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If your kitchen lighting situation is more drab than fab, it’s time to upgrade. I’m not talking a total renovation, just a strategic switch-up of those tired old fixtures. Think of it as an effortless way to inject major personality into the heart of your home. After all, your kitchen deserves way more than builder-basic blah!  

a kitchen with a large traditional pendant light

Table of Contents

As an interior designer, I see this all the time. Switching out your kitchen light fixtures can change the whole vibe, and it’s way easier than you think. Let’s ditch the dull and bring on the drama!  

Don’t have time to read it now?  Pin it for later!

a quote from the blog: The Secret to great ambient Light? Layers and Flexibility!
kitchen with island and 3 large black-white islands

See similar here

Set the Mood: The Best Ambient Kitchen Lighting

Ambient lighting is the 1st layer of your kitchen design. Imagine it as the soft, welcoming glow that sets the stage for everything else. This is where way too many homeowners end up disappointed. They stick with builder-grade basics or go way too dim, completely missing the mark on atmosphere.  

The secret to great ambient light? Layers and flexibility! Here’s how to get it right:

Ditch the single ceiling fixture

One sad little light in the middle of the room screams “boring” and doesn’t spread the light around. Upgrade to multiple recessed cans for a clean look or stylish pendants to make a statement.  

Embrace those layers

Think recessed lighting for general illumination, pendants over an island for task lighting, and under-cabinet strips for more task lighting, with the bonus of adding warmth and eliminating shadows.  

Dimmers are your best friend

This one switch gives you instant mood control. Bright for cooking, soft and cozy for entertaining—it’s your call.

Remember the windows

If you’re blessed with loads of natural light, layer it with sheer curtains or shades to control the intensity, especially during bright afternoons. 

PRO TIP: Café curtains are back in a big way, so consider incorporating them if you prefer to dress your windows up.

You’ll need a tension rod, rings with clips, and pretty fabric. Don’t be tempted to go the easy route and slip that tension rod through the rod pocket. The rings are always the designer way to go.

patterned cafe curtains on several windows in this kitchen
natural sheer cafe curtains at a dining nook
floral cafe curtains on a triple window over a sink with a green pendant light
patterned cafe curtains over a kitchen sink with lots of herb plants

Kitchen Sink Light Fixtures That Turn Cleanup Into a Highlight

Let’s be honest: Nobody throws a party to celebrate dishwashing. But the right kitchen sink light fixture can make this chore a heck of a lot more pleasant. We’re talking focused task lighting that injects a dose of style.

kitchen sink with 3 large windows and 3 gold articulating arm sconces

See sconce here and similar here and here

kitchen sink with window and white-gold sconce and colorful wall art

See similar here, here, and here

Think beyond basic

A sleek pendant adds a touch of sophistication, while an articulated sconce lets you direct the light right where you need it. 

Add some sparkle

Opt for a fixture with metallic accents or a touch of crystal for unexpected glam.

Embrace color

A bold fixture in a fun hue can be the perfect accent piece to liven things up—you know I’m all about color.

Size matters

When choosing a fixture, consider the proportion of your sink area. A grand statement piece might overwhelm a small sink, while something too small feels underwhelming.

kitchen with green and white cabinetry and gold pendant over sink

See similar here, here, and here

triple window over sink with side wall sconces and herb plants

See similar here and here

Remember, a well-lit kitchen looks fantastic, reduces eye strain (squinting over cutting boards? No, thank you!), and makes you feel more energized, even when tackling those pesky chores. If you dream of a stylish and functional kitchen, you can create a space you’ll love, even when those dirty dishes pile up!

Your Kitchen Deserves a Spotlight: Accent Lighting Done Right

Think of accent lighting as jewelry for your kitchen. Those strategic little touches elevate the space from “meh” to “magazine-worthy.” Sadly, this is where many homeowners miss out! A little accent lighting goes a long way and is easier than you think.

round dining table near french doors and a large multi-tiered hemp rope chandelier

See chandelier here and similar here and here

round dining table with round cement shallow dome pendant above

See pendant here and similar here

Highlight the good stuff

Got a gorgeous backsplash? Open shelving showcasing your curated dish collection? Draw the eye with subtle under-cabinet lighting or in-cabinet strips. These small touches feel luxe—a major upgrade! 

Up the drama factor

Top-of-cabinet accent lighting washes your walls in a warm glow, perfect for cozy evenings. Added bonus: it also makes your ceilings feel taller. 

Think outside the box

A statement chandelier over your breakfast nook? LED strips under your bar stools for a playful touch? A well-placed accent light can inject a seriously fun personality boost! Don’t be afraid to express your style—your kitchen should feel uniquely yours. 

kitchen built-in nook with schoolhouse flushmounts

See similar here, here, and here

built-in banqette with large windows and patterned, shirred pendant shade

This is true custom, but can find alternatives here and here              Tutorial on covering a shade here   Order custom work here 

Remember, accent lighting is about layering, creating depth, and those “wow” moments. Lighting can transform your everyday kitchen into a space you love showing off. If you long for a kitchen that feels like a custom-designed escape without the sky-high price tag, accent lighting gets you luxe mileage.

Love Your Kitchen's Style? Match Your Light Fixtures Too!

