The best kitchen lighting trends embody a characterful and inspiring mix of styles and ideas, and show just how transformative and important the right lighting can be in a space.
And unlike other kitchen trends, your kitchen lighting ideas can be swapped out to suit your latest taste, thought they always need to work in harmony to create a scheme that both looks good and provides practical and inviting illumination.
From beautiful pendants crafted from natural materials to customizable options designed to stand the test of time, this year’s lighting trends are designs that focus on finding the perfect balance between beauty, functionality and versatility.
Kitchen lighting trends 2023
Kitchen ideas do come and go, but we have spoken with a group of kitchen and lighting experts to bring you the very best 15 kitchen lighting trends that are fresh, yet crafted for enduring longevity.
So, whether you’re planning a kitchen remodel and are looking for lighting, or are exploring how you can refresh your kitchen with the very latest interior design trends, these are the looks you need to know about.
1. A focus on natural materials
Helen Pratt, design ambassador at Arteriors London says, 'we have seen a growing trend of customers opting for natural materials in their lighting choices – a lovely touch as the illumination thrown around the room through a rattan or wicker shade can create a uniquely different feel than through fabric, often creating a more whimsical aesthetic.’
Filled with hard surfaces and practical appliances, kitchens can quickly become cold and clinical without the right styling and design ideas, and embracing lighting crafted from natural materials can establish a more rustic and grounded atmosphere; helping to make the space feel more soft, inviting and warm.
The use of wicker and rattan in interior design has been a popular trend over the last few years, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In this kitchen-diner, we love the eclectic use of material in the space, and how the warming wicker pendant and dining chairs create an elegant contrast with the sleek, white marble dining table, a great look that can be used for dining room lighting ideas, too.
2. Sculptural statements
In rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens, it can sometimes be hard to find the space to bring in decorative accessories and pretty finishing touches. However, a statement pendant light or chandelier can work not only as a functional light source, but a beautiful design feature and focal point – and it won't take up any valuable surface space!
This modern kitchen features the stunning Luna Chandelier by Gabriel Scott. Designed to have infinite interpretations, the chandelier is constructed from a variety of colored mouth-blown glass beads and metal finishes, and hangs in the air almost like a glistening piece of jewelry.
Co-founder of the brand, Scott Richler says, 'we’re increasingly seeing a demand for lighting to be designed as sculptural art pieces. Statement chandeliers above kitchen counters or a dining table that are not only functional but are also a decorative work of art are a very popular request.'
Kitchen lighting can be so much more than simply providing practical illumination, it is a chance to truly express your style and enhance a space with a unique and artistic touch.
3. Establish an elegant contrast
When using lighting in clusters, whether that's pendants over a kitchen island, or wall lights above shelving or a countertop, we often stick to coordinating, uniformed designs, however, asymmetrical or contrasting styles can make for a more modern and unique display.
In this kitchen by Harvey Jones, the oval rice paper lantern establishes a calming focal point and sense of warmth over the dining table, perfect for when dining and relaxing with friends and family. The contrasting cone shade embodies a more sleek and practical design, offering optimum light distribution over the sink and counterspace; ideal for when cooking.
We love how the two pendant lights help to subtly zone this large kitchen space through their differences, and how the contemporary lighting designs establish an elegant contrast with the traditional, period architecture surrounding them.
4. Use multifunctional lighting
Piero de Marchis, director at Detail Lighting says, 'our homes are having to work harder for us than ever before, with an increase in spaces having multiple functions. From open-plan living areas to kitchen-dining zones, the trend for installing multifunctional lighting that can be adapted to suit the room as it’s being used is set to continue to rise.
Perimeter lighting, separated from central lighting, can also help to separate the central focus on a kitchen island for example, and change the overall mood to go from functional to inviting.'
5. Table lamps can belong in the kitchen, too
Often associated with bedroom lighting ideas and living room lighting ideas, a table lamp can work just as well in the kitchen, provided that it is placed in an area that will not get in the way when cooking and preparing food.
As we have discussed with the importance of multi-functional lighting, the warm, cozy glow cast from a table lamp can help transform a busy kitchen into a more calming space, ideal for positioning near a zone of comfy seating space, or placed on or beside a dining table.
Portable table lamps offer you the flexibility and freedom of movement which can be perfect in a busy kitchen space. Housed on a shelf or windowsill, these designs can be easily transported to a table, seat space or even outdoors when required.
6. A mix of materials
‘I believe the next big kitchen lighting trends will involve experimenting with new and different materials to make exciting and unique lighting designs. This will include using both newer high-tech materials and ancestral ones too.
'The possibilities for materials used in the creation of lighting is endless and I think we will see innovation in the use of softer materials such as rattan and fabric as well as harder ones including steel, ceramic, resin, aluminium and even marble, which looks fantastic in a kitchen. To transform matter into light, you need the alchemical genius of craftsmen and designers. Lighting is an endless playground for them, and materials form an inspiring palette.
'For my part, I am particularly interested in exploring more natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, linen, and Kapok. After the events of the past year, I think everyone is being more drawn back to nature and the simple things in life, especially those that will last, rather than becoming part of the throwaway society.’
Above, is a great example of the kind of kitchen wall lighting ideas that are on trend in 2021.
7. Choose a unique hanging pendant
If you are considering modern kitchen lighting ideas, this kitchen lighting trend might be for you.
‘We love a pendant like the next person, but we wanted to do something different in this bold, contemporary kitchen. These stunning lights are by Flos and we wanted to hang them in a less traditional way, so we added a steel beam to the roof so we could hang them at random heights.
'The aim was to create our own version of kitchen lighting in a decorative way, rather than as something purely functional,’ says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co.
8. Metallics are back, but in a more subtle way
‘People want bespoke bells and whistles, but also luxurious materials and design details. It is these refined details they pay for. It is the smart functionality of the drawers, the areas that are concealed and the neat little lighting details.
'The kitchen lighting trend I’m noticing is that these elements are now carrying through into the rest of the scheme – the brass metalwork of the baseboard is also seen in the barstools and the pendant lighting above the kitchen island. This gives balance to the overall kitchen design, instead of the lighting being seen as a separate statement element, it’s now all encompassing.’
9. Lights encased in a ‘lantern’
‘Lantern lighting above the island is currently very popular. We see this kitchen lighting trend continuing into 2023 but with more of an emphasis on characterful lighting, often with an industrial edge as shown here with this "lantern" light. It’s a great way to add individuality to a kitchen scheme,’ says Richard Moore, design director at Martin Moore.
Lighting and kitchen island ideas have always been an important combination, and groups of pendants over an island will always work well. Using a group of three is a classic styling trick as odd numbers always work best visually; the trio of bulbs encased in glass shown above is a great example of this.
10. Use a combination of spots, LED lights and pendants
‘Lighting is essential in a kitchen to ensure that it will function effectively and safely. It is a vital part of a kitchen and should be planned during the design process. It is especially important when the kitchen is in an open-plan space, as the lighting has to be zoned for different tasks and to create different ambiences.
'That is why we specify and install a mix of lights, both for practical purposes and to create interest and atmosphere in the space. 2023 will see this continue: spots and LED lights for function and pendants and feature lighting over the island and dining table for fun and aesthetics.
'Having different lighting systems and settings for use at different times of the day or for different purposes, means the space can become more flexible and enjoyable.’
11. Retro lighting is back!
If you are searching for lighting ideas for small kitchens that's subtle but still has personality, this one is for you.
‘Surface mount, simple lighting is in, can lights are out. The surface mount lighting in this kitchen is a trendier version of traditional can lighting and adds visual interest to the ceiling with its subtle cream color and design, but at the same time doesn't distract, we’re definitely going to see more of this style of lighting in 2023,’ advises Eddie Maestri, AIA, founder of Texas based Maestri Studio.
12. Go for subtle choices over bold
‘Stand back and hold back when designing all the elements of your kitchen and don’t be tempted to buy things to fill every space. People often try too hard to get a "look" they have seen on Pinterest and to theme their kitchen with all the things they love and want to show – but hold back. You can easily tire of statement pieces and of large bold themes that dominate your room, lighting is a big one,’ exclaims Helen Parker, creative director at renowned kitchen design studio, deVOL.
'We see so many lighting schemes and it’s always the discreet and understated ones that catch our eye and that we don’t tire of – this is our kitchen lighting trend prediction for 2023.’
13. Ditch the angular shapes and opt for curves
2023 is definitely the year for curves. From furniture trends to lighting and accessories, curves really are everywhere, as designers opt for softer, free-flowing forms in order to establish a more relaxing and comfortable atmosphere in the home.
‘We tend to get wind of kitchen lighting trends early – we see surges in demand for particular elements, such as more natural materials, or statement pendants and at the moment we’re seeing a demand for sculptural lights and soft curves,’ says Charlie Bowles, director at Original BTC.
This trend is a particular favorite of ours as kitchens tend to be made up of sharp angles – unless you opt for rounded corners on your island and cabinetry.
14. Choose clear glass shades
‘We’ve noticed a real shift towards our elegant hand-blown glass pendants over kitchen islands and dining tables,’ says Sheena Lawrence, co-director at Jim Lawrence.
‘Clear glass shades bypass the visual imposition that can sometimes happen with weightier lighting, allowing light to pass through wherever you need to place the fittings. This is particularly beneficial for island and dining tables so that the need for task lighting can be fulfilled without making the area feel cluttered or heavy.
'Reeded glass can offer the same benefits but provides a subdued subtle glow with a more vintage oriented look. Marrying the best of contemporary and period design means these lights will never go out of style.’
15. A colorful pendant – or two
‘Lighting will always play a vital role in your kitchen, it should reflect the essence of a room whilst creating an inviting ambience. Opting for a colored light fixture – our kitchen lighting trend prediction for 2023 – in particular will not only bring focus to an area but it will also add that accent of vibrancy that will transform more neutral schemes with contrast and style,’ says David Amos, CEO at Amos Lighting + Home.
The pendant light is one design trend that’s here to stay, it’s versatility is its strength as it comes in such a huge array of looks – from big, bold and metallic to dainty and subtle, you simply can’t go wrong with them.
As many of us are beginning to get more confident with the use of color in the home, instead of going all out with paint trends, why not get creative with colorful lighting before you pick up the paint brush.
What is the most popular kitchen lighting?
The most popular kitchen lighting is a mix of practical spotlights and wall lights with more decorative pendants and ceiling lights.
Charlie Bowles, Director of Original BTC says, 'pendant lights are becoming increasingly popular as a space friendly alternative in homes with a small footprint. A great way to make a statement while keeping busy areas tidy, they’re well suited to apartment-style living that also double as sculptural art pieces that can be used to play with scale.'
Of course, it completely depends on the size of your kitchen and how you use the space, but often, just the one light source is not enough. From low hanging pendant lights over an island or dining table, to wall lights positioned above shelving or beside a workspace, think carefully about the different zones in your kitchen and whether they will benefit from practical, task lighting or more relaxed, ambient light.
Creative Director of Harvey Jones, Melissa Klink also says, 'the trend for lighting within the kitchen industry is becoming smaller and more dedicated. Designing specified areas of function to create pools of task lighting from petite shaded pendants is much more popular than large-scale chandeliers that we used to see. Designing with purpose and intention is coming full force, especially with the consideration of light.'
What color light fixtures are in style?
Scarlett Hampton, co-founder of lights&lamps says, 'we are seeing a shift to more grounded, earthy tones as well as more natural materials for lighting fixtures. We have reflected this trend by expanding our rattan collection, adding in linen fabrics, and combining them with earthy colored marble or chocolatey dyed concrete. Moving into 2023, our palette will carry this further with the introduction of a warmer bronze metal finish to our collections.'
As well as more grounding color palettes rooted in nature, 2023 will also see a rise in a confident use of color, and as we have explained, lighting is a great way to both complement a room's color scheme as well as create an eye-catching element of contrast.
Of course, you can often never go wrong with a classic black, white or metallic lighting fixture, but thinking carefully about how the color of your lighting can enhance your overall design scheme will make for a more coherent and stylish look.
Are recessed lights still a kitchen lighting trend?
Yes recessed lights are still a kitchen lighting trend, but not on their own – they work well, functionally, over countertops and island bars, but are best used alongside other lighting options like pendants and wall lights to add character. This way you create a layered look that covers all key areas of the kitchen, too.
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Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
- Zara StaceyContent Editor
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