How Bright Should Kitchen Lights Be? (A Simple Guide)

How bright should kitchen lights be it simply depends on some factors.

These factors are what will determine the amount of brightness for your kitchen. You need bright lights to carefully use kitchen equipment like a sharp knife.

Most times, the equipment in the kitchen makes it dark and creates poor visibility. You need enough brightness for you to effectively carry out various activities in the kitchen.

Ideally, you need 100 lumen brightness of LED light bulbs for a dark kitchen, while 80 watts of dimmable LED lights bulbs for a kitchen that require little brightness. For a bigger kitchen, you need the range of 6,000 to 12,000 lumens brightness.

In this article, we will take you through a simple guide on how to make your kitchen lights bright enough to use the equipment in there.

Let’s dive into the factors that’ll determine how bright kitchen lights should be.

Categories of Kitchen Lights 

Kitchen lights are classified into three categories. Irrespective of how bright you want your kitchen light to be and the space, these categories will guide you.

Here is the category which every kitchen light fall under:

  • Ambient
  • Task
  • Accent

The Ambient Kitchen Light

Ambient kitchen lighting is the base layer that makes the kitchen usable and accessable.

Ambient lighting is usually hung on the ceiling. Recessed lighting is the current reigning trend, but you can also look to flush mount fixtures or even track or rail systems.

The key to ambient lighting is to provide a consistent light layer, and recessed lighting accomplishes this efficiently. 

When laying out recessed lighting in a kitchen, you’ll want to focus on areas that aren’t covered by other fixtures like pendants or under cabinet lighting. In short, think of where your feet will be, and you’ll want to ensure that space is lit.

If you have a galley-style kitchen or walkways created by an island, a single row of appropriately spaced recessed number of lumens will complete your ambient lighting scheme. 

For a kitchen that hugs the walls with nothing in the middle, a grid pattern will ensure even illumination across the space and make it bright enough.

Some kitchens don’t need recessed lighting systems. So if your kitchen is one of those kitchens, don’t worry. A Well-powered designed flush mounts can be equally effective if you choose locations that provide even illumination throughout the space.

Sometimes, you might experience trouble moving power around in the ceiling, a track or monorail system will work. The trick here is making sure the lights do not create too much glare. 

Use the wide beam spread instead of a narrow spotlight to keep the light from looking unprofessional connected and like an art gallery.

Task Lighting

Kitchen is a workplace that requires good lighting. But task lighting is the most overlooked system for kitchen lighting. You need to provide adequate brightness for you to work safely in your kitchen.

You need sufficient brightness at your kitchen countertop. It’s bad when you cast shadow in place you need to show your knife skill. The shadow can be very inconvenient and downright dangerous.

Another part where kitchen task lighting is important is the under cabinets. This type of light is not fancy that you can ignore, no matter how small the light will be, it will brighten up the environment. 

You need to have under cabinet lights in your kitchen. Because, installing under cabinet lighting is the best thing you can do to improve the functionality and environment of a kitchen. 

There is a way to install the lights and fixtures that are already existing with your cabinets. With fully custom rail kits that integrate your lighting and power outlets into a seamless backsplash.

If you have an open shelve or no overhead cabinets, then you don’t need to worry. Small directional sconces or downlight pendants can be used in multiples to create task illumination and a good design in your kitchen.

Accent Lighting

The accent lighting in the kitchen is used to decorate and beautify the outlook of a kitchen. Even though these sets of lights are used to beautify the kitchen, they also serve the purpose of ambient light.

The accent lighting in the kitchen combines both function of ambient and task to perform its purposes.

Popular places for accent lighting include above an exposed countertop like an island or peninsula, over the kitchen sink or over a table, in the case of an eat-in kitchen. The accent lighting in the kitchen helps to complement the beauty of the kitchen.

To properly beautify the kitchen with accent lighting, you need to select fixtures that scale correctly to the work space.

For safety purposes, don’t leave the exposed side without providing clearance to the surface. The general rule of clearance is 30 to 36 inches between the surface and fixture. Then you can adjust it based on your height or diameter of the fixture.

