Kitchen Lighting Trends 2023 and How to Make Them Timeless

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In the ever-evolving world of interior design, kitchen lighting plays a pivotal role in shaping the ambiance of a space. This year has brought forth a range of captivating trends that are redefining kitchen illumination. From statement pendant lights to task lighting, homeowners are embracing the kitchen lighting trends of 2023 to infuse their kitchens with both style and functionality. 

In this post, we’ll delve into the trending light fixtures that are taking center stage this year. We’ll share what our clients have been asking for, which trends are on their way out, and most importantly, how to achieve a balance between trendy and timeless. As we like to say, trends come and go, but a well-crafted design endures!

What is Trending in Kitchen Lighting?

Kitchen Island Pendants: Big and Small

Gold pendants lights hanging over white kitchen islands in two modern kitchen spaces.
Homeowners often turn to pendant lights during kitchen renovations as a relatively simple way to refresh the look and feel of the space.

Pendant lights can be used individually or in clusters, allowing homeowners to experiment with various arrangements and create unique lighting designs that suit their preferences. They are particularly effective in establishing a layered lighting effect, as they combine task, ambient, and decorative lighting into one fixture.

Pendant lights are one of the biggest kitchen island lighting trends this year. Our clients have been asking for pendants in 2s and 3s, in big, small, or oversized varieties. Oversized fixtures are particularly dramatic and act as a statement piece for the kitchen.

How to make this trend timeless: Steer clear of overly ornate or overly decorative designs and opt for something simple and clean. Choose finishes that are known for their timelessness, such as matte, satin, or polished finishes. If you’re going for a glass pendant, stick to clear or lightly frosted glass. 

Metal Kitchen Island Pendant Lights & Mixed Metal Finishes

Three gold metal kitchen island pendants hanging over a white kitchen island with 4 gray and brown chairs. In background is ceramics and art sitting on shelves, a black sink and faucet, and black stove.
The gold pendant lights are particularly striking in this minimalist kitchen.

Mixing metal finishes in the kitchen has gained widespread popularity as it introduces depth, visual interest, and a sense of personalization to the heart of the home. This trend aligns with the evolving notion that spaces should feel curated and collected over time, rather than perfectly coordinated.

By thoughtfully incorporating different finishes into cabinet hardware, faucets, appliances, and light fixtures, homeowners can achieve a balanced yet distinctive look in their kitchen. While there isn’t a strict rule regarding the optimal metal for light fixtures, we generally opt for one that is different from the predominant finish in the space. Some of our favorite metal combinations include contrasting finishes (pairing polished finishes with matte or brushed finishes), warm-cool, and industrial mixes.

How to make this trend timeless: Stick with a maximum of two finishes for the most timeless look. 

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Kitchen Task Lighting & Accent Lighting

Black and white pendant light hanging over kitchen sink, next to a shelving area with ceramics, glasses, and art that is illuminated by an unlaquered brass shelving light.
Our clients asked for space with a lived-in feel, so we opted for unlaquered brass fixtures that will patina beautifully over time.  

Kitchens are multifunctional spaces where various tasks, such as cooking, food preparation, and cleaning take place. Kitchen task lighting provides focused illumination in specific areas, making these tasks easier and safer to perform. For instance, under-cabinet lighting can illuminate countertops, making it easier to chop vegetables or read recipes.

Accent lighting adds an aesthetic touch to the kitchen by highlighting certain features like artwork, decorative items, or architectural elements. This creates a layered lighting effect that enhances the overall visual appeal of a kitchen and can help it feel more elevated and sophisticated. 

Designers in 2023 are strategically selecting lighting fixtures that not only serve practical purposes but also contribute to the overall design aesthetic of a space. Pendant lights and wall sconces are particularly popular right now and can fit many interior design styles.

How to make this trend timeless: Choose lighting fixtures with classic shapes, like conical, round, or rectangular. 

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Hanging Shade Lighting

Hanging shade lights, one big, wavy shade hanging over a white round table that has 4 blue and gold chairs situated around it. In other image, a chandelier with multiple shades situated in a circle hangs above a wooden table with door-length windows in background.
One of the key strengths of hanging shade lights lies in their ability to introduce texture and depth to a room’s design.

