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This space feeds our bodies and souls, and reflects our personal style in its own way. So it’s no wonder that the kitchen ends up at the top of the to-do list when it comes to updating your home or taking on a major remodel.

With this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the best modern kitchen lighting fixtures. Task: While ambient lighting lets us navigate throughout the kitchen, it often leaves shadows in areas that require more focus.

With the help of task lighting, work surfaces and cabinetry are properly illuminated so you can safely prepare meals, read recipes and easily spot ingredients on a shelf. They can transform an ordinary space by adding a unique, showcase element.” Designer Becki Owens

For task-oriented islands (food prep, recipe reading), use a mix of recessed downlighting and hanging lights. A set of three pendant lights should be just as high up, spaced apart evenly, and be at least six inches from the edge of the island.

Linear suspension lights work well in kitchens with higher ceilings and can hang at least 40” above the countertop. If you are having trouble moving power around in the ceiling, a track or monorail system could be the solution. A poorly cast shadow where you practice your knife skills can be inconvenient and downright dangerous. In fact, undercabinet lighting greatly improves the functionality and environment of a kitchen.

A wide array of systems and fixtures can be added on to existing cabinets, as well as fully custom rail kits that integrate lighting and power outlets into a seamless backsplash. A great sales or support person can help ensure the size, material and brightness of a particular fixture is specified correctly and even map out a whole lighting scheme. Another Option: Flushmount or semi-flushmount lighting works better in smaller spaces.

Leave clearance on each exposed side of the work surface to avoid bumping your head. But it’s particularly useful for illuminating areas of visual interest like open shelves and glass cabinets. But it’s particularly useful for illuminating areas of visual interest like open shelves and glass cabinets.

When rewiring or designing a kitchen from scratch, take time to carefully plan the controls layout. Most kitchens have more than one entry point, so ensure the most critical ambient fixtures can be controlled from both ends. For even more flexibility, look to whole-home or WiFi systems that allow you to sync multiple controls without wiring them across.

Focusing on the right layers makes the most of every space and activity in the kitchen, from morning coffee to midnight snacks.

Eldridge 7314 Pendant above a kitchen island.
Eldridge 7314 Pendant above a kitchen island.

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