The Size Of Your Kitchen

The number of lights required to brighten up a small kitchen is not the same as a big kitchen, irrespective of the equipment in both.

The bigger the kitchen the higher the number lumens needs to make it bright. Because a big kitchen occupies more equipment than the small kitchen.

You need more bright lights in such a kitchen.

The number of lumens needed for a big kitchen range from 6,000 to 12,000. These lumens will be enough to brighten your kitchen.

The size of the kitchen is another factor that determines how many lumens you need to make it bright to your choice.

No two kitchens with the same level of brightness. Every kitchen user or homeowners choose how the level of brightness they need for their kitchen.

Different Functions Of Lights In The Kitchen

When you are choosing kitchen lights, it is important to consider the function of each type of light that will be used in your kitchen. Also the various activities that will take place in the kitchen.

Likewise, different layers of light can be used to provide task lighting, ambient lighting, and more. Additionally, you may want to add visual appeal to certain areas of your kitchen by placing decorative lights.

All these types of lights produce different sets of light brightness. The amount of light brightness you need in your kitchen is what will determine the kind of light you’ll use. 

Different functions at the kitchen require different light brightness. The type of brightness you need when you’re cooking isn’t the same when you’re eating.

If your function is to prepare meals, then you need the kitchen space to be bright. Hence you’ll not properly use most of the kitchen equipment.

For example, for you to carefully use a kitchen sharp knife, you need bright light to avoid the risk of injury yourself. Poor visibility affects the use of sharp knives. 

However, there are some other functions that don’t require bright lights. So, you may not need to either install or switch on the bright lights.

The function you want to carry out at the kitchen is what determines how bright the kitchen lights will be.  

For example, when carrying out general cleaning of your kitchen, you need the entire area of the kitchen to be visible and bright. Therefore, you need bright lights to make them easy and simple for you to carry out.

Invariably, you need brights lights for you to effectively carry or the use the kitchen equipment well without stain injuries.

The Location Of Your Kitchen

The location of your kitchen is another factor that determines how bright your kitchen should be. Location of the kitchen will either tell if the kitchen requires dim or bright lights.

If the position of your kitchen in your house allows the natural lights to shine on the inside, then you don’t need bright lights. Then your kitchen will be bright with a reasonable amount of natural brightness.

But when the position of the kitchen doesn’t allow natural lights to pass through and it is always dark, then you need to install bright lights.

How bright your kitchen should be is based on the location of your kitchen. Before you install high bright lights on your kitchen take time to check the position of the kitchen.

Does it allow natural lights or not? If does, bright light is not necessary during the day but only at night.

There are some kitchen positions that require dimmable lights while there some that require maximum visibility. 

Still, the location of the kitchen and the way it was built are some of the major factors that determine how bright the kitchen should be.

There are some kitchens that have smaller windows for ventilation. These types of kitchen will naturally go dark always irrespective of the position it is in your house.

Position Of The Lights

The position of lights in your kitchen is what determines how bright the lights will be. For you to have a bright kitchen when you are using chandella lights or pendant lights, you need high lumens.

The high the chandella from the ground floor will determine the number of lumens you’ll install in your kitchen that’ll brighten it up for you.

If your kitchen ceiling is 8 feet from the ground floor, you need to provide at least a set of lights to make it bright enough for various functions at the kitchen.

Light from a far height like 9 feet will not emit enough brightness. Kitchen needs to be properly lit and brightened-up before you can conducive use it. 

The far distance chandella lights at the kitchen have to emit 10 lumen per bulbs before it can possibly light up the entire kitchen.

So, how bright your kitchen lights are depends on the position of the light. When the kitchen light is  far you may have to use 6,000 to 12,000 lumens to make it bright enough.


The brightness of lights in the kitchen depends on the use. You use LED light with 2,500 lumens to make the work space bright.

The activities you propose to carry out in your kitchen is what determines how bright the light will be.

Then, the size and the equipment inside are what determine how bright the bulb will be.