Task lighting ideas for the kitchen and living room

Two important areas to consider when discussing lighting are the two rooms that you will spend a lot of time in while at home; your kitchen and your living room.

These are also two areas where task lighting plays an important part in lighting design. Task lighting is the lighting required in a specific area of a room where a visual activity might take place, for example a floor lamp near your favourite reading chair. It is normally shadow free and used in conjunction with other forms of lighting.

Let’s look at each room in detail and see how task lighting can be used to your advantage.

The Kitchen 

There are a number of areas in your kitchen where task lighting can play an important part in the overall lighting of the room, specifically where you prepare food, where you eat food and where you clean up afterwards.


Food preparation areas: Here one can use under cabinet lighting. This is often the most effective in these areas. You could also use dimmers to adjust the amount of light needed depending on the time of day and general lighting conditions in the kitchen. An advantage of under cabinet lighting is that they cast no shadows.

Another option would be the use of adjustable ceiling down lights but they would have to be positioned in an area so they are easily adjustable. This works best if you have a central island that you use as your food preparation area.

Kitchen eating area: Not all homes have dining rooms and families often eat in the kitchen but often lighting above a kitchen table is neglected. The easiest way to provide lighting for your kitchen table is use a pendant type light. A few points to consider when choosing the light for this area are:

  • The height of the ceiling. A larger fixture is required as your ceiling gets higher.
  • The size of your table: The fixture needs to compliment the table and more importantly, provide enough light.Fluorescent and halogen bulbs are best for use in the kitchen.

Clean up areas: Wash basins are often placed by a window so natural light provides the task lighting. You could consider extra lighting in the area in the form of a ceiling light or a recessed lighting fixture near the cleaning up area.

The Living Room

It is important to put task lighting in areas of your living room where you will need it, for example a reading light near your favourite reading chair. Use task lighting to define the different zones in your living room.


Let’s have a look how task lighting can be used effectively…

Reading areas: We all have our favourite reading chair! It is very important that you provide the correct amount of light so as not to strain your eyes while reading. Too much light can also cause glare. Lighting options for this area can include:

  • Table lamps: Great to use on a desk, a table lamp can provide the correct light for reading.
  • Floor lamps: Modern floor lamps are the perfect way to provide light at your favourite reading chair. Make sure they have an adjustable head. A dimmer can also help you control the lighting conditions.

Game/activity table: Tables will need to be illuminated in a different way. Consider the following in your choices.

  • Ceiling light fittings. A pendant light is often the best way to illuminate a table.
  • Directional wall mounted swing arm fitting: Something different for providing task lighting. It can be mounted fairly high and provide lighting from above.
  • Large scale arc lighting: An interesting yet viable approach, you could use an arc lighting fixture with a long arm thereby putting the base far away from the table and out of the way.

LED and incandescent bulbs are best for use in your living room area.

Deciding on task lighting for your kitchen and living room can be a fun activity. Remember to put your own personal touch into your selections.