Kitchen are typically the busiest rooms in our homes.  More than just a work room for food preparation, the kitchen is also used for eating, entertaining, homework, games and just relaxing.

First, if the kitchen is to used by a serious cook, it needs serious lighting.  Those who don't spend much time or effort preparing meals will have different priorities. The more sociable the kitchen, the more one will want flexible and aesthetic lighting choices.  

Kitchen lighting consists of three layers :

Localized task lighting at several locations,
General (ambient) lighting for the room
Supplemental accent or mood lighting.

Kitchen Design.  The size and complexity of the kitchen dictates the lighting requirements.  A small kitchen may require only under-cabinet task lighting and a central ceiling fixture for general lighting.  
A larger kitchen will need additional lighting over the sink, over a breakfast table, and in a pantry.  
Built in lighting will blend with any style of cabinetry  and  appliances.  Exposed fixtures need to be style coordinated.  

Dark Finishes.  Watch out for dark surfaces!  Some kitchens feature rich materials, like dark marble, that  just eat up the light.  Be sure to allow for extra light in those areas the feature dark countertops or cabinetry.  

Countertops.  Counters need to be free of shadows.  Flourescent or low voltage incandescent task lights mounted under the cabinets provide the most effective lighting for counter tops.  Flourescent is more efficient, cooler and creates fewer shadows. Incandescent (mostly xenon) dims more easily and lights decorative objects more dramatically.  Place the lights  at the front edge of the cabinet.  Shield  the lights with a fascia so that they cannot be seen from any seated position in the kitchen or adjacent area.  For counters without overhead cabinets, use downlights 16 -24 inches apart.  

Over the Sink.  Light the sink well.   It is the most frequently used location in the kitchen.  If cabinets extend over the sink, use undercabinet lihgts. If not, hide a flourescnet light behind a fascia, or hang a decorative pendant or use a recessed can.  

Range or Island.  Cooks need effective lighting for rangetop cooking.  Provide at least 50 to 100 footcandles.  Teh built in light in a range hood should accommodate at leaset a 60-watt lamp.  The light should reach into deep pots.  Otherwise, provide separate task lighting, as for the s ink.  Use fixtures that are shielded both from view and  splatter.  

Eating Areas.  A pendant provides pleasant lighting and sets off the eating area.  The localized brightness relieves the flat uniformity of the general and task lighting in other areas of the kitchen.