Shining A Light On Kitchen Counters: Illumination Insights

Last updated on October 20th, 2023

Our ancestors whipped up the tastiest meals sitting in the open around a fire, the sunlight illuminated their spaces. The sun is a hard act to beat. But we can do the next best thing by getting our countertop illumination right to make cooking a soulful experience.

Proper lighting not only illuminates the produce for chopping but can also prevent injury. However, that’s not all there is to it. The aesthetic appeal matters too, especially when you have spent a bundle on your modular kitchen. So, how do you get it right? Let’s find out.

Your countertop lights

Most people make do with a couple of tube lights installed in the ceiling. If you have to squint to check for worms wiggling in your cauliflower, so be it. However, with the right lighting, you can make your job that much easier. Check out these dos and don’ts for your countertop lighting:

  • Avoid recessed downlights above the countertop as they throw shadows over your work surface. Understandably, sharp knives and shadows are not the best mates.

  • Install your recessed downlights above the midpoint of your countertop. This illuminates the open shelves and upper cabinets, making access easier.

  • Your light doesn’t need to align with the cabinet doors or you will be left with awkward circles of light.

Avoid shadows on the countertop

Shadows give a surreal vibe to the decor. While this is appealing in the rest of the home, you can do without this menace in the kitchen. So, how do you get the placement right?

  • Instead of a few bold fixtures, try using multiple downlights in the space to cut back on the shadow.

  • Recessed downlights of around 2–3 inches should work beautifully. The result is magnificent. Your countertop will be well-lit, the upper cabinets will bask in the light and there will be less glare.

  • Use the same principle in the sink area for uniform lighting.

  • Rather than pick multiple recessed downlights over the kitchen countertop, use a row of recessed lights to light up your cabinetry and countertop.

Under the cabinet light pools

The overhead cabinets will block out a bit of light no matter what you do. This will result in shadows on your workspace. It’s simple physics. So, what’s your solution?

Under the cabinet lights or task lights are the answer. Here’s how to get it right:

  • Lights in the center of the platform are ideal as that is where the prepping takes place.

  • To cut down light reflection, LED tape lighting is perfect when you let it face the backsplash, or the light will reflect off the wall.

  • If your LED light is installed too forward, it will result in dark shadows on the countertop.

  • Conduct a test with a strip of light to see if it is falling where you want it.

  • Install lights on the bottom of the last shelf if you have open shelving. You can put lights on each surface of each shelf as you go along.

  • When opting for LED tape lights, select a lumen count of 250 or over per foot for better impact.

  • You may want to add strip lights on the skirting of your kitchen cabinets for visual appeal and to see your way around at night.

Dimmers are essential

Your dimmers put you in the driver’s seat as you can control the amount of light on your countertop. You can turn up the light for intricate work. For a romantic meal with your partner on your kitchen island, dimming the lights will give you the desired touch.

Our thoughts

Perfect lighting, be it in the kitchen or other areas of the home, is an art. This specialized job can change the mood in your home with just a click of the switch. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t handle the work yourself.

For lighting tips, our experts at will be happy to guide you. Log in and find out more.