Best New Kitchen Lights

Your Guide to the Best New Kitchen Lights for 2024

It’s often said the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whether you spend time there for every meal of the day or use it mostly for special occasions, you carefully consider its design. However, many forget about an essential detail when designing their dream kitchen — the lighting.

Lighting, often an overlooked yet vital component of kitchen design, has the power to transform your space. It's not just about enhancing the aesthetic appeal, but also about boosting functionality. As we step into 2024, the best new kitchen lighting trends have evolved to incorporate both style and sophisticated technology, offering homeowners a plethora of options to choose from. This guide will empower you to make the right fixture choices, providing expert tips and the latest trends to illuminate your kitchen beautifully and efficiently.

Understanding the Layers of Kitchen Lighting

Before diving into the specifics, it's essential to understand the three main lighting layers critical to any well-designed kitchen: ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient: This is the primary source of illumination in your kitchen. Whether from ceiling fixtures or natural light, ambient lighting should evenly illuminate the space, making it safe and inviting. Ambient illumination is ideal for using the kitchen as a gathering space rather than working. Enjoying breakfast in the morning and meals later in the day will be more comfortable and secure with softer lighting.

Task: The kitchen involves a lot of prep work throughout the day, and the proper illumination is essential. You need to be able to see what you're doing, especially for safety purposes. That's where task lighting—focused illumination that's brighter than ambient light—is helpful. These fixtures are directed to areas where you perform specific tasks, like under-cabinet lights illuminating the countertops, pendants over the kitchen island, or recessed fixtures over the stove.

Accent: Although primarily aesthetic, accent lighting plays a crucial role in kitchen design. It highlights architectural features or decor elements like artwork, cabinet interiors or backsplashes, adding depth and visual interest to your kitchen. Accent fixtures can also be used to create a focal point or draw attention to a specific area, such as a kitchen island or a dining table.

Tips for Choosing the Right Kitchen Lights

  • Plan for Diversity: Combine different types of fixtures to achieve both functional and aesthetic benefits. Ensure there is enough task illumination where you need it most, like the countertops and cooking areas, while ambient illumination can be achieved through ceiling fixtures and natural light.
  • Consider the Color Temperature: Lighting can dramatically affect the mood and functionality of a kitchen. Warmer color temperatures (2700K – 3000K) are welcoming and comforting, making them ideal for dining areas. Cooler color temperatures (3500K – 5000K) offer a more natural hue, making food preparation easier and more accurate.
  • Invest in Dimmers: Dimmers are not just for creating the right ambiance; they also help reduce energy consumption and extend your bulbs' life. Adjusting the light intensity based on the time of day or the task at hand is a significant advantage.
  • Think About the Finish and Material: Choose fixtures that complement the existing finishes in your kitchen, such as cabinet hardware, faucets, and appliances. Consistency in finishes helps create a cohesive look.
  • Don't Forget About Positioning: Fixture placement is crucial. It can affect the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Avoid placing lights directly over seating areas, as this can cause unpleasant glare. Instead, focus on illuminating the perimeter of the space and use pendant lights for islands and dining areas.

Latest Trends in Kitchen Lighting for 2024

1. Integrated LED Lighting
Seamlessly integrated LED systems, such as toe-kick lights, under-cabinet strips, and recessed ceiling lights continue to grow in popularity. These systems not only effectively illuminate the kitchen but also add a touch of modern sophistication. Many kitchen pendants, flush mounts and chandeliers also feature integrated LED light sources. Integrated LED lighting offers several benefits, including energy efficiency, long lifespan, and the ability to adjust the color temperature to suit your needs. It's a versatile and practical lighting solution for any kitchen. Popular new 2024 integrated LED fixtures for the kitchen from dweLED include mini-pendants such as the Gaze pendant, a sphere composed of two parts clear and frosted glass; and flush mount fixtures like the elegant Double Decker, a bi-level ceiling luminaire features a large, aged brass square crowning a smaller black profile.
2. LED Color Temperatures
Integrated LED fixtures often incorporate CCT technology, which stands for 'Correlated Color Temperature'. This technology allows for three or four different color temperature options to be selected at installation. Use an easily accessible switch in the canopy to choose the color temperature you prefer, such as 2700K, 3000K, 3500K or 4000K. This means you can adjust the color of the light to suit your needs and preferences, whether you want a warm, cozy atmosphere or a bright, energizing one. Highlight your island or countertop with a dramatic dweLED 4CCT mini-pendant like Knot, whose interlinked rings create a stunning structure of light; or Whirl, whose multiple curves of illumination bring life and movement to kitchens.
3. Pendant and Statement Fixtures
As personal expression becomes more prevalent in interior design, more homeowners are inspired to opt for bold pendant fixtures that reflect their personality. These fixtures serve as focal points in the kitchen, especially above islands and dining areas. The trend for 2024 includes industrial metals, hand-blown glass, and organic shapes, giving you the confidence to express your unique style through your lighting choices. Our selection of bold dweLED pendant lights for 2024 are highlighted by Swerve, featuring fluid circles of black and light twisting within each other, casting diffused LED illumination over a kitchen island or dining table. Or choose an architectural style like Ferrous, whose strong angles converge, forming a bespoke ring of ambient light.
4. Hidden and Minimalist Lighting
There's a growing trend towards minimalism in kitchen design, reflected in lighting choices. Hidden fixtures, such as recessed and indirect lighting that highlight architectural details without being overtly visible are becoming popular. Options in our miniscule 1-inch aperture Aether Atomic Downlight Collection by WAC are ideal for providing a clean, streamlined look with lots of illumination.
Considerations for Selecting Kitchen Lighting
To determine the best fixtures for your kitchen, you must consider your unique needs and the kitchen itself. Every kitchen is different: there’s not a singular solution that works for all. Instead, you can select from various kitchen lighting applications and fixture styles. To help you decide the best choices, evaluate the following aspects.
Room Size and Shape
Every kitchen is unique, from size to layout. That makes your kitchen's shape an essential consideration when choosing the right fixtures. In general, you can choose different types of lighting depending on your kitchen's size and layout, whether you have a:
Large kitchen:
For a large kitchen or one opening to a dining space, you need enough fixtures to fill the space from corner to corner and the dark areas in between.
Small kitchen:
Lighting for small rooms should also be on the smaller side, like subtle recessed fixtures or a statement mini pendant. You don't want to overwhelm the space with large fixtures, so use slim styles or flush mounts.
Unique-shaped kitchen:
If your kitchen has a unique shape, use enough fixtures throughout the space to illuminate it properly. If a wall or pantry breaks up the flow of the space, install lighting on either side of these features to avoid having darker areas in your kitchen.
Ceiling Height
When selecting ceiling fixtures, consider your kitchen's ceiling height. Lighting for tall ceilings can extend down longer without obstructing views or walkways. If you have a shorter ceiling, you should avoid longer fixtures: opt for shorter pendants, flush-mounts or recessed lighting. Ceiling height can also determine the distance you put between recessed lights. Divide the ceiling height by two to decide how far apart these ceiling fixtures should be.
Depending on your kitchen's size and layout, you may have some areas you use more than others. Think about where you often work in the kitchen and ensure there is adequate illumination throughout the space — but especially in these areas. You'll also want to focus on using task lighting in these workspaces to add enough illumination over:
  • The sink
  • Countertops between the refrigerator, sink and stove
  • Islands or peninsulas

Natural Light

Even if you have plenty of windows in your kitchen, you still need artificial lights to illuminate the sides of the room where the natural light doesn't hit. Evaluate the room in the evening or on an overcast day to determine what areas of the room need the most illumination.

Contact WAC to Learn More About Kitchen Lighting

When you’re shopping for the best LED light fixtures for your kitchen, WAC can help. With almost 40 years of experience in the lighting industry we've honed and shared our expertise, becoming a world-class lighting solutions brand. As a design-and-build manufacturer, WAC Lighting creates illumination technology that is accessible to an array of budgets and needs. If you'd like to learn more about the best lighting for a kitchen, contact WAC today. You can also click here to find out where to buy dweLED and WAC kitchen lighting.