Maybe you’re entertaining. Maybe you’re working at the kitchen island. Maybe it’s a chill movie night at home. Your kitchen is a multi-functional space, and your lighting should be too! Usually when we think about kitchen lighting, we think about task lighting—good bright overhead light so we can see what we’re doing. But there are many options for your kitchen and this is one area where it might make sense to use them all. In this post, we’ll shine a light on the different types of lighting for your kitchen renovation, so if you’re renovating or building a new space, you know what to ask for!



Your kitchen needs a good basic source of overall lighting. Whether this comes from a single or series of ceiling-mounted light fixtures, pot lighting, or pendants, you want to have the option to light everything up at once. While you might generally prefer other types of lighting and you may not need it often, there’s nothing better to clean by (or find all the tiny shards from that glass you just dropped). Trust us. Have the ability to land a plane in there if you need it. You’ll thank us one day.

kitchen fridge and stove


It’s the obvious choice for a kitchen. Every kitchen needs a solid amount of task lighting because, let’s face it, you’re doing a lot of tasks in there. How you choose to implement your task lighting is different depending on how you’re planning on using your kitchen. Most kitchens have various work zones and can be lit differently with a variety of sources.

Targeted lighting:  If you have a zone that you know will be used heavily (some examples: your kitchen sink, your pantry, or a built-in coffee bar), consider adding some dedicated lighting. Not only does it make the work you’ll need to do there a little bit more pleasant, it’s simply a lot easier to see what you’re doing.

A benefit of lighting your kitchen in zones is that you don’t have to have them all on at once. You can wash your dishes by only the light above the sink with relative ease. No one wants to turn on all the bright lights on those dark winter mornings BEFORE the coffee is made.

kitchen cupboards & drawers

Under-cabinet lighting:  This type of lighting can fall under the task lighting banner too, since it illuminates the countertops along the perimeter of your kitchen. Overhead lighting from a single source in a kitchen means that unless you’re working at an island, you’re likely working with the light behind you. So your body is casting shadows on exactly what you need to see. Under-cabinet lighting puts the light right where it’s most useful…on the counter surface.

Not only is it incredible task lighting, but under-cabinet lighting can highlight some of the little splurges you might have opted for… like a beautiful tile or clean stone backsplash. If you’ve got it, flaunt it! (Or at least light it up!).

kitchen sink

Pendant lighting:  Most often utilized above the kitchen island, pendants are a great way to both boost the overall lighting in a room and provide some excellent task lighting to a functional space. While other forms of lighting are a bit more subtle or even hidden, pendants can bring life and personality to the room.

Hanging right in the middle of the room, pendants are impossible to miss, visually, and there’s nothing wrong with making a statement! Choosing your pendant(s) is much like choosing a piece of jewellery, find a the look you love and let that little light shine!

Similarly, if you have a dining table in your kitchen, finding a beautiful pendant or chandelier can add some sparkle and intimacy to your shared meals.

kitchen island renovation


In-cabinet lighting:  This would be the exact opposite of task lighting, but it sure is beautiful! We build a lot of cabinets for customers that include sections with glass doors, because people love to highlight their treasures and keep them visible while still tucked out of sight.

Considering in-cabinet lighting is a great way to give that area just a little something extra. An added benefit to this type of subtle lighting is that it’s great to use like a night light when you’re slipping into the kitchen for a late night snack, and need just enough light to see.

kitchen cupboards windows

That’s not to say that in-cabinet lighting can’t be extremely useful too! Have you ever wondered why your pantry cabinet doesn’t have a light inside it like your fridge does? How practical would it be to have some extra light on those deep shelves? Never again would you lose a packet of taco seasoning! There are lots of creative places you can add a bit of accent lighting—light up the insides of drawers, or add strip lighting along the toe-kicks of your cabinets for a visual pop. (This is particularly useful in a bathroom to function as a nightlight too!)

We don’t say this about everything, but when it comes to light, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing! There are only a few areas of a kitchen renovation that can have as much visual impact as a good lighting plan, so if you’re looking to splurge on something, this would be one to consider! Looking into smart-home lighting systems can make the lighting even more customized and functional, and with the technology available, the possibilities are endless!

If you’ve been struggling in a dark kitchen and need some help shining some fresh new light into it, we’d love to show you what we can do! At Gateway Kitchen + Bath, we’ve been building beautiful spaces and would love to be part of your kitchen renovation. Contact us to learn more!