Punxsutawney Phil on good lighting…in the kitchen?

Kitchen Lighting Tips for Kitchen Remodeling


It’s Groundhog Day! As you say those words, you can practically hear the jangly radio announcer voice from the classic Bill Murray movie of the same name. And way up in Gobbler’s Knob, PA, Punxsutawney Phil faithfully reported for his one day of work a year (how nice!), letting the world know whether or not he saw his shadow and if it will be an early spring or an extended winter.

As history goes, it seems Punxsutawney Phil knows quite a bit about lighting. Well, at least outdoor variety. But what about indoor lighting? And more specifically, kitchen lighting? What little whispers would Phil share with his care takers about the options in kitchens?

A properly lit kitchen has become a critical element in kitchen remodeling. Like good icing on a cake, good lighting draws us in and helps us engage with the space (while we eat the cake of course!). And with the variety of lighting available today, the time spent deciding on lighting is gaining on its’ counterparts kitchen cabinets, countertops and appliances. It’s no surprise. The kitchen is the nerve center of the home. Just like light, everything travels in, out and through it at some point or another.

Where to start? Here are 3 basics elements of kitchen lighting to understand and consider your options for when lighting the kitchen:


Task Lighting

Every kitchen must offer good task lighting for food preparation. Look at your kitchen. Where are the main areas you work and prepare? At the sink? Or next to it? Maybe it is next to your stove or cooktop. Or do you do a lot of prep at the kitchen island? Regardless of where you do your work it is critical to be able to see what you are doing, especially when knives are involved and recipes ingredients must be added with careful precision. Task lighting targets those areas with well thought out illumination solutions. The most popular location identified for task lighting is under countertops. Using stronger intensity lights with narrow, more defined beams can aid in performing tasks more clearly and safely.
PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL’s TIP: Contrary to popular belief, I hate shadows…other than my own of course! Make sure lighting is at the right strength and spaced appropriately to eliminate any “shadow” of a doubt!


Accent Lighting

The kitchen offers up a number of opportunities to light up areas high, low and everywhere in between. Accent lighting helps us see these many or all of these things in a better light (literally). Examples of this include lighting kitchen cabinet interiors (we love it when the refrigerator light comes on inside, so why not a cabinet too?), cabinet drawers, toe kick, above cabinets, and over the kitchen sink. As perfectly stated by Patricia Davis Brown, CKBD, ASID, NCIDQ, “The beauty of a well-lit space is not to see the light, but to know that it is there.” With so many options to consider, you can light the space easily, consistently and most importantly discretely.
PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL’s TIP: Light your toe kick space below the cabinets. It offers up a different look in the kitchen and can be particularly helpful when moving around at night looking for that midnight snack.


General Lighting

Last but not least general lighting fills in the rest, offering broader illumination for the kitchen and related areas. From standards like recessed lighting to ceiling fixtures and pendant lighting, general lighting fills in the rest of the space without overpowering or shadowing (literally) the work of your task and accent lighting.
PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL’s TIP: Watch out for direct down lighting. It can create a glare, particularly on shiny countertops. Blending light through cross-illumination can help avoid this.


The lighting you choose for your kitchen has to layer together to create a warm, friendly and task ready space that can handle all the activities of the kitchen. Consider all your options for the type of lighting needed and “fill” your own kitchen with brightness, warmth and style.

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