In The Design Studio: Light it Up!


This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and check out her work on Houzz; Pinterest; Facebook; and Twitter.

Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner, the holidays of light! From candles to sparkling indoor and outdoor LED lights. Since your family are going to spend lots of time in the kitchen this holiday season from cooking, to eating, wrapping gifts and writing cards and of course a lot of hosting, let’s talk about lights, kitchen lights!

As we have seen, the kitchen serves many functions year around and especially during the holidays, so it’s important that the lighting is both task-oriented as well as ambient and friendly and serves multipurpose spaces and the use of the kitchen. With proper illumination, a room functions better, is more appealing to the eye and can even uplift the mood. The three main layers of light in the kitchen are task, ambient and accent lights. Let’s see how each functions and what type of light fits the category.


Task lights are the workhorse of illumination, they help us work and function in the kitchen. Recessed lighting in the ceiling is best for general room illumination. When placed correctly these lights will give us the best output for light and will help combat shadow and dark spots. Recessed lights come in many sizes so if you feel that big blazing flood lights are not for you, look at smaller options such as 4″ or 2″ lights. The newest technology lets you convert any 6″ recessed light into a LED without the need of replacing the whole box. You can buy a light bulb or even a built in light bulb to trim the whole opening.

The 2nd most important task lighting is under cabinet lighting. While recessed lights give big bright light, and help light the whole kitchen, walkway (between island and perimeter). Under-cabinet lights give us the specific light for chopping and lighting up those dark corners. Most home owners choose LED strips as they do not heat up as the older halogen strips, saving on energy bills on both levels. Under cabinet light can be used as accent lights as well, if you are hosting away from the kitchen and would like just a bit of light to sneak in and out of the kitchen for that 2nd bottle of wine.


Ambient light creates a warm glow that fills a room, softens shadows and helps to make people feel instantly welcome in a kitchen. If cabinets do not reach all the way to the ceiling, that space is a great spot for ambient light. Most popular ambient lights are pendants lights, most often installed above islands and dining areas. As a rule of thumb, the more pendants that are installed over your kitchen, the simpler the pendant should be. If you are looking to install mini-chandeliers above your kitchen island it is important to make sure that they are not full-size so that they are not taking up too much space overhead, as well as detracting the attention away from your beautifully designed kitchen.

Accent light. If the room is well lit, add accent lighting for interest. One idea is to float shelves at open cabinets, or cabinets with glass doors, and mount LED strip lights in the back of the shelves. This creates a wash of light at the back cabinet wall that highlights the objects on the shelves.

The most important tips to remember while working on your kitchen light plan, and as for any room in your house, it is important to have the ability adjust light levels. Recessed, under cabinets or pendants should be placed on dimmers to make sure that you have 100% control of the light levels. Also, remember to select the worth of the light bulb to get the right atmosphere in your space.


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