LED Downlights in Kitchens

LED downlights are ideal for kitchens, where they are used for discreet ambient lighting and/or task lighting. They’ll provide a uniform background light (i.e. ambient light) that enables you to move around. In some instances, they will directly light your worktops as an aid to food preparation.

Here are some of the things you should think about when buying LED downlights for the kitchen:

Color Temperature

Since a kitchen is primarily a “task area” where specific activities are carried out, a cool white light is often suitable. It looks a little brighter to the human eye and helps you stay focused and alert. In LED lighting, cool white lights are also typically a little more energy efficient, so they’ll emit slightly more light for the same wattage as a warm white light.

You might also choose a color/temperature that complements the decor of your kitchen. Cool white light accentuates silver and white decors, while warm white goes well with wood, brickwork and brass/bronze/copper metals.

What are you lighting?

LED downlights are great for ambient lighting or for lighting a kitchen island, but they’re less useful for lighting perimeter worktops in a kitchen. If you’re working at the edge of a kitchen, chances are you’ll be blocking the output of a recessed ceiling light. In that case, under-cabinet lights help. These can be strip-lights or miniature LED downlights that fix easily to the underside of a cabinet.

With a kitchen island, consider the type of surface you’ll be working on when buying downlights. If it’s a reflective metal surface, adjustable downlights are useful because you can angle them in such a way as to avoid glare. Fixed downlights are okay with non-reflective surfaces.


One way of calculating the light required in your kitchen is to multiply the square footage of the room by 1.5 times. This gives you the “equivalent wattage” needed in total. Most LED products provide this equivalent wattage, which originally would have referred to incandescent or halogen lighting. Downlights are typically spaced 3 or 4 feet apart and 1.5 to 2 feet away from walls.