Break a Few Boundaries With These 5 Alternative Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Desk lamp as alternative kitchen lighting idea with white cabinets and art gallery
credit: Musta Ovi

Don't get us wrong — we love true-blue, traditional types of kitchen lighting that frequently grace the cook spaces in our Instagram feeds. But every once in a while, we crave something a little more daring. And in the "anything goes" world of design that we live in, you can feel empowered to take some creative risks. That's where alternative kitchen lighting ideas come in.

Instead of a chandelier, light up your island with a table lamp. Brighten open shelving with an industrial task lamp. You can even hang string lights, too. Scroll on for some of our favorite ideas for alternative kitchen lighting — inspiration guaranteed to push the limits of your culinary design.

1. Incorporate a table lamp.

We've been seeing more and more people using table lamps in the kitchen, and we are totally on board with this trend. They provide a dose of cozy illumination perfect for boning up on dinner party recipes. Table lamps looks surprisingly chic when placed on an island or countertop, as evidenced by this kitchen belonging to Sibella Court of The Society Inc.

2. Purposely display wires.

Exposed wire alternative kitchen lighting idea with black cabinets and stainless steel appliances
credit: Entrance

Who says you have to hide your wires? For alternative kitchen lighting that doesn't follow any norms, hang a single pendant with an exposed wire for industrial appeal. This is a look that always looks authentic and unexpected in a culinary space.

3. Install lights under the cabinets.

Installing lights below your cabinets is downright genius. This little trick will cast a warm, welcoming glow and illuminate everything on your countertop. Brooke of Nesting with Grace placed LED lights on the underside of her cabinets, and the result is a cozy vibe that makes you want to pull up a chair and stay a while.

4. Mount an oversize wall sconce.

oversize wall sconce as alternative kitchen lighting idea with white cabinets and art gallery
credit: Musta Ovi

No longer reserved for cubicles and drafting tables, office-style task lamps (with articulating arms) now look shockingly current in contemporary kitchens. In this space styled by Maja of Musta Ovi, an oversize wall-mounted fixture by Flos — resembling a classic architect's lamp — brims with industrial-meets-Finnish style. Its large size definitely makes a statement, and the adjustable arm and rotating head allow you to direct the light where you need it most.

5. Hang fairy lights.

Fairy light alternative kitchen lighting idea with open shelving and blue cabinets
credit: Hornsby Style

If you're in the mood to break a few rules, consider this: Fairy lights aren't just for the holidays. We repeat — fairy lights aren't just for the holidays. Basically, we think they should be used year-round, especially in the kitchen. This alternative kitchen lighting idea might seem risqué to some, but it looks especially pretty when illuminating open shelving — as seen in this free-spirited, bohemian kitchen belonging to Sharon of Hornsby Style.


Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.