Would You Put a Lamp in Your Kitchen? Interior Designers Say Yes—and Explain How to Choose and Style the Right One

Kitchen lamps are trending—and they're an affordable, simple way to add character to your cooking space.

Elsa Table lamp in shade Olive on kitchen counter
Photo: Max Attenborough / Courtesy of Pooky.com

Incorporating a table lamp into your kitchen may not be the first thought when it comes to redesigning or upgrading this space, but this small detail makes a bold statement and serves a purpose. It's also an interior designer-approved move, one that's steadily cropped up on social media. In other words, don't be quick to write off kitchen lamps as a fleeting trend: This cozy design detail is anticipated to go the distance.

"A table lamp can and should be a decorative statement in your kitchen," says Chelsey Brown, an interior designer and globally recognized heirloom hunter. "They not only incorporate softer lighting into your space, but also lend a cozier and more organic feel."

Many homeowners and apartment dwellers will tell you that they've always been team kitchen lamp, since it's a simple and affordable way to bring texture and depth to a room that's optimized for utility, says Christine Kobervig Munger, an interior design expert for Fernish, agrees. It's also a more accessible piece of decor compared to major kitchen renovations, high-maintenance DIY projects, and expensive detail upgrades. "We've collectively been spending so much time over the last few years focused on the bigger furniture elements," Munger says. "Lamps and shades are a fun, low-cost, high-impact way to refresh a space."

How to Choose a Kitchen Lamp

Eager to try this emerging trend yourself? We asked interior designers for their best tips on choosing the perfect table lamp for your kitchen.

Go Bespoke

One-of-a-kind lamps (like the unique green glass and painted shade iteration from Pooky.com, above) are trending right now, as opposed to easily replicated, store-bought options. Going this route lends character and heightened personality to your kitchen. Stick to embellished shades, vintage gems, or made-to-order pieces.

"Interesting shade shapes, colors, materials, and textures are popping up everywhere—along with tons of DIY tutorials on how to transform the shades you already own," Munger says. "Natural fibers, exaggerated pleats, and proportions can all bring new life to a simple lamp base."

Opt for a Sturdy Base

Speaking of bases: Choose a lamp with a sturdy foundation that's less likely to topple over in the midst of an inevitable kitchen frenzy. Stick to a classic gourd or pillar shape, explains Avery Cox, an interior designer based in Austin, Texas. "These are structurally sound and weighty and won't tip or get lost in details of the kitchen," she says.

Look for Easy-to-Clean Materials

The kitchen can be a messy place, so lean toward materials that are wipeable and easy to clean. Ceramic, glass, concrete, or stone are all good choices. You can find lampshades in some of these textiles, as well, but they may not fit your aesthetic. That said, softer fabrics—such as cotton or linen—can be cleaned, but require a gentler touch and more attention to detail.

Consider Scale

Small lamps can work in certain spaces, but avoid anything too tiny, since these pieces tend to get lost among larger appliances on your countertops, says Cox. "Choosing the right scale is key to making an impact, but not overpowering the space," she notes. "The lamp should be tall enough to cast light on the surface of the countertop and to allow for items to be placed below the shade if needed."

Shorter lamps are great for fitting under upper cabinetry, but make sure they have a bit of heft so they anchor the space, Cox adds.

How to Style a Kitchen Lamp

Once you've chosen the perfect kitchen lamp, follow these styling tips, courtesy of interior designers, to best incorporate it into your space.

  • Be mindful of safety: Keep your kitchen lamp at least 1 to 2 feet away from your stove and sink. This minimizes messes and damage, and also prevents a potential fire hazard.
  • Choose warm light bulbs: Always go with warm, soft lighting; stay away from cool bulbs. The former makes your kitchen more inviting.
  • Pair with complementary details: "Place your lamp on a stack of books, a small stool, or chic tray," says Brown. "You can even place a lamp on the floor on top of a large stack of books for a unique feature statement."
  • Consider matching lamps: "If you're placing a lamp on an island, buy two of the same lamps and place one on either side of the island to create symmetry," Brown says.
  • Prioritize function: Your kitchen lamp is an opportunity to incorporate helpful task lighting into your space. It can come in handy next to a cookbook stand or coffee station or in a dark corner.
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