If there’s one place the worlds of form and function seamlessly meet it’s in the kitchen. And upgrading the lighting is an way to add a fresh dose of style and substance to the space. Even if you don’t have a major kitchen remodel in your future, a simple lighting swap — from adding some architectural track lighting to installing a dramatic chandelier — might be all it takes to upgrade the entire kitchen. Lighting is a lot like painting in that way: it can be an inexpensive, but impressive way to transform the room in a single afternoon.
If your kitchen lighting needs an upgrade, consider these 9 easy ideas:
Image: Pillar Custom Homes
Under-Cabinet LED Light Bars
These long, narrow lights are installed directly onto the underside of your cabinetry, making them ideal for illuminating countertops and prep areas. LED light bars come in a wide variety of lengths and they’re linkable, so even long countertops can be fully and evenly illuminated. They can be either hardwired into the wall for a seamless look, or plugged in for easy installation.
Image: Cheryl Burke Design
Under-Cabinet Rope Lights
Like LED light bars, rope lights are best used for countertop task lighting. Rope lights are also easy to install: they can be discreetly hung underneath a row of cabinets with a set of rope mounts that screw directly into the cabinetry.
Image: Niki Papadopoulos
Decorative Flush Mount
One of the fastest ways to give a spec kitchen new style is to swap out the standard ceiling fixture for something with a little more personality. A flush-mount fixture with decorative details — like this drum light with geometric cutouts — is a dramatic addition that only requires a few twists of a screwdriver.
Image: John Maniscalco
If you kitchen has an island or breakfast bar, consider hanging pendant lights above it. Pendant lighting not only adds style to the space, it can also help anchor a kitchen island so it feels more deliberate in an open-concept home.
Image: Melissa Miranda Design
Small, disc-like puck lights are easy to install almost anywhere you need added illumination, from under cabinets to inside deep drawers or in dark corners of the pantry. There are hardwired and plug in puck lights, but for the simplest installation opt for battery-operated LED pucks, which can last up to 30,000 hours and can be hung with Velcro.
Image: Calvis Wyant
In-cabinet lighting. Cabinet lighting can be extremely practical for deep or dark cabinets, but added to glass-front cabinetry it adds a cozy, romantic vibe and highlights your best cake stands and wine glasses.
Image: Widler Architecture
While installing rope or bar lights underneath your cabinetry can be a practical choice, installing them on top of your cabinets can create an ethereal, uplit effect on the ceiling that’s purely aesthetic.
Image: Toby Zack Interior Design
If a single ceiling light isn’t cutting it in your kitchen, track lighting is an excellent solution. With a single ceiling junction box, you can install a track light system that will allow you to direct light wherever you need it most.
Image: Lichten Craig Architecture
There are few lighting options that have a more dramatic, unexpected impact on your kitchen than swapping out a simple ceiling lamp for a chandelier. Don’t be afraid to go with something fancy, even in the kitchen. The simple, functional elements of your kitchen will easily balance out an elaborate chandelier.