Kitchen’s combine so many aspects of our home life – spending time with family, cooking up a storm, work/homework, coffee with friends – with such diversity in such a small space, the options for your lighting design are endless! The trick is to make sure your design is layered and gives you all the lighting state options you want – without ending up looking like a Casino!

In the kitchen, you need functional light, first and foremost – working with sharp knives and hotplates means you really need to be able to see what you are doing!  But don’t fall into the trap of only having bright functional light.  Even with dimming, if you only have directional light onto your benches, the opportunity to transform your kitchen into your favourite café for coffee with friends is lost.

We also like to design good quality light built into cabinetry in the kitchen. The obvious one is under the overhead cabinets, but inside your cupboards is another great place to hide light. Just like your fridge, your cupboards can “turn on” when you open them. Why would you bother? Well, aside from looking fantastic, light inside your cupboards means you don’t need as much in the space, so you can keep the ceiling lovely and clean.  We’re a little obsessed with clean ceilings at MINT – the less “stuff” you have overhead, the more expansive and open any room feels – it’s worth keeping in mind.

By using discreet architectural lighting, selecting decorative fittings you love, and building light into the cabinetry you can have a high functioning kitchen that turns into your favourite café, or becomes the subtle backlight to your open plan living area.  If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then it deserves all the lighting love you can give it.


Photo Credit:  The Space Cowboy

What wattage?

With LED lighting, the question becomes how many lumens do I need in my kitchen – and in truth, there is no one right answer.

Wattage used to be a good indicator of the power of a light, but with the massive range of quality of LED lighting sold in Australia today, we have to look at the more technical measurements of light to be able to evaluate the performance.

The amount of light you need is determined by the size of the room – in square meters and also in height, and the colour of your finishes.

Dark colours will need more light – or at least more focused light, however a white on white kitchen is going to become overwhelming if you add too much light to the room.


Energy Efficient Lights: Will they help my back pocket?

There really is only LED lighting in the marketplace at the moment. It is highly efficient when it’s well made and good quality.

Unfortunately, we still see a lot of cheap lights being sold that do not convert electricity to light in the most efficient way. This means you end up spending more on your power bill – for less light in your home.

Energy efficiency is actually a very complex question in the lighting world at the moment.  I recently sat on an expert panel on this topic at an International Lighting Conference, and whilst as an industry, we are very clear on how to manage the energy consumed by light, what is less cut and dried is how to balance that energy saving with quality of life.

The simplest way to think about it is this – you used to have 50W halogen downlights everywhere – and for 50W, with a good quality LED you can light an entire kitchen now – so if you’ve reduced your 6 x 50W (300W) downlights to 50W of LED you are most definitely ahead in the back pocket.


Photo Credit:  The Space Cowboy


If I buy cool lights from overseas can I use them in Australia?

Sometimes, however, it opens you up to a range of potential electrical issues and it means you don’t have local on the ground support if something goes wrong.

There are a lot more lighting suppliers in Australia, that bring in exquisite lighting from overseas and complete all the relevant checks for quality and local approvals than most people realise. At MINT, we work with around 100 different light suppliers at any given time (based in Melbourne), finding the right lights and looking for that something special for our clients.

Lighting is very heavily regulated – and for good reason, electricity is dangerous stuff! You want to know that your lights have been built properly and aren’t going to harm you or your home. By working with a quality local supplier – who is importing lights from overseas – you can rest assured that the lights are tested for our Australian conditions, and you have a warranty to protect you.


Photo Credit:  The Space Cowboy


About Mint Lighting

Thank you to our guest contributor Adele Locke –  Owner, Director, Designer of Mint Lighting.

Growing up making light fittings in the family business, Adele has lived in a lighting world for most of her life. Her background spans from luminaire manufacturing and bespoke lighting design to large scale commercial projects, management and architectural lighting design. Adele also works on small and large commercial projects, from retail to public spaces.  Some of her commercial work includes AAMI Park Stadium, University of Newcastle’s Great Hall and Melbourne Airport.

She is the Immediate Past President (2017) of the Illuminating Engineers Society of Australia and New Zealand and is also a member of the Corporate Member of the BDAV Building Designers Association of Victoria.


A self-confessed (and publicly acknowledged) lighting geek, Adele is driven by a passion for well-considered, effective + inspirational lighting.  She enjoys educating and training anyone interested in light – from architects to designers to electricians and homeowners. Adele is also often invited to be the keynote speaker to TAFE students, industry groups + associations, and special interest groups and is a regular teacher at Laneway Learning in Melbourne.