Brighten things up with these tips from design experts.

Just as important as picking out your cabinetry and countertop material: choosing lighting that works for your space. We’ve compiled a few tips from the pros to help you brighten up your look.McleodBovell_Sunset0578.CMYK

1. Light with purpose.

The Spinning BH1 pendant lights by And Tradition that hang over the island in this stunning modern kitchen are a beautiful exercise in symmetry, but they also balance the height of the ceiling, says designer Lisa Bovell. “They act to effectively focus your eye in that kitchen,” she explains. “Otherwise, your eyes will be roaming too high—the lights make that area feel a little more intimate as a result.”MORE: We Can’t Even Handle This Kitchen With a View


2. Pendant lights are not a necessity.

In this Vancouver kitchen, designer Denise Ashmore used surface-mounted Artemide lights to avoid competing with the fixture that hangs above the dining table nearby. But with a trio of skylights and a row of clerestory windows above the cabinetry, they’re barely needed: natural light is king in this sunny space.MORE: 6 Ways to Brighten a Dark RoomSally Douglas Kitchen_01

3. Choose the island or the dining table.

You can have pendants over the island, or over the dining table—but never both. Designer Juli Hodgson decided to keep the sightlines clear in the kitchen itself, away from the island, instead focusing on task-oriented pot lights around the room.


4. Don’t block off the light.

“We didn’t want to wall it in,” says Ashmore of this back-door mud room area, which acts as a landing pad for a Vancouver family. A custom walnut screen separates their rack of coats and backpacks from the dining area while still allowing light to flood in. “It’s our way of continuing the connection between indoors and outdoors.”

connie-young-kitchen-western-living5. Stick to light floors when there’s southern exposure.

Harsh sunlight will bleach out floors around the furniture in anything mid to dark, says designer Connie Young, which is why she went with bleached white oak flooring from Divine Flooring in Calgary for this warm, open kitchen

Want more designer advice and inspiring pics delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter for great content three times a week!