To shed some light on the question of how to light your kitchen, you must consider 4 things: work areas, eating/entertaining areas, general traffic spaces, and accent lighting for a little drama.
1. In order to prevent shadows, lights should be placed over top of the work surfaces. A center of the room ceiling fixture cannot do this. Every work surface needs to be lit: cabinet tops by under-cabinet lights, islands and sinks by hanging pendants, lanterns, or recessed lights, and the kitchen desk. Make sure the lighting is placed where your body wonâ€™t block it when you are working.
2. Place hanging fixtures with multiple bulbs over eating tables. Several bulbs will always give you the maximum flexibility where you need it. Make sure the fixture is on a dimmer to allow for different functions (reading the newspaper, romantic dining, homework, etc.)
3. General or ambient lighting helps to fill in the gaps in traffic spaces. Recessed lights are great for this purpose. Put these on a dimmer as well to allow for proper light levels from cleaning to dining.
4.Accent lighting in the kitchen can include lights inside the cabinets (open or with glass doors), picture or sculpture lights, cover lighting, lighting above the cabinets, kickplate lighting under the cabinets (makes a great nightlight), or simply a fun or decorative wall sconce that is simply art itself!
In total, you should have at least 2.5 watts per square foot of incandescent light or the equivalent (or 40 lumens per square foot).