitchen, riffing on the antique lines of the iconic ghost chairs arranged below, and picking up on some of the perfectly imperfect elements of the artisan tile seen on the backsplash.

07 of 12

Tell a Nature Story

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
Shop
08 of 12

Vary Your Shapes

kitchen lighting ideas

DESIGN: ASHLEY CLARK/SKOUT

It's always a smart idea to invest in a few pendants if you're trying to light a long space, like a kitchen island. But that doesn't mean you need to succumb to a "matchy-matchy" mentality. Mixing things up with a variety of coordinating shapes can be a cool way to add a little playful energy to your prep space.

limoges pendant
SUZANNE KASLER Limoges Grande Pendant $925
Shop
09 of 12

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.

10 of 12

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
Shop
11 of 12

See Double

kitchen lighting ideas

 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.

12 of 12

Find a Mirror Image

kitchen lighting ideas

Design/Architecture: Studio William Hefner; Photo: Richard Powers

When deciding what you'll see when you look up, sometimes it's best to look down. The wiggly shape of these semi-flush fixtures mimics the rounded edge of the counter below, making for some appealing symmetry in the space. And we would be remiss if we didn't mention how much they look like clouds—another positive association for your ceiling.

Related Stories