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The kitchen is the hub of the home, so building the perfect kitchen is more than just selecting the chicest countertops or installing the prettiest backsplash. Great lighting is game-changing, and the best kitchen designs often involve multiple kinds of lighting, each with its own visual significance and specialty. Developing a comprehensive kitchen lighting design plan doesn’t have to be complicated—we’ll help you optimize illumination and add visual interest to your space with our guide to kitchen lighting.

Kitchen Lighting DesignAddison Kitchen and Bar/Prep Faucets and Contemporary Wall-Mount Pot Filler

Kitchen lighting falls into three categories: ambient, task and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is the main light source in a kitchen, often overhead lighting. Ambient lighting options are diverse in style—recessed lights, track lighting, chandeliers and ceiling-mount fixtures are all viable options for brightening your overall environment. Finalizing the best option for your home comes down to preference in size, illumination and aesthetics. What size light will your space accommodate? Can it brighten the entire kitchen to your specifications? Does the kitchen lighting design match your taste?

Ambient Kitchen LightingMateo Single-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet and Traditional Wall-Mount Pot Filler

Specific activities—like reading, cooking or washing dishes—are often made easier by task lighting in the kitchen. Task lighting allows you to brighten your specific activity, often without the need for ambient lighting. Wall lights, pendants and under-cabinet lights all make great task lighting. Wandering into the kitchen for a glass of water in the middle of the night? Toe-kick lighting will highlight your way without the need for super-bright overheads.

Kitchen Accent LightingFuse Single-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

Treasures in your home, like precious art or adored pottery, deserve their own spotlight—this is where accent lighting comes in. Accent lighting often blends with your décor as opposed to being a showpiece on its own. Rope lighting in cabinets with heirloom china or picture lights for wall art will ensure your art is brilliantly highlighted. Good lighting balances style with purpose and can take your kitchen from lovely to stunning in the flick of a switch. Lighting also provides ambiance, so don’t forget the dimmers.