Photo: Tria Giovan

Designer Phoebe Howard shares bright ideas for illuminating your home's hardest working room.

Start overhead. 
“I like recessed lights, and I like a lot of them,” says Phoebe. Place the cans every 4 to 5 feet, centered between the island and the counter so light falls on both workspaces.

Highlight the island. 
“For over your island, use a hanging light with a style and finish that are cohesive with other nearby lighting,” says Phoebe. For an average-size island, use two pendants or a single large fixture. The size of the pendants can vary—a general rule is that the mass of the fixtures should be about 20% to 25% of the mass of the island. Hang lights so the bases are 39 to 42 inches above the countertop.

Add a little extra. 
“Light is your friend while cooking, so the more options the better,” she adds. Lights under upper cabinetry and inside the hood are musts. Make sure your sink is well lit with a recessed light or sconces. Lastly, always install dimmer switches so you can control brightness easily.


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