What Color Light is Best for Kitchen?


About Kitchen Light Colors

During the daytime, you can get much of natural light if you have a big kitchen window. But the evenings are different. You will need good lighting if you want to accomplish your kitchen tasks well. Your space needs to be bright and the color of your kitchen lights should suit your mood.

There are three main types of lighting that you can use in your kitchen. These are ambient or general lighting which gives the room its basic light, task lighting which focuses on a specific work area and accent lighting which creates a focal point in the room.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is best for cooking. The light is adequately distributed to your kitchen space to give it great illumination. The layer of light throughout the room is consistent so that there is no problem when working under it.

One good way to fill your kitchen space with a sufficient amount of light is by putting recessed lighting in your kitchen. Aside from recessed lighting, you can also use pendant lights, chandeliers, and flush mounts.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is used if you need light for a specific activity. It will provide good light in the particular spot where most of your work is done. Task lighting should be situated in the area above your workspace especially when you are using knives.

Task lighting can also be provided by under-cabinet lighting. This is ideal if you have activities using your countertop. With this type of lighting, no shadows will be cast. It also provides a nice architectural feature that highlights the contour and shape of your kitchen.

You can properly light your work areas and cabinets with task lighting. This can help you prepare your meals safely, read recipes, and locate ingredients on your shelf easily. Task lights are usually a direct light beam.

Accent Lighting

If you want to focus on something in the room, then accent lights are ideal to use. Visual interest is provided by these lights. If you want to show off areas of your kitchen, using accent lights can draw people’s attention to that area. Accent lighting above your cabinet area will make the room look inviting and even your ceiling will look taller.


Buy kitchen ceiling light fixtures suited for each layer

Look for the best fixtures in each of the three lighting categories:

  • Ambient light fixtures in the kitchen include recessed lights mounted inside shallow openings in the ceiling, flush-mount or semi-flush-mount fixtures that affix to the ceiling with a small or large gap between the fixture and ceiling, respectively, and chandeliers or lanterns that hang from the ceiling by a chain.
  • Task light fixtures include pendant lights that hang from the ceiling and multi-bulb LED strips or LED tape that mounts or sticks on or inside your kitchen cabinets, pantry, or drawers. Under-cabinet lighting is ideal for illuminating countertops
  • Accent light fixtures include cove lights that are built into the ceiling and puck lights—round, low-profile lights that mount on or inside cabinets.

RELATED: The Best Pendant Lights of 2021



Kitchen Light Color Temperature

The color temperature of a light bulb can range anywhere from cool (higher Kelvin) to warm (lower Kelvin). When looking for lights for your kitchen, you should pay attention to the temperature of the bulb in additional to the wattage. This combination ultimately defines how bright the light feels.

A cooler bulb helps people see better in the kitchen but too much of a shift from cool to warm colors can detract from mood.

The color of the light in a kitchen is closely related to what you’re doing, but if you can’t make up your mind, daylight bulbs reside somewhere between white (5000K) and cool white (4100K) on the color temperature scale. Clear sunlight has 5000 degrees, Kelvin. Daylight bulbs produce an almost bluish-white room with a 4100 K look.

Cool whites give an even, crisp lighting without being jarring to any eye colors. As you go up the temperatures on the spectrum of color for appliances and lamps that emit light, then you also increase their heat output. Higher-temperature bulbs tend to have a blue tint instead of a yellowish one, so they’re ideal if you need

Light from soft white bulbs causes a yellow-ish and familiar light. This brightness will make reds and oranges more visible and should be used in “rooms that aren’t too blue.”

A kitchen needs to have light colors that will help you see well, and a light bulb with a higher color temperature will show more dimly. This is why it is important for the average person’s brightly lit kitchen not to use the most common bulbs: warm white incandescent bulbs, which are typically only used in bedrooms at 2500 Kelvin (K).

Break Room

The break room is the place employees go to relax, and take a step back from their work. A range of Warm White close to Neutral White color temperature may be a good choice.




Know Your Ideal Brightness

The color of your lighting is not the same as its brightness; LED lights offer both options independently. Once you find your ideal tone, consider the number of lumens to pinpoint the bulb's brightness. 

Lumens measure how much light your bulb gives off, no matter the number of watts. This measurement is a prime differentiator between LEDs and CFLs, aka fluorescent bulbs.

Choosing the right brightness for your kitchen comes down to:

  • the size of the room

  • the color of your walls and cabinets

  • the type of lighting (overhead, sconces, task)

Most LED light bulbs for the primary light sources in your kitchen—overhead lighting, for example—fall between 2,000 and 6,000 lumens. Here are some general rules of thumb to know when choosing:

  • Smaller kitchens require fewer lumens.

  • Darker walls, counters, and cabinets require higher lumens.

  • Lights further from the center of the room require higher lumens, depending on their purpose.

Accent lights around your kitchen, such as small task lights under your cabinets, may come from bulbs with lower lumen ratings. A bulb as low as 500 to 1,000 lumens works for a counter or small kitchen island.

Guide to Lighting + Lamping: Color Temperature, …


Color temperatures of more than 3500K are usually reserved for commercial (4000K), hospital (5000K and up is a very bright white) or other utility applications where ultra-bright light is needed (direct sunlight is 4,700K so imagine how bright a 5,700K bulb would seem). For turning night into day with flood lights, consider 6,000K to 7,000 Kelvin.

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2020-5-21 · For example, 2000K to 3000K lighting is best for a bedroom since the lighting is yellowish and soft. A kitchen needs warm colored bulb ranging from 3000K to 4000 K. And study areas need 5000K to 6000K LED bulbs for a bright daylight color. This article …

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Dining Room

The dining room can be tricky as it should promote calm, but also keep family and guests attentive for conversing and eating. To achieve this, use accent lighting such as an over the table chandelier with a Warm White, and general lighting on the lower end of Cool White color temperatures.




Setting the Mood in the Kitchen

The mood of people can be affected by color temperature. If you have low color temperature lights, your body can release the melatonin hormone. This causes you to relax and become sleepy. Similarly, if your lights have a high color temperature, the serotonin hormone is released by your body which boosts up your energy level.

While the best lighting for your kitchen are lights with high color temperature, you can also use lights with low color temperature to set its mood. It is good to layer decorative bulbs with warm amber glow in a space that already has cool whites and daylights. But a better idea is to install a dimmer switch so that you can have more control over the brightness of your kitchen lights.

Or, you can choose to use color-changing LEDs so that you can control the temperature. Dimming the lights will give you warmer lights all the way to up 2200K. If you have a lamp that emits a soothing yellow light you simply cannot see by, it can still have a place in your kitchen. If you are not using your kitchen as you would normally use it, then it is nice to have that light.

However, when you start cooking, you should turn it off and turn the lights above on. Turning the cooler lights on can help you prepare your meals properly without any incident.

Understand Kelvin Ratings

LED bulbs measure color temperature—the color or tone—in Kelvins, or K. The higher the Kelvin rating, the cooler and bluer the hue. You’ll veer more toward a warm, yellow, candle-like color as you move down the K rating scale.

For kitchen color temperature, aim for either:

  • a warm white rating between 3,000–4,000 Kelvin

  • a bright to cool white light between 4,000–5,000 Kelvin

Anything lower than 3,000 creates that yellow, cozy tone that’s better suited for your living room rather than cooking areas. Head above 5,000, and you’ll give off natural sunlight hues commonly found in commercial spaces.

Understanding Ratings for Light Bulb

You can’t find similar rating light bulbs. These come with a different type of brightness level and color warmth. These come with various types of wattages and base styles.

However, this is not hard to pick a particular type of bulb for your kitchen area. Here are two units to choose suitable lighting for your kitchen.


The brightness level of a bulb is defined by lumen rating. When lighting comes with more brightness this means the lumen rating is high. Sometimes it could be too high for making the entire room unrealistic.

However, there is a factor here. A room’s brightness level has some other decisive facts to bring into consideration also. This can be the size of the room, light placement, wall colors, and other factors. So, it could be convoluted about what brightness to start with.

Some light models come with a lumen and watt calculator for an area you chose to place it in. This machine will only need you to pick a room and its entire dimension.

Next just put the selected illumination intensity and light placement. Also, decide whether the walls are light or dark.

Now simply calculate and you’ll be able to see the lumens instead of watts with this.


How much power a bulb consumes is the watts. When you use LED bulbs then the matter of watt is not so important. For that case, lumens are more preferable to use instead of watts.

Modern LED bulbs are more favorable than the Incandescent ones that use high power. When you consider a 60W incandescent then this will emit less light than a similar power LED.

You should be looking for an 8W or maybe 12W LED bulb to get a similar lumen rating to a 60W incandescent.

The Types of Bulbs

The type of bulb will also determine how the lighting will look like. There is various kind of bulbs that performs differently.

Four basic types are incandescent, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED, and halogen. The first type is a conventional style that is being used for a long time.

These will give you a nice warm and glowing light. The second type is also known as CFL is 75 percent less in energy than the incandescent options. They also can last long.

These emit cooler tones. There are still various brightness and temperature levels available with these. It needs you to be careful about handling.

Since CFLs come with mercury. LEDs are kind of similar to CFLs but they do last around three times longer. These were favorable for task lighting since there is a harsh, direct light. However, like CFLs now these have come a long way.

The look is similar to incandescent but its efficiency is quite higher. LEDs are not hot as incandescent and they also go longer. However, the pricing for LEDs is also quite high. However, their utility rebated is available.

The final type is brighter with a white light that looks like natural daylight. It’s known as halogen. For task lighting in kitchen cabinets, these do a really good job. The energy consumption is also ten to twenty percent less than incandescent bulbs.

Range of Color Temperature

There is three range of temperature for bulb colors. These are soft white, bright white a daylight shade. Soft white is 2700k to 3000k. The bright white range is 3500k to 4100K. For daylight, the range starts from 5000k to 6500k.

More kelvin means a better depth of whiteness. Lower kelvin reading lights are less white even when the same numbers of lumens are available. This is the same even when the actual brightness is not affected.

For kitchen lighting applications, soft white incandescent bulbs are most used over the years. However, this does not mean they are the only best options available.

One good example is the fact that because of warmer temperatures some colors are dragged out. Because soft white lights tend to take out warmer shades such as orange or red. So, the contrast is altering hugely in a space.

Keeping that in mind you need to choose a light color for your kitchen. Don’t go for soft or warm white shades to use in the kitchen. These are preferable for bedrooms and living rooms where you need a cozy feel.

Use bright or cool white instead. These are efficient to bring energy into your kitchen and also, they suit garages and bathrooms. You may also want to try daylight colors that are great for cutting chores.

These are also favorable in bathrooms and basements. With the greatest color contrast, these fit best for kitchen usage.

What Kind of Fixture?

You know the functioning, temperature, and brightness points for your kitchen light decision. It’s only wise to be careful with the type of fixture you are going to optimize.

Some common fixtures may be used but not each of them is good for kitchen application. The first type is ceiling mount fixtures. Now this category fixture is suitable for ambient lighting. However, you may want to use it inside the small storeroom inside your kitchen.

These come with a nice yellowish shade and require spacing out every eight to ten feet for the right amount of illumination. This kind is more preferable for hallways and task areas.

Chandeliers are not quite used for kitchen areas. But if you have small dining attached to your kitchen then maybe above the table a chandelier will look elegant. All-mounted fixtures are often used for kitchen appliances.

This is great for any lighting. However, you need to be decisive about where to put them with the right type of bulb to use. Pendant lighting is usually hanging from the ceiling and comes with shades to prevent glare.

These look classy in kitchen space with countertops or dining tables. Working areas look beautiful with such lighting.

The next type is recessed lighting. You can adjust the brightness and where to place it. These are great for general, accent, and task lighting. Most of the time, they look super convenient for any kitchen space no matter small or big.

Track lighting is versatile but it suits less in a kitchen. There are individual lamps around. If you have a corner in your kitchen with expensive utensils and glass showpieces then try decorating that space with track lighting.

FAQs About Kitchen Lighting Design

Overhauling the lighting in your kitchen should be done with considerable attention to detail, and you certainly want to have all your questions answered before you begin. Check out these FAQs to ensure you’re fully armed with all the information you need.

Q. What are the best lights for kitchens?

For safety and functionality, you’ll want lights that provide ambient and task light. Depending on your setup, you may also need accent lighting to highlight special features in your space. Be sure to find lights that are properly rated for the wet, potentially grimy environment of a kitchen.

Q. How do I choose a kitchen light fixture?

First determine the functionality of the lighting you need. Then consider the decor of your home and which style of light fixture is the best match. Pricing, too, may be a factor, as there is a wide range of prices associated with lighting and you’ll want to select kitchen light fixtures that align with your budget.

Q. How do I choose a kitchen chandelier?

Choose a fixture that emits adequate lighting for your environment, and select one that complements your design style.  You’ll likely have to peruse lots of web stores to find the kitchen chandelier that’s just perfect for your space, but the effort is worth it.

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