Why You Should Use LEDs in Your Remodeled Kitchen

Kitchen Design Partner recommends using layers of LEDs in your remodeled kitchen

Why You Should Use LEDs in Your Remodeled Kitchen

Lighting is an important consideration for any new kitchen design or remodeling project. LED lights are the right choice for your new kitchen.

The lighting for your new space deserves to be looked at as carefully as the other items that go into your kitchen, such as the appliances, cabinet finish, flooring material and color scheme.

Just as a you strive to create balanced meals for your family, you and your Kitchen Design Partner-approved designer must work together to create the right balance of lighting to accomplish the work you do in that room, from meal prep and cooking to homework and list-making.

Use a Variety

Lighting designers recommend using a variety of LED lights to create balanced layers of light.

There are three different types of lights – each with a different function – that must be incorporated into your new kitchen, and they are

  1. Ambient
  2. Task
  3. Accent

LEDs for Ambient, Task and Accent Lighting are Designer Recommend

A good lighting plan starts with ambient lighting – your overhead lights, such as ceiling fixtures or track lighting, chandeliers and pendant lights.

Next, your plan will determine placement of the task lighting, such as undercabinet strip lights or pucks, that get placed over each work zone to give extra light without causing shadows.

Finally, accent lights get added in to call attention to your new kitchen’s architectural details and decorative items.

LEDs for Ambient Lights

Use LEDs for ambient light in your remodeled kitchen

Ambient lighting is the main source of light in your kitchen. Whether you’re adding light where none currently exists, or you’re filling in because there’s not enough light, a combination of different styles of LED lights can be used to spread out light evenly across the room.

Recessed ceiling lights are typically the main source of ambient lighting. Traditionally, in the past, halogen or other incandescent sources were used. Now, those old-fashioned fixtures have been replaced with long-lasting, energy-saving LEDs. It is now possible to get all the light you need from a series of 1- or 2-inch downlights instead of the 6- or 8-inch cans of decades past. Many homeowners love the less cluttered ceiling that results

LEDs for Task Lights

While ambient lighting is the main source of light in the kitchen, it often leaves shadows under wall cabinets and in corners, making it hard to read recipes or ice cupcakes. Task lighting will light up your work areas properly so you can work safely. Think about the tools you use in the kitchen – knives, graters, heat and flames – so naturally you want to be able to see what you’re doing! With the help of undercabinet task lighting, work surfaces are lit so you can work safely.

Use LEDs for task lighting in your remodeled kitchen

LED lights are ideal for undercabinet lighting because they don’t over heat like the halogens used in the past. LEDs stay cool so your hands don’t get hot while you’re working below them. Or burned, if you accidently touch them.

Undercabinet lighting options include LED strip lights and LED puck lights. LED strip lights are used under the cabinet to completely light your counter space, while the puck lights are directional and create a pool of light that’s perfect for places where task lighting is needed, such as over a cutting board.

LEDs for Accent Lights

Any well-designed kitchen will include accent lights, such as toe kick lights, interior cabinet lights and any other place where you want to accentuate your favorite things.

Use LEDs to light cabinet interiors in your remodeled kitchen

If you’re showing off serving pieces or collectibles in glass-front cabinets, LED interior lights are perfect. Rope lighting can be installed behind face frames of the cabinet or recessed puck lights can be installed in cabinet tops so the light shines down from top to bottom. And you don’t have to worry about them getting too hot inside the cabinet – they stay cool.

There’s no limit to the ways LED lights can be used as accent lights. LEDs, like Hafele’s Loox system, can be used as task lighting inside drawers so they light up when they’re pulled open, in deep base cabinets so you can see what’s in there, and in dark corners or any other areas that need more light.

Use LEDs to light up drawers in your remodeled kitchen

Rope lights or LED tape can be used to light cabinet toe kicks. Lighted toe kicks can be both practical and fun. They can serve as a type of path light for rooms where extra safety measures are needed. You can install motion sensors so the lights turn on when someone enters the room, a nice safety feature.

Use LEDs as accent lights in your remodeled kitchen

Glass countertops can be lit from below by LED lights for a dramatic effect. And LEDs can be used in a tray ceiling to highlight this architectural feature.

Designer tip: LEDs as accent lights can be used throughout your home. They’re especially helpful in closets.

Reasons to Use LEDs

There are excellent reasons why LED lighting is perfect for your new kitchen. Each reason helps to make your kitchen more enjoyable and safer and helps to improve its overall look.

Reason #1. Brightness = Safety

The first reason to use LEDS is that traditional lighting is not as bright as LED light. In the kitchen where you are working with knives and hot burners, it is much better to have plenty of light to make sure you don’t injure yourself.

The bright, clean light that LEDs create makes it much easier to use your kitchen. With low light halogen or incandescent bulbs, it is difficult to see what you are doing unless you are directly under or next to the light.

LEDs provide all the light needed on countertops when they’re installed underneath upper wall cabinets. This reduces shadows on the counter to almost nothing — a much better and safer way to chop carrots without chopping your fingers.

Reason #2. Low Profile

Use low profile LEDs in your new kitchen

Another benefit of LED lights that makes them perfect for the kitchen is that they are low profile. In undercabinet areas, space is already limited so adding a traditional bulb fixture takes up valuable space. LED strip lights or rope lights tuck up under the cabinet frame.

Reason #3. Energy Efficiency

A better quality of light isn’t the only thing that makes LED lighting a smart choice for your kitchen. Their greater energy efficiency is another great reason you will want to go with LED lights.

LEDs used in residential applications that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation consume at least 75 percent less energy compared to incandescent lights.

Reason #4. Longer Life

LEDs last for years. If you don’t look forward to climbing a ladder to change the overhead lights in your kitchen, you should use LED lights because they have a longer working life.

Incandescent bulbs typically last only around 1,000 hours – barely a year with several hours of use each day – where LED light is commonly rated to last 50,000 hours or more, which can translate into decades at the same rate of use.

Reason #5. Colored LEDs Bring the Drama

Use colored LEDs for drama in your new kitchen

LEDs can be mixed together very easily to change into nearly any color imaginable. Red, green, blue and white LEDs combine to create a rainbow of colors or you can program them into your favorite team’s colors for watching a game.

Reason #6. Color Appearance

Colored LED lights might seem frivolous, but selecting the right color “temperature” can make a big difference for everyday lighting. When shopping for LED bulbs, a bulb’s lighting facts will use the term “color appearance,” which is another term for “color temperature.”

Color appearance or color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin, with lower color temperatures being warmer, or yellow, and higher color temperatures being cooler, or blue.

Early versions of LED bulbs were criticized for being too blue, but today’s LEDs are available in a wide range of colors or temperatures. It’s all in what you like and what you want to see.


For the most effective, efficient and attractive kitchen lighting, you will want to choose LED lights for your new kitchen.

Begin with where you want ambient lighting to fill in the space where light is needed to light the entire room.

Then figure out where you want your task lights for the light you need for performing kitchen chores.

Then add in the accent lighting for visual interest in glass front cabinets, in moldings – anywhere, really where you want to call attention to something.  

When all three layers are combined using LED light fixtures you really like, you’ve got a recipe for kitchen lighting that will make your kitchen bright. 

KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.