How Far Should Recessed Lights Be from Kitchen Cabinets?

recessed lighting kitchen distance from cabinets

Recessed lights are a popular choice for kitchen lighting because they provide a sleek and modern look while also providing ample task lighting. To prevent any possible problems, it’s crucial to make sure that these lights are positioned at the proper distance from kitchen cabinets.

Recessed Light Distance from Kitchen Cabinets

It’s essential to place the lights correctly to ensure they provide the best illumination and don’t interfere with the layout of the room. The ideal distance for recessed lights from kitchen cabinets is typically around 18 inches. This distance allows the lights to provide ample task lighting while also avoiding any potential heat buildup or damage to the cabinets. It is also far enough away to prevent the light from shining directly in your eyes while you are cooking or working at the counter.

Related Post: Best Under Cabinet Lighting For Kitchen & Buying Guide

Importance of Right Distance of Recessed Lights from Cabinets

1. Avoiding Shadows

When you are in your kitchen, one thing you have to be careful of is avoiding shadows. A shadow is created when your body blocks light from hitting something, thus creating a dark outline or shape. A way to avoid shadows is to ensure that you have proper lighting in your kitchen. You can do this with ceiling lights and overhead lighting in different areas so the light reflects off multiple surfaces and prevents shadows from forming.


2. Create a cozy atmosphere

Recessed lighting is a great way to add atmosphere to any kitchen. By using dimmable recessed lighting, you can adjust the brightness and create the perfect kind of mood you are looking for. Whether you’re looking for a warm and inviting dinner party or just a quiet meal after work, dimmable LED recessed lighting will give your kitchen an inviting ambiance everyone will look forward to gathering in. You can adjust the brightness of your recessed lights as needed thanks to the benefits of employing an LED dimmer.

3. Color Changeable

Another best feature of recessed lighting is color control. This feature gives you a range of different effects without replacing any physical components. The recessed fixtures with color-changing technology offer a unique way to light up different occasions with specific moods or emotions. With this feature, you don’t have to settle for the same old primary white light. You can change your lighting design as desired to create a distinct ambiance for celebrations by shifting from relaxed soft whites to flashy and festive colors.

Factors Influencing the Distance Between Recessed Lights and Cabinets

Height of the Cabinets

The first factor to consider when determining the distance between recessed lights and kitchen cabinets is the cabinets’ height. Higher cabinets may require more space between them and the lights, while lower cabinets may need less.

Purpose of the Lighting

The purpose of the LED lighting will also affect the distance between the recessed lights and the cabinets. Task lighting, for example, should be placed closer to the cabinets, while general lighting can be placed further away.

Size of the Room

When deciding how far to place kitchen cabinets from recessed lights, the room’s size is also a crucial aspect to take into account. Smaller kitchens may require closer spacing, while larger kitchens can accommodate more distance between the lights and the cabinets.

Style of the Cabinets

Finally, the style of the cabinets can also impact the distance between the recessed lights and the cabinets. For example, cabinets with glass doors may require more space to avoid reflections in the glass.

Too Close to the Cabinets

The cabinets may eventually get damaged if the lights are positioned too near to them because heat buildup may result. For cabinets constructed of wood or other heat-sensitive materials, this is valid. As well as making it difficult to see when working in the kitchen, excessively close-placed lighting may glare straight into your eyes.

To For Away from the Cabinets

On the other hand, if the lights are placed too far away from the cabinets, they may not provide enough task lighting for the area. This can make it difficult to see while you are cooking or working at the counter, which can be frustrating and potentially dangerous.


Can recessed lights be placed directly above kitchen cabinets?

It’s generally advised to avoid placing recessed lights directly above kitchen cabinets. This positioning can create harsh shadows and uneven lighting, affecting both the aesthetics and functionality of the space. Opt for a location that allows light to spread uniformly.

How do I calculate the optimal layout for recessed lights in kitchen cabinets?

To plan an effective recessed lighting layout, measure the length and width of your kitchen. Divide the length by two and use this as a starting point for placing your first set of lights. Then, divide the width by two and place another set of lights. Adjust the positions based on your cabinet layout, focusing on evenly distributing the lights for balanced illumination.

What type of recessed lights works best in kitchens near cabinets?

When selecting recessed lights for a kitchen with cabinets, consider using adjustable fixtures or gimbal lights. These fixtures allow you to direct the light where it’s needed most and can help mitigate shadows caused by the cabinets. Additionally, opt for LED lights for energy efficiency and reduced heat emission.

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