Hanging shade fixtures are coveted for their versatility, seamlessly adapting to a range of design aesthetics while adding a touch of sophistication and character. With a diverse array of styles, materials, and shapes available, these fixtures effortlessly blend into various interior design themes. Emitting a gentle, warm glow, they cultivate an inviting ambiance, creating comfortable and welcoming spaces for occupants and visitors alike.

In 2023, these trending light fixtures are being used to seamlessly bridge the gap in transitional interiors that are a mix of traditional and contemporary designs. 

How to make this trend timeless: Opt for minimal, subtle detailing and a classic silhouette, like drum shades, bell shades, or empire shades. 

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The Newest Kitchen Table Lighting Trends

Cluster Lighting

Two rattan chandeliers shaped like upside down baskets hang over a wood table with rattan chairs in a neutral dining room.
Multiple lighting fixtures add a sense of symmetry and elegance to a dining area.

Hanging two or more chandeliers over a dining table has both functional and aesthetic appeal. Firstly, multiple light sources ensure a more even distribution of illumination across the dining area. They can effectively eliminate undesirable shadows and create a well-lit environment for dining, socializing, and other activities. 

Secondly, the use of multiple lighting fixtures contributes significantly to the visual allure and overall balance of the space. Especially in larger dining rooms, a single lighting fixture might appear disproportionate or inadequate to provide sufficient light. Two or more fixtures can help fill a space appropriately and ensure a well-rounded design from floor to ceiling. 

Chandeliers are also often associated with luxury and elegance. Using cluster lighting can help create a more upscale and refined atmosphere in the dining area.

How to make this trend timeless: Strive for a balance between elegance and minimalism. A touch of simplicity when it comes to cluster fixtures is timeless, but overly ornate or extravagant designs might become outdated quickly.

Bubble Light Chandeliers

A bubble chandelier with a gold suspension system hangs above a round glass table with 4 light blue chairs around it. Gold lamps, a gold mirror, and blue and green patterned wallpaper make up the background.
The bubble chandelier at Project Chastain is playful, feminine, and elegant. 

Bubble chandeliers have surged in popularity due to their unique and captivating design that seamlessly blends contemporary aesthetics with a touch of whimsy. These chandeliers, often composed of glass orbs or spheres, are a refreshing departure from traditional chandelier designs.

They are also highly versatile, which allows them to fit design styles from modern and minimalistic to eclectic and even industrial. The playfulness and elegance inherent in their design attract those who seek to infuse a sense of light-hearted charm into their spaces without compromising on sophistication. 

How to make this trend timeless:  Opt for high-quality materials like brass, bronze, or stainless steel for the chandelier’s frame. Also, consider if the chandelier can be subtly updated without losing its essence, such as updating the suspension system to extend its relevance. 

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Kitchen Lighting Trends on Their Way Out

Recessed Lights

Minimal recessed lights shine above the stove and countertop area on one side of the kitchen. In the middle hangs 3 brown pendant lights over a white kitchen island with 3 black chairs.
Recessed lights, often referred to as “can lights” or “downlights,” were popularized in the 1970s.

Recessed lighting has been popular for years, but it rarely adds any visual interest to a kitchen and tends to cast harsh, unflattering shadows. It can also be a pain to install, and an even bigger pain to remove and replace. 

Instead, many people are choosing fixtures that add to and accentuate the style of their kitchen and putting task lights in the specific areas they need them. This approach allows homeowners to get creative and results in a more personalized and versatile lighting setup. 

If your heart is set on recessed lighting, we suggest placing them only in the areas you need them, instead of filling a ceiling full of them. Opt for small (no larger than 4”) nondescript cans and always put them on a dimmer.

Pulling Off Current Light Fixture Trends

When it comes to current light fixture trends, one thing remains clear: the marriage of style and functionality is paramount. To ensure your kitchen stands the test of time, opt for fixtures that capture timeless elegance. Whether it’s the understated grace of lampshade lighting or the strategic arrangement of multiple fixtures, these choices can guarantee your kitchen maintains its charm well into the future. 

Navigating these trends can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. At Z & Co. Design Group, we are a collective of Atlanta interior designers who have an eye for detail and an understanding of how trends ebb and flow. We offer custom home design services and specialize in guiding our clients through the maze of modern trends while ensuring that their designs stand the test of time.

We enjoy discovering innovative ways to illuminate our clients’ kitchens, and we are excited to help you too! Contact our Atlanta design group for any or all of your kitchen design, project managing, installation, and staging needs, and let’s make your kitchen shine like never before.