Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Choose the Best Canned Lights to Illuminate Your Kitchen

Gabriela Connell
3 minute read

With so many options for built-in lighting, deciding on the right canned lights for your kitchen can be overwhelming. But with the right combination of ambient, task and accent lighting, you can create a kitchen that is not only bright and functional, but stylish too.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to pick the perfect mix of recessed, puck, track and pendant lights to illuminate your culinary space.

Recessed Downlights Provide General Ambient Lighting

Recessed downlights are the most common canned lighting choice for kitchens. These lights are installed into the ceiling and powered from above via wiring through the fixture. The result is broad, wide-beam illumination perfect for overall ambient lighting.

Recessed downlights come in various standard sizes like 4”, 5” and 6” to fit lighting cans. LED and halogen lamps are popular choices. Spacing guidelines recommend placing standard 4-6 inch downlights every 2-4 feet. Follow a uniform grid pattern for even distribution of light throughout the kitchen.

canned lights in kitchen

Task Lighting Under Cabinets with Low-Profile Puck Lights

For more directed task lighting, puck lights are ideal. These small, round lights easily tuck up into cabinets, shelves, and backsplashes. The compact profile makes them perfect for illuminating undershelf areas with task lighting.

Puck lights run on low voltage power and are available in energy efficient LED and xenon. Focus them over key kitchen work zones like under upper cabinets. Use them in between full-size recessed lights. Pucks add great accent illumination exactly where needed.

Highlight Counters and Islands with Adjustable Track Lighting

Track lighting offers the ultimate in directional task lighting for kitchens. Track heads feature adjustable arms to point light exactly where needed. Linear tracks affix directly to ceilings and allow placement of multiple spotlights along the track.

Tracks can highlight kitchen islands, sinks, and countertops beautifully. Go for spotlight, pendant or linear lights. Consider the length needed to sufficiently light work areas. Heads can be aimed as needed for cooking, food prep and more.

Create Ambience with Stunning Pendant Lights Over Islands

Nothing jazzes up a kitchen quite like pendant lighting. These suspended lights lend gorgeous style while providing ambient illumination. Islands are the perfect place for hanging pendant fixtures. Go for a set of 3-5 single pendants staggered at varying heights.

Beyond islands, pendant lights can accent other areas like over a dining space. Choose the height and pendant style to match your kitchen’s decor. Consider curved, linear, globe or drum shade options. Let pendant lights lend their elegant flair.

Follow Layout Guidelines for Proper Canned Light Placement

Strategic layout is key to canned lighting success. Experts recommend allowing for at least 50 lumens per square foot. This provides enough light for typical kitchen tasks. Additionally, focus extra lighting over key work zones.

Divide the kitchen into separate lighting zones serving different needs. Ambient zones receive general illumination. Task zones get directional lighting for food prep areas. Accent zones highlight style elements like backsplashes with puck lights.

Factor in Ceiling Height and Use Dimmers for Customized Control

The height of your kitchen’s ceiling impacts the spacing and brightness needs. Standard 8-10 foot ceilings call for closer light spacing. Consider employing dimmers to control light levels and create perfect ambience for any occasion from cooking to entertaining.

Smart home technology allows advanced lighting control. Scene controllers can change the brightness and color temperature of LED canned lights to match your mood and activities.

Expert Installation of Canned Lighting Ensures Safety

Proper installation by a qualified electrician ensures canned lights meet building codes and are safely wired. Recessed and puck lights require wiring through housing cans. Track lighting involves multiple connections along the track.

Careful planning is required to install new canned lighting using existing electrical boxes and wiring. Newer LED technology makes low voltage options easier. But always defer electrical work to professional installers.

The versatility of canned lighting makes it endlessly customizable to your unique kitchen. Use recessed lights as the ambient backbone. Add puck lights for task visibility under shelves and cabinets. Track lighting targets countertops, islands and sinks.

Stylish pendant lights over islands or dining zones provide eye-catching accent illumination. By mixing and matching canned lights, you can curate a lighting design perfect for your culinary workspace. With the right selection of these built-in fixtures, your kitchen will shine day or night.