Published on October 19, 2020

white cottage kitchenPin It
Photography by Stephen Kent Johnson

There are a lot of things you shouldn’t attempt to do in the dark, cooking being one of them. Fortunately, kitchen lighting has come a long way from standard recessed cans. Now you can add LED strips under upper cabinets, display giant dome pendants over the island, and set everything on a dimmer. The issue is, all of these updates require you to call an electrician, which can be costly and prolong your timeline. But there is one exception: table lamps.

Just because you’re accustomed to seeing them in the living room or on a nightstand doesn’t mean one can’t live on your countertop next to your coffee machine or up high on an open shelf. While the placement is unexpected, these types of fixtures can make a kitchen feel so much homier—and it gets you out of paying a professional to rip open your ceiling. Read on for a few bright examples and our picks to get the look. 

Create a Reading Zone

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Photography by Reid Rolls; Styling by Colin King; Design by Marie Trohman and Ashley Drost of Proem Studio

Don’t shove your lamp in the corner, where it will serve little purpose. Keep it closer to the cooktop or wherever you store your cookbooks. A double-pull chain makes it super-easy to switch it on and off.

Plug It on the Island

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Photography by Nicole Franzen; Design by Athena Calderone

There are no supersize dome pendants hanging over Athena Calderone’s Amagansett island, but a lamp with an exaggerated wicker shade makes up for the drama. Turn to this solution when all your ceiling fixtures are along the perimeter of the room. 

Carve Out a Cozy Corner

yellow lamp in mid century kitchenPin It
Photography by Laure Joliet; Design by Reath Design

Treasured cutting boards, greenery, little trivets, and a patterned lamp bring this otherwise wasted nook to life. Looking for the right light for your space? Shop your living room or a few of our top buys, below. 

Fulfill your dreams of having terrazzo counters by bringing in this speckled stone piece, also available in mint green, pink, and dark blue. 

Carved out of alabaster, this sculptural option allows you to introduce natural stone to your space without spending a fortune on a giant slab. 

Channel Calderone’s beachy-organic vibes with a similar rattan piece. The scallop-edge detail along the handwoven shade will lend a sense of playfulness to any cookie-cutter space.  

One with a transparent glass body is ideal for tiny rooms (there’s no bulky base crowding your sight line). 

Stranger things have happened than putting a lamp in the kitchen, and this outer space–inspired piece (the top is meant to look like a hovering UFO) is a reminder.

Bring a little Brutalism to the coffee bar with this one, which is spun on a potter’s wheel using locally sourced clay, giving it textured grooves. 

A large kitchen needs not one but two table lamps, like this pair that’s hand-painted by Ojai, California–based artist Rebekah Miles. Stick one at each end of the island à la Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent. 

Once used to store rice wine, this vessel—now topped with a sloped linen shade—is a fitting choice for the room. 

Our Fall Style issue has arrived! Subscribe now to get an exclusive first look at Ayesha Curry’s Bay Area home—and discover how design can shape our world.

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