Kitchen Lighting Tips


Hi, I’m Steven Meltzer of Abbey’s Kitchens, Baths & Interiors.

I’ve been a kitchen and bath designer for more than 34 years and I’d like to tell you about how I like to light kitchens.

Designers know that it is important to “layer” light.

The way we light our homes affects how well our spaces function and how we feel when we spend time in those spaces. Let’s talk about light fixtures AND the lightbulbs you choose. I consider lighting an important part of every kitchen design budget, not an afterthought!

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I love to cook, so I know it is important to feel good in your kitchen.

Recessed cans in the ceiling or ceiling lights provide ambient lighting. They generally light up the whole space. I use Halo fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs that emit anywhere between 2700k to 5000k light output.

K= Kelvin, a method of measuring color temperature in light. 2700k is considered a “warm white” light with reddish hues. 5000k is considered daylight or “bright white” light. You will see the packaging for lightbulbs labeled with these phrases.

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Ambient lighting

With warm white (2700k) ambient lighting, people will look more natural, not washed out. Designers use warm white lighting to enhance darker woods and items which have darker or browner colors within them.

Daylight, or bright white lighting (5,000k), is typically used to enhance lighter colors. This works well for whites, where you don’t want darker or reddish colors diminishing the nice, bright white look.

Task lighting

Under the upper cabinets, I use LED light bar fixtures for task lighting. This lighting illuminates the backsplash and countertops. I choose fixtures that emit “Daylight” (5000K), especially when the countertops, backsplashes and cabinets are light colored. I also like “Daylight” when the kitchen uses glass or glossy tile for the backsplash, and when a countertop has a sheen, because the 5000k light reflects beautifully.

Decorative lighting

These fixtures and lightbulbs add the final POP to my kitchen lighting designs. I’ve used 3 hanging pendant light fixtures, equally spaced and approximately 30” above the countertop. Using “bright white” LED bulbs, I put these on a dimmer switch to lower the light level when a more subtle mood is needed.

When a kitchen opens to another room, I choose these kitchen pendant fixtures to have a similar theme and color.

Two other places to add some lighting ‘bling’…

  • I usually specify glass doors in some of the upper cabinetry. Lighting the cabinet interiors and using glass shelves creates an artistic touch; such as showing off the sparkle of crystal glassware!
  • Try adding toe-kick lighting with LED rope lighting. By using the same color temperature as the other lighting in the kitchen, it can provide a beautiful ambiance and can also serve as a night lighting.

Do YOU need help with your kitchen or bath design?

Call me, Steven Meltzer of Abbey’s Kitchens, Baths & Interiors, to schedule a free (or Zoom), in-home consultation at (201) 823-2223, anytime between 10 AM to 10 PM.

Thank you for reading these lighting tips. If you wish to make a comment or ask a question, please contact me, Steven Meltzer of Abbey’s Kitchens, Baths & Interiors, or by email:

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