There are plenty of things you would rather do in a well-lit kitchen like cutting meat and peeling potatoes. Moreover, the lines between the kitchen and other parts of the house have faded gradually. From being exclusively for cooking, it has evolved into a place that serves as the heart of the household. These days, the flurry in the kitchen isn’t only from the clanking of pots and pans but also the words shared by family and friends. Hence, it’s only correct to take some time to plan the kitchen lighting out. Here are the top kitchen lighting tips from home design experts:
The 4 Lighting Types
Before moving forward it is important to know that there are four types of lighting that can be used not only in the kitchen but in any room, in any space. These are the task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting. If these layers are blended properly and used with other elements, you’ll be able to create a warm, safe and appealing environment, no matter the size.
Task lighting is the first thing to be considered when designing a kitchen lighting system, simply because it’s rudimentary to food preparation. It is should be placed in areas where you intend to do most of the work. Your key locations are over the kitchen island and below the hanging cabinets—anywhere you plan to slice, chop, grind and read recipes.
Under-the-cabinet lighting can be an asset to the room by providing a warm and soft glow with the help of a dimmer switch. This technique is ideal for homes which have a sleek look, as the bulbs and cords are concealed. Some popular options are puck lights, string lights, and long linear bulbs.
Over-the-island lighting is a conventional technique too. Pendant lights are the tradition but if you want an uninterrupted look, opt for flush lights.
Home design experts say that ambient lighting is the most commonly disregarded feature in the kitchen but it is actually what softens the overall lighting design. It softens the shadows and emits a warm glow that will make people more comfortable in the kitchen and add a savory look to your dishes. Place them on corners or hide them behind the moldings. The point is to add drama to the room.
Decades ago, accent lighting was only for museums and exhibits. However, as more people use the kitchen for entertainment, it has become vital to kitchen lighting design.
You probably want to showcase some areas in the kitchen like the cabinet that holds your china collection or that painting hanging just above the console table. Simply direct the lights towards the object that you want people to look at. Wall sconces, track lighting, directional eyeball lights and up-lighters are just some of the most commonly-used fixtures to accentuate something. For highlighting artworks, design experts recommend low-voltage fixtures.
Decorative lighting uses lighting fixtures which are evident design elements. Thus, these should catch the interest of people by standing out but still being in harmony with the surrounding environment. Typically