Does your kitchen scream mid-century modern? Is it all about that farmhouse vibe? How about modern coastal? Or are you rocking a bold, industrial-chic look? Whatever your style, your kitchen light fixtures should sing the same tune! It’s the key to a cohesive space that feels genuinely you. 

Unfortunately, this harmony is easy to miss. Too many folks pair their updated kitchens with generic light fixtures, destroying the vibe they worked so hard to create. Let’s change that!

kitchen island with large schoolhouse style pendants

See it here

Know your vibe

Seriously, take a step back and identify your kitchen’s overall style. Clean lines and pops of color with geometric shapes? That’s mid-century territory. Rustic textures and weathered finishes mean farmhouse. Are you drawn to sleek chrome and geometric shapes? That’s a contemporary calling card.

Material matters

Brass and polished metals create a glam vibe, while black iron and exposed bulbs feel industrial. Wood accents pair perfectly with a farmhouse or coastal look. Don’t hesitate to play with textures—a sleek glass pendant pops against rustic wood beams! 

Don't be afraid to mix things up

While your fixtures should complement your style, they don’t have to be carbon copies of everything else. An oversized industrial pendant can ground a modern farmhouse kitchen, or a touch of crystal glam adds a surprising twist to a rustic space. 

kitchen island with large cone pendants in white-gold

See similar here, here, and here

I live for those “aha!” moments when your kitchen suddenly feels complete, down to the last lightbulb. You can create a kitchen that reflects your impeccable style from floor to ceiling! 

Kitchen Island Lighting Secrets: Make the Heart of Your Home Shine

Your kitchen island is the star of the show! It’s where you prep meals, gather for snacks, and sort the mail on a hectic day. In my home, the island is our entertaining hub. The proper kitchen island lighting transforms this multitasking hero from functional to fabulous.

full view of kitchen which shows both handing pendant lights, and 4 seagrass and teak counter stools
© D. Miko Designs, LLC

Here is my kitchen – our island is 12.5′ – two 20″ diameter pendants spaced 36″ apart are perfect

view of kitchen showing a wall of refrigerator and freezer columns and full size wine fridge
© D. Miko Designs, LLC

See similar here

Big or Small Kitchen? Find the Perfect Light Fixtures for Your Space

Whether you’re blessed with a sprawling, open-concept kitchen or rock a cozy, galley-style space, the proper lighting can transform how it looks and feels. But let’s face it—finding the perfect kitchen light fixtures can be tricky! That’s why I’m here to break down essential tips for every type of kitchen.

If you’ve got a large and lovely kitchen, you can use these tips:

Embrace the island life

Gorgeous islands deserve to be showcased with statement lighting. Pendants, mini-chandeliers, or a sleek linear fixture add a dramatic focal point. And don’t be fooled by those stunning kitchen photos with no island pendants—trust me, recessed lights are there but are photoshopped out of the picture! Islands absolutely need good lighting for function and style.

Define your zones

  • A large open kitchen needs multiple lighting zones to feel balanced. Layer pendants over the island, recessed lights for general illumination, and under-cabinet strips for task areas. Consider a separate fixture to highlight your dining space.
kitchen island with large convex lens pendants

See similar here

And if you’ve got a cozier little kitchen, consider these:

Think creatively

A series of mini-pendants can create a charming bistro feel, especially in smaller kitchens, but they need some shape. (A narrow, tall cylinder is ho-hum!) Recessed lights keep things sleek and streamlined, while adjustable wall sconces add task lighting wherever needed.

Maximize natural light

If you’re lucky enough to have ample windows, make them a focal point! Use light, airy curtains to control the glare, and embrace the sunlight for a bright, welcoming space. I have no window coverings in my kitchen because I adore natural light and don’t want to cover it up, and I don’t have direct sunlight there.

Don't be afraid to go bold

A small kitchen is the perfect spot for a statement piece. Oversized pendants or a quirky chandelier add personality without overwhelming the space.

No matter the size of your kitchen, a strategic lighting approach can truly elevate the look and feel of your home.

PRO TIP: Here’s the rule of thumb for sizing a light fixture—measure the length and width of the room and add those numbers together. Example: room is 15′ long and 13′ wide. 15+13=28 

Ideally, your light fixture should be about 28″ in diameter; however, I always go larger. In this example, I would go as large as 36″.

round table with 4 tall slipcovered dining chairs artwork and a chandelier with oyster shells
© D. Miko Designs, LLC

My dining room is only 10′ x 10′, but 1.5 walls are open to the main living area. 20″ chandelier would look dinky, especially in an open floor plan, so I chose a 32″ basket fixture with a strand of oyster shells and quartz crystal nuggets.

See similar style here and here

Should Kitchen Light Fixtures Be Fun? (The Answer Might Surprise You!)

Ready to ditch those drab kitchen light fixtures and transform your space into a home? The choices can feel endless, but that’s where I come in. I’ll help you find those perfect fixtures that make your kitchen feel brighter, more functional, and totally chic. Think of me as your personal lighting stylist!

a dining nook with pink chairs, marble dining table and dark teal fringed chandelier
© D. Miko Designs, LLC

See it here and similar here, here, and here

Let’s chat and turn that “blah” kitchen into a space you’ll be dying to show off. Forget builder-grade basics – it’s time for a kitchen that shines with your personality!

Keep Dancing, Darlene