Modern Kitchen Ceiling Lighting Ideas
The kitchen boasts so many functions throughout the day that it’s essential to get the lighting just right. But kitchen ceiling lighting includes many options to choose from: recessed to track lighting, pendant to island lighting. Truthfully, they’re all viable options, and it’s a matter of figuring out what your space needs and finding a fixture that you love to fill that need. Here, our favorite ways to light a kitchen from the top up.
Track lighting systems have a reputation for being a bit dated, but there are plenty of modern options that maintain a cool and contemporary aesthetic with the benefits a track system offers: Custom configurations, solving for hard-to-light spaces, mixing decorative fixtures with functional. Shown: Mezz Mini Pendant Light by Tech Lighting
An easy way to make a space feel especially put together is to create consistency. Here, the shape of the Cherner stools is reflected in the shape of the kitchen pendants. This is a no-brainer way to choose pieces that “go together” and feel cohesive in a final design. Shown: Mali Pendant Light by Tech Lighting
When it comes to kitchen ceilings, combining recessed lighting with hanging lamps is a surefire approach to covering the layers of light this space needs. But an alternative to your standard decorative pendant is a linear suspension lamp that evenly lights the entire surface below it. Linear suspensions can be sleek and minimal, like shown here, or more decorative to add an extra element of design. Shown: Gia Low Voltage Linear Suspension by Tech Lighting
Choosing kitchen pendants that are within the same general palette maintains a clean look but lets the lighting itself stand out as a decorative element. The smooth, organic shape of the LZF pendants shown here are a slight nod to the curvature of the room’s doorways. Shown: Nut Suspension Light by LZF
Monorail lighting is a great option for over kitchen counters and workspaces to accommodate different needs. Here, decorative pendants deliver a design element as well as ambient lighting. And spotlights add additional illumination focused on the areas that need it most, like those used for food prep. Shown: Brim Directional MonoRail Head by Tech Lighting and Manette Low Voltage Pendant Lighting by Tech Lighting
Treat your kitchen like the workspace it is. This kitchen island feels like a chef’s workshop, with plenty of space to prep, chop and slice to your heart’s content. The kitchen pendants reflect the industrial aesthetic and each provide a wider swath of light than you’d get from a mini pendant, illuminating the surface below.
One kitchen ceiling light that works with just about every style? The globe pendant. This simple, modern shape has roots in mid-century modern, but it’s a go-to option no matter what your taste is. For an added oomph, look to a finish that adds extra special detail, like an aged brass or chic matte black.
Recessed lighting is a go-to for general kitchen ceiling lighting, and for good reason. When placed about 2 to 3 feet apart, recessed lighting will flood a kitchen with light, and can be set up to be controlled on different switches, so that you can limit your energy use to only the space you’re using. The same goes for island lighting or other fixtures hanging in the same space. Shown: Devin Pendant Light by Tech Lighting
For overall kitchen lighting, we often think of recessed lights dotted throughout or a flushmount smack in the middle of the room. But for galley-style kitchens in need of runway-esque lighting, a path of pendant lights does the job just as well. In this kitchen, the pendants become part of the overall room style, whereas a more subtle ceiling light might have gotten lost in the narrow space. Shown: Ambit LED Pendant Light by Muuto
There’s no reason an eat-in area in the kitchen can’t have a lighting treatment that’s often reserved for dining rooms. Here, a generously sized Tom Dixon pendant provides ample light over the bar and serves as a decorative showpiece for the entire kitchen. Shown: Beat Stout Pendant Light by Tom Dixon
When a kitchen island or bar opens up to a greater living space, you might hesitate to fill the line of sight with bulkier or obtrusive fixtures. Sticking to a single color scheme among your cabinets, backsplash and any hanging ceiling lights keeps the area from looking too cluttered or busy when it’s visible from many other vantage points in your home. Shown: Brummel Pendant Light by Tech Lighting
It’s definitely possible to vary your metal finishes within your home, and even within the same room (when done right). But there’s something to be said for coordination, as well. Here, the ighting is in full sync with the plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware and even the metal accents on the barstools. If you’re having trouble selecting a color for your kitchen ceiling lights, see if there’s a clear choice among some of the finishes you already have in the room. Shown: Beat Tall Pendant Light by Tom Dixon
A hanging lamp may be able to take on the appearance of a flushmount when hung close enough to the ceiling, like this chandelier. Getting as close to the ceiling as possible can save visual real estate without sacrificing design. In this galley kitchen, a linear suspension is hung high, paired with recessed fixtures down the narrow space for the perfect balance of utility and drama. Shown: Level Criss Cross LED Linear Pendant Light by Ridgely Studio
In a small kitchen, your ceiling lighting may very well be served by a single fixture in the middle of the space. In this petite kitchen, too many light fixtures would be a bit intense, but a flushmount paired with some under cabinet lighting would be ample illumination for daily kitchen tasks.
This is another great example of working with what you’ve got. This kitchen is lucky to get natural light from a tall window, so there’s no reason to go overboard on additional fixtures. Recessed ceiling lights s well as under cabinet puck lights make sure all surfaces are illuminated, even when the sun isn’t streaming through the window.
While recessed lighting is a straightforward solution for kitchen ceiling lighting, you can accomplish much of the same effect with multiple flushmount fixtures. Spaced equal distance apart, flushmounts will provide general lighting to each section of the room, and task lighting can be used in areas that need more focused light.
For low ceilings, close-to-ceiling lights may be your only option for saving headspace. This kitchen uses a high-style flushmount in the center, with glossy white cabinets that reflects light back into the room. If your vertical space is limited, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a simple-but-striking light to complement the space. Shown: Boop! Wall/Ceiling Light by Carpyen
Kitchen ceiling lighting over an island can come in many forms. Rather than a more common row of pendants, we love a cluster hung at different heights for bringing the drama of a chandelier centerpiece. For this triple threat, look to install each fixtures with a hanging difference of 3 to 6 inches to ensure the difference looks intentional.
If you love the look of pendants but hate the idea of installing them each one at a time (and ensuring they’re all the same height and distance apart), consider a linear suspension with individual shades, which provides the same look as a group of pendants but a streamlined execution. Shown: TR Bulb Suspension Lamp by Menu
A custom design element is one way to make your kitchen feel perfectly put together, as if each piece was made for your kitchen alone. A configurable lighting system like Sonneman’s Suspenders collection can do just that. This unique, modular system has interconnected elements that can be mixed and matched in seemingly infinite configurations. Choose the size, shape and style that fits your kitchen and provides the functional illumination in the spaces you need it most. Shown: Suspenders 48 Inch 2 Tier Linear 6 Light LED Suspension System by SONNEMAN Lighting
Choosing kitchen ceiling lighting comes with many options for making the space your own. Start with determining the spaces you need lighting the most, choose your type of lighting, then set out to find a design that best suits your taste. Shop more kitchen ceiling lights at YLighting.
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Sarah is a Brand Marketing Manager for YDesign Group brands. A writer and editor at heart, she loves storytelling in all its forms and is a copious consumer of the Internet (for better or worse). In design, she finds inspiration in simplicity, warmth and all things Danish.