Whether you’re designing a kitchen from scratch or looking to upgrade your existing space, choosing the right lighting is crucial. Not only does lighting serve the practical purpose of illuminating tasks, but it also sets the overall ambiance. For many modern kitchens, rectangular light fixtures have become a popular choice.
With their sleek and minimalist forms, rectangular lights add an elegant accent while providing excellent task lighting over key areas.
Types of Rectangular Light Fixtures for Kitchens
There are several common types of rectangular fixtures well-suited for kitchen applications:
Island pendants are suspended lights that hang over a kitchen island. This makes them perfect for focusing task lighting right where it’s needed most. Island pendants come in a diverse range of styles, from industrial metal cages to sleek glass globes. Popular finishes include brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and matte black.
As the name implies, linear fixtures feature an extended rectangular shape. Spanning anywhere from 2 to 8 feet long, these lights provide uniform illumination along counters, islands, and sinks. Linear LED fixtures are an especially popular choice for their energy efficiency and minimalist aesthetic.
Track lighting offers incredible flexibility, using a mounted track with adjustable spotlights. The lights can be aimed to highlight specific tasks or wall decor. Track lighting comes in both recessed and surface-mounted options to work in any space.
For a real showstopper, a rectangular chandelier with multiple hanging arms can make a stunning statement. Metals like brushed brass or nickel paired with crystal prisms result in a glamorous focal point over an island or dining area.
Key Benefits of Rectangular Fixtures
Now that we’ve covered some popular options, let’s explore why rectangular light fixtures are so well-suited for kitchen spaces:
- They easily fit in the narrow spaces above islands and counters where round or square fixtures would be too bulky.
- Their low profile allows them to mount closer to the ceiling, saving valuable overhead space.
- Their elongated shape effectively lights up the entire length of islands and task areas.
- The straight, structured lines accentuate modern and contemporary kitchen aesthetics.
- They come in an array of styles, materials, and finishes to match any kitchen decor from industrial to traditional.
Choosing the Right Size
To choose an appropriately-sized rectangular fixture, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Island pendants should span at least two-thirds the width of the island for optimal lighting. For example, for a 6 ft wide island, choose a fixture at least 4 ft wide.
- Pendants or chandeliers over a dining table should be at least as wide as the table itself.
- Standard height for hanging most fixtures is 30-36 inches above the counter or tabletop.
- For sloped or vaulted ceilings, adjust the hanging height so the bottom of the fixture aligns with the standard 30-36 inch clearances.
Popular Locations for Rectangular Fixtures
Here are some of the most common and effective spots to install rectangular fixtures in your kitchen:
- Centered over a kitchen island
- Mounted on the wall above the sink or stove
- Hung over the dining table or bar area
- Recessed into soffits and vaulted ceilings for ambient lighting
- Under cabinets for task lighting
Installation Tips and Considerations
Proper installation ensures your new fixture functions safely and optimally:
- Hire a qualified electrician if you lack experience with electrical work.
- Determine if hardwiring to a junction box or plug-in installation works best based on location.
- Follow the recommended hanging heights based on the fixture’s purpose and your kitchen’s dimensions.
- Position island pendants in a straight line or staggered formation based on personal preference.
Setting the Right Ambiance
The lighting needs in a kitchen vary based on the task and mood you want to create. Here are some tips for dialing in the perfect ambiance:
- Use a cooler white light temperature (5000K-6000K) for food prep tasks requiring maximum visibility.
- Warmer white light (2700K-3000K) creates a relaxing mood for dining and entertaining.
- Dimmers allow you to adjust multiple scenes, from bright for cooking to dim for ambiance.
- Uplighting bounces light off the ceiling, while downlighting directly illuminates tasks below.
Additional Smart Features to Consider
Today’s rectangular fixtures integrate seamlessly with smart home technology for added convenience and functionality:
- Motion Sensors: Fixtures with built-in motion sensors turn on automatically when you enter the room and turn off after a period of inactivity.
- Voice Control: Controlling your lights via voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Home makes kitchen tasks more hands-free.
- Tunable White: Adjust color temperature from warm to cool white to suit any activity.
- Smart Integrations: Sync your lighting with other connected appliances and devices in the home for total control.
With their sleek, minimalist forms and excellent illumination, rectangular light fixtures are a perfect choice for contemporary kitchens. From island pendants to linear LEDs, they provide both beauty and outstanding function. By following the guidelines and tips in this article, you’re sure to choose the ideal fixtures to enhance your unique kitchen design and activities.
So if you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen lighting, consider going rectangular. The clean, structured lines and abundant task lighting will lend a modern, stylish look while meeting all your kitchen’s lighting needs.