Kitchen Lighting Guide: Show Your Kitchen in Its Best Light

The kitchen is the heart of your home. Don’t you think it deserves stylish light fixtures? Proper lighting can make all the difference in creating a warm and inviting place to cook and eat. With so many lighting options and styles to choose from, this guide offers tips for selecting kitchen lighting that matches the overall aesthetic of your home.

COASTAL STYLE LIGHTING

The best way to illuminate your coastal cottage depends on the particular vibe of your kitchen.

  • Are you going for a more nautical coastal theme? If so, stick to heavier copper and metal fixtures with Fresnel lenses (the glass used in lighthouses). 
  • If you’re going for a more tropical style, use lighter materials such as wicker, pine, and palm. Choose capiz shell chandeliers, aqua-colored glass, and vintage bulbs.

Both styles pair well with antique warped glass fixtures. Patinated copper finishes also provide a splash of beach vibes.

INDUSTRIAL STYLE LIGHTING

Industrial style is gritty and utilitarian. As such, industrial style kitchen fixtures are minimalistic, often featuring nothing more than the bulb. However, some incorporate a steampunk flair with rusty piping and brass accents. 

For a Victorian-era eatery that won’t disappoint, consider these kitchen fixtures:

  • A chandelier made from brass pipes and Edison bulbs
  • Industrial pendant lights in wire cages
  • Bare Edison bulbs on cloth wire
  • Simple metal pendant lights
  • Industrial marquee lights

If you’re torn between light fixtures, just remember to keep your design simple. Ornate wall sconces and chandeliers will distract from your overall aesthetic.

MID-CENTURY STYLE LIGHTING

Mid-century design refers to the furnishings that became popular following World War II. During this period, homeowners coupled sleek statement pieces (think: a kidney bean-shaped dining table) with pops of color.

To recreate this aesthetic in your 21st-century kitchen, consider choosing lighting fixtures that:

  • Mix materials. Mid-century design pairs man-made materials like vinyl and fiberglass with natural materials like glass and wood.
  • Incorporate color. Homeowners of yesteryear didn’t shy away from bold colors like avocado green and mustard yellow.
  • Emphasize minimalism. Since mid-century design focuses on functionality, choose simpler fixtures with clean lines.

Honor nature. Architecture from the latter half of the 19th-century paid homage to the natural world by encouraging a sense of continuity between the indoors and outdoors. That being said, pick kitchen fixtures that emit a warm, natural glow.

This period of time was also defined by the Space Race – a head-to-head battle between the Soviet Union and the United States. As such, many mid-century kitchen fixtures are inspired by the spindly antennae of Sputnik, the world’s first satellite.

FARMHOUSE STYLE LIGHTING

Farmhouse design partners rustic charm with modern comforts. The result is simple but cozy. To create this vibe in your kitchen:

  • Partner minimalistic Edison bulbs with antique wall sconces
  • Incorporate shabby chic barn lights
  • Select fixtures that use wood and metal

As a general rule, stick to lights that aren’t overly ornate. Bare bulbs are best, though the fixture may incorporate warped glass for flair. Also, steer away from bold colors, and stick to blacks, whites, and grays.

COUNTRY STYLE LIGHTING

Country style is very similar to farmhouse design, except it’s a little less fancy. To infuse your modern kitchen with rustic charm, select light fixtures that:

  • Incorporate natural wood and candles
  • Feature animal products like antlers and leather
  • Use mason jars or metal cages

Compared to farmhouse design, which tends towards muted colors, country style doesn’t discriminate against shades of blue, green, yellow, and even red.

RETRO STYLE LIGHTING

A retro kitchen pays homage to the past by incorporating the best of older designs with the convenience of new technology. To accomplish this look, choose light fixtures that are:

  • Funky. Homeowners of the 1950s and 1960s weren’t intimidated by crystals, gold finishes, and other garish touches.
  • Colorful. Retro kitchens are no stranger to bright orange and key lime green chandeliers and sconces.
  • Chrome. Many retro pieces feature synthetic materials like chrome. However, plastic and vinyl were popular choices back then, too.
  • Still Tasteful. Bulky fluorescent kitchen fixtures, for instance, are technically retro but very ugly. Keep this trend in the past.

Pro Tip: Your local hardware store probably won’t have a great selection of retro kitchen fixtures. Instead, shop at antique stores or at yard sales.

MODERN STYLE LIGHTING

Modern design is rooted in the early 20th-century and prioritizes function over form. It’s sleek, minimal, and monochromatic. For a modern kitchen, choose light fixtures such as:

  • Clear glass globes
  • Pendant fixtures with glass, chrome, steel, and concrete finishes
  • Edison bulb fixtures that are simple and refined

Remember that modern spaces are free from unnecessary flourishes. That being said, avoid overly ornate fixtures.

CONTEMPORARY STYLE LIGHTING

Modern and contemporary design are often thought to be synonymous. However, modern design refers to the early 20th-century while contemporary style isn’t defined by any period of time. Rather, contemporary style is ever-evolving and reflects what’s trending now.

So, what’s currently trending in kitchen lighting?

  • Fixtures that mix materials like wood, glass, and metal
  • Bold hanging pendants that accent kitchen islands or eat-in tables
  • Subtle metallic finishes
  • Edison bulbs encased in lanterns or cages
  • Clear glass shades

If you hit a designing roadblock, simply reference Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media outlets. Interior design magazines can offer inspiration, too.

SHABBY CHIC STYLE LIGHTING

Shabby chic is a romantic design style defined by a worn, lived-in look. It’s marked by distressed furniture, neutral hues, and ruffles.

You can bring the shabby chic style to your kitchen by selecting light fixtures such as:

  • An over-the-top chandelier with beads, crystals, and other accents
  • Garish candelabras
  • Light fixtures with beaded lampshades

Accomplishing a shabby chic look is easier (and cheaper) if you source your fixtures at antique shops. You can also upcycle different materials like wine bottles and mason jars to DIY your own chandelier.

RUSTIC STYLE LIGHTING

  • Feature rusty metals and rough-hewn woods
  • Repurpose materials like washbasins and bottles
  • Afford a warm light and comforting ambiance

Few big-box stores sell kitchen light fixtures with a rustic style. That being said, consider flexing your creative muscles and creating your own.

LET PORTICO SHED LIGHT ON YOUR KITCHEN REMODEL

Sometimes, infusing your kitchen with shabby chic style can be as easy as swapping out a few light bulbs. However, if your kitchen is in need of a more intensive renovation, contact the remodeling experts at Portico.

At Portico, we can help you choose the perfect kitchen lighting for your home. We can also change the floorplan, replace dated cabinets and countertops, and give you the farmhouse sink you’ve always wanted.

Interested in learning more about our kitchen remodeling services? Contact us for a hassle-free estimate.