10 Best Kitchen Lighting Ideas for Low Ceilings

kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings

Interior Designer Tips for Low Ceiling Kitchens

Many of my clients (especially those with older homes) are working with a ceiling that is at a standard ceiling height minimum of 8 feet or even less. The good news is that there are plenty of kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings that will make your space look great!

Lighting is an essential component of any kitchen design.

In this post, we will discuss all of the options for a great lighting scheme no matter what the height of your ceilings! We’ll talk about kitchen ceiling lighting ideas for low ceilings as well as other options to address all of your lighting needs.

So, whether you’re looking to renovate your entire kitchen or just want to update your light fixtures, we’ve got you covered for the best kitchen lights for your low ceilings!

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Types of Kitchen Lighting

Before we dive in, it is important to note that experts categorize lighting into four primary types, each designed to serve a distinct purpose.

  1. Ambient lighting – overall lighting, lighting the whole space
  2. Task lighting – for a specific task like washing dishes or chopping food
  3. Accent lighting – highlighting a certain feature in the space
  4. Decorative lighting- a design element as well as a source of light

You’ll want to incorporate at least the first three!

1. Pendant Lights

When it comes to using pendant lights when you have a low kitchen ceiling there are a number of factors that you need to consider. The first and most important consideration is the size of your kitchen pendants. Because there will not be as much space for your light fixture above the countertop, it is important to choose one that is proportionate to the size of your kitchen island and the ceiling height.

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Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is to hang your pendant light a minimum of 30 inches above your countertop to the bottom of the fixture for optimal visibility and functionality. Pendant lights come in many different heights, so you’ll want to choose a fixture that will allow a minimum 30″ clearance between the bottom of the pendant, but also making sure it is not so tall it is crowded to the ceiling.

Finally, when you are choosing decorative pendants for your low-ceilinged kitchen, it is important to keep in mind that low ceilings can sometimes create an enclosed feeling. For this reason, it is a good idea to choose a more airy, clear glass or visually lightweight style of light fixture to create the illusion of more space.

white kitchen with grey island, black granite and subway tile
Design by Carla Bast

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2. Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is the perfect choice for kitchens with low ceilings, as it helps to maximize overall general lighting without taking up any extra space. This type of lighting is often referred to as ‘canned lights’, as it consists of fixtures that are literally can-shaped and placed into the ceiling. These low-profile flush lights are one of the best ways to light small spaces, the living room, and of course, the small kitchen, as they produce enough light when placed in the right locations. Recessed lights provide an even illumination without blocking visibility or leaving obstructive shadows on the walls making the room feel overall.

recessed lighting in kitchen with low ceiling

Whether you need more light over the kitchen sink area or evenly spaced throughout, recessed lights are a great choice for kitchens with low ceiling height. You’ll love how they brighten up your kitchen and give you plenty of extra headroom!

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3. Under Cabinet Lights

Under cabinet lighting, (also known as countertop lights) is the good choice for kitchens with low ceilings, as it provides a great combination of task lighting for work areas and ambient lighting. These low-profile lights are mounted directly below your upper cabinets and provide focused illumination on the countertops, which can be perfect for cooking or doing prep work. Additionally, they provide ambient light to fill the space, making low ceilings feel less cramped and overwhelming.

By using under cabinet lighting in your kitchen, you can turn even the smallest space into a bright and functional area that is perfect for food prep.

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4.Interior Cabinet Lights

Interior cabinet lighting is an excellent way to add accent lighting and make space feel brighter near the ceiling. Adding interior cabinet lights to the upper section of glass door cabinets will give the appearance of taller ceilings. Additionally, it augments the kitchen ceiling lights and boosts the mood and ambiance of the space making it one of the best kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings. Cabinet Lighting is also used to showcase a display of glasses or favorite china.

lighted cabinets in kitchen with low ceiling

LED light strips or puck lights are great for use inside cabinets. Puck lights are small, recessed spotlights that can be mounted on a surface. I love to include this lighting design element, especially in kitchens that have little natural light.

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Tip: Install Upward Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are key in making a ceiling appear higher. Choose fixtures that face upward or are reflected upward to illuminate the ceiling making it appear higher.

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5. Chandeliers

They’re not just for the dining room or for over the kitchen table! Chandeliers are a fantastic way to make a design statement and create a focal point in any kitchen! Even when you don’t have high ceilings. They create an ambient light that is perfect for cooking and baking. They can also help to make your kitchen look more spacious and provide as much light as needed. With all the beautiful designs in various sizes and shapes on the market there is a perfect light just for your space. I like to place a chandelier at the center of a kitchen island. You could also or do a matching pair of chandeliers. This would depend on the size of the kitchen island and, of course, the size of the chandelier.

crystal chandeliers hung in grey kitchen

Chandeliers are a perfect way to add statement lighting to your kitchen!

6. Wall Sconces

With low ceilings, one challenge that many homeowners face is finding an effective way to add ambient lighting or accent lighting. Wall sconces are a popular choice, as they can provide great light while taking up minimal space. Not only do they help to brighten up the kitchen, but they also serve as an attractive decorative feature. Wall sconces bring a touch of sophistication and style to your kitchen and are often the best lights for over a sink area with the light focused downward.

Wall sconce lighting in the right location won’t obstruct other important areas of the kitchen, leaving plenty of room to complete tasks and move about the kitchen.

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7. Flush and Semi-flush Ceiling Lights

If you have low ceilings in your kitchen semi-flush or flush mounted ceiling lights are a great way to add some much-needed light without compromising on aesthetics.

These low-profile lighting fixtures allow you to seamlessly add additional illumination without taking up much space overhead. They are decorative as well as functional, offering a design element that is perfect for complementing the look of your kitchen. Place semi-flush or flush mount lighting strategically throughout your kitchen to meet your needs and make a bold statement. Whether you want to highlight an area of workspace or simply add a bit of ambient light to your kitchen, semi-flush or flush mounted ceiling lights are a great solution!

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8.Track Lighting

Track lighting is one of the best kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings, as it offers a more modern and updated take on traditional overhead lighting. Unlike the outdated versions of track lighting that were popular in the 80s and 90s, today’s track lighting systems are sleek and streamlined, featuring simple, clean lines and low-profile lights. They also allow for more a more creative lighting set-up, letting you place your lights exactly where you need them to brighten up specific areas of your kitchen. Whether you’re looking to brighten up dark corners or simply make your space look larger with ample ambient light, track lights are a perfect light source to add a lot of light to a kitchen with a low ceiling.

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9.Table Lamps

When standard kitchen ceiling lights won’t work because your ceilings are too low, table lamps are a great alternative. Place small lamps on top of your countertop or in a dark corner of the room to brighten up the space.

A dimmable table lamp is the perfect way to create a cozy and inviting space in your kitchen.

lamp on kitchen countertop

The small size of this lamp makes it easy to place on your counter, so you can have late night snacks without waking up the whole house!

ABC Stone

10. Floor Lamps

I know what you’re thinking…a floor lamp, in a kitchen?! Yes, a floor lamp! It may not be what comes to mind when you think of kitchen lighting, but when you need more light, you have to get creative. Additionally, if you don’t want to hire an electrician to install a new fixture, a floor lamp is a great option. You’ll add some unexpected style and create your own ambient lighting.

A great place for a floor lamp is in a corner of your kitchen floor plan where it will make the most impact while staying out of the busy traffic areas. Maybe you have the perfect spot near a kitchen dining table or a vacant nook just screaming for a floor lamp.

So, what do you think of my kitchen lighting ideas for low ceilings?

No matter how tall your ceilings are, you can still have a beautifully illuminated kitchen! What will you choose for the best lighting for your space? Let me know in the comments below!


Hi, I’m Carla


I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with an outdated home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

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4 Responses

  1. Learning all about the different ways you can approach lighting was a really big help. This really does make me think that we should try and apply more and more of these kinds of techniques to make sure we can get things right for our kitchen. I’ll go around and ask for help from a local electrician so we can put all of these kinds of lights to use to have a complete design.

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