Proper lumen requirement over sink in kitchen & bathroom.

a sink with tap in kitchen.

How many lumens to properly illuminate the sink in kitchen?

Lumen requirement over kitchen sink depends upon the size of sink and recommended lumens per square feet for that area. Simply put to find how many lumens are required over kitchen sink, first measure the total square feet area of kitchen sink then multiply the total square feet area of sink with the recommended lumen value for kitchen sink which is 55 lumens per square feet. The result gives the number of lumens required to properly illuminate a kitchen sink.

For example, if a kitchen sink is 1.6 feet (20 inches) wide and 1.5 feet(18 inches) long then its total lumen requirement is 130 lumens.

As also suggested by lighting experts, Good lighting helps to get our bearings in a room which means proper lighting over the kitchen as well as working areas is very important.

Below is a helpful table of typical kitchen sink sizes and their lumen requirement.

Kitchen sink sizeLumens required for proper illumination
18" × 16"130 lumens
20" × 17"128 lumens
21" × 18"144 lumens
22" ×17"140 lumens
24" × 18"165 lumens
24" × 20"176 lumens
31" × 17"200 lumens
31" × 18"212 lumens
31" × 19"224 lumens

How to find the lumen requirement of double sink

A double sink can be considered as one big sink. Therefore, to gets the lumen requirement simply multiply its total sq. feet area with 55. The result gives the precise number of lumens required over double sink.

How many lumens are required over bathroom sink ?

A white colored wash basin sink in bathroom.

The lighting requirement of a bathroom sink is around 45 lumens to 50 lumens per square feet. Therefore, multiply 50 with the total sq feet area of sink to get its lumen requirement. For example, if a bathroom sink is 15 inches (1.2 feet) long and 20 inches (1.6 feet) wide, its total lumen requirement will be 96 lumens.

For a bathroom sink with double bowls either separated or joined, they should also be considered as one big bowl only if there is only one big mirror above them. If there are two separate mirrors as shown in the image below then the lighting requirement of individual sinks should be calculated separately and then illuminate them with separate light sources..

Two wash basin sinks in bathroom.

Doing this will not only illuminate the sinks properly but also will help to illuminate the entire vanity area properly.

Compared to other rooms a bathroom has fewer windows and less exposure to natural light. Therefore, it becomes important to make the bathroom sufficiently bright. This will ensure that while grooming, shaving, or washing in the bathroom the effectiveness of such works significantly enhances.

What size bulb is required over kitchen sink

To choose the correct bulb size for any sink first measure its lumen requirement and then see the lumen output of the bulb at a particular wattage.The size of kitchen sink determines what size bulb is required over it. The bigger the sink is the higher is its lumen requirement and thus more bright bulb would be required.

Generally, the Bigger the bulb is, the greater is its lumen output. Below are typical bulb sizes and their lumen output

LED BULB SIZEWatts to produce 500 lumensWatts to produce 1000 lumens
A15 5 - 6 watts9 watts
A19 5 watts11 watts
A216 watts10 watts
BR205.5 - 6 watts13 watts
BR25 (reflector shape)5 watt9.5 - 10 watts
BR40 (reflector)5 - 6 watts12 - 13 watts
G155 watts10 - 11 watt
G255 watts15 watt

From the table above, we see that A15, A19 and BR25 bulbs are the most energy-efficient bulbs. To illuminate a sink, A15, A19 and G25 bulb size should be used. As they have a round shape which is ideal if bulbs are to be fixed directly in the socket whereas BR20, BR25 and BR40 have a distinct reflector shape that needs to be installed deep within the ceiling.

The same size bulb can be used to illuminate a bathroom sink as well but bathroom sinks are required to be illuminated differently. The light should illuminate both sink as well as the vanity mirror. (How to do this is explained later below in track light section)

What color temperature of light should be over a sink ?

For kitchen, the color temperature of light must be daylight white as thus the light over the sink should also have the same color temperature of light i.e 4000 k. For bathrooms, the color temperature should be greater than daylight white which gives bluish shade i.e 6000k. This color temperature helps in creating a sense of attentiveness.

Which lighting options can provide sufficient lumens.

Recessed lights

Recessed lights placed on the ceiling above the sink in kitchen.

Recessed lights are an excellent option to add lumens over the sink. Since they are installed within the ceiling, they provide a flush look to the space while also providing sufficient brightness. Recessed lights have mainly two sizes i.e 4 inch recessed lights and 6 inch recessed light. A 4 inch recessed light at 12 watts can provide an illumination of 750 lumens while a 6 inch recessed light at 12 watts can provide an illumination of 850 lumens. 4 inch recessed lights are mostly used for their aesthetic value that they provide when installed in multiple numbers. While 6 inch recessed lights are used to get high level of brightness. After the lumen requirement of the sink is calculated, recessed lights can be installed directly within the ceiling above the sink.

A combination of two 6 inch recessed lights can be used to properly illuminate a kitchen sink.

Ideally, recessed lights should be placed 6 to 7 inches away from the wall. The reason for this distance is that placing recessed lights in the ceiling above the sink at some distance from the wall will ensure that light falls, such that the shadows while working near the sink are minimized and light falls directly where it is required the most.

Pendant lights


Pendant lights are another great option to illuminate a kitchen sink. Just like recessed lights, they are also used for their aesthetic importance. A 10 watt LED pendant light can provide an illumination of 900 – 1000 lumens which is very high compared to recessed lights thus giving them an edge over recessed lights.

But since pendant lights are hanged very close above the kitchen sink, they can make the sink too bright. Therefore, pendant light which is dimmable should be used over the sink. Pendant lights should be placed at a distance of 12 inches from each other over the sink.

The correct spacing between pendant lights is very important both for the even distribution of light as well as for aesthetic enhancements. This can be accomplished by using pendant lights of small size. Ideally, for a normal-sized kitchen sink, the width of individual pendant light should be around 4 to 6 inches. More about pendant lights in kitchen sink like the distancing of pendant lights from wall can be found here.

Track lights.

For kitchen sink

An open floor plan kitchen with track lights focusing light over the kitchen sink.

Track lights are also an incredible lighting option for sinks. Since track lights are designed such that light falls more at a particular spot, they can be used to properly illuminate a kitchen sink.

A single 8 watts LED track light head can provide an illumination of 650 lumens which is more efficient compared to recessed lights which at 12 watts provides 750 lumens. There are three things to know about track lights before using them to illuminate a sink and i.e their correct placement on the ceiling, their beam angle, and their angle of installation (all these factors are explained here.). If these factors are carefully` addressed, then track lights can efficiently illuminate the kitchen sink.

For bathroom sink

For a bathroom sink track lights are not ideal because the light over the sink or washbasin should illuminate the vanity mirror as well. This is only possible if wall sconces are used illuminate the vanity mirror.

However, if the design of the bathroom vanity area is such that there is no enough room for wall sconces to be installed near either side of the mirror in that case, lights can be installed directly in the ceiling.

Undercabinet lights

Under cabinet lights over a kitchen sink.

Undercabinet lights are the trend for lighting a modern kitchen. If a kitchen sink is such that there are cabinets directly over it then under cabinet lighting is a great option for such a sink.

In the under cabinet light source is simply installed under the cabinets illuminating the surface underneath. They also provide a flush look to the kitchen. For the purpose of undercabinet lights light sources like an LED bar, Flourescent tube, LED strip lights or 4 inch recessed lights can be used.

Led Strip Lights are great just to provide accent lights to a small area while the other sources like fluorescent tubes and Led bars can be used for proper illumination of the kitchen sink as well as countertops. A 2 feet (11 inches) long fluorescent tube at 8 watts can provide an illumination of 420 lumens whereas a 2 feet long LED tube at 8 watts can provide an illumination of 1120 lumens.

Since LED tubes offer the benefit to be dimmable, they get an advantage over fluorescent tubes. Therefore, 12 inch long dimmable LED tubes are a great source of light for under cabinet lighting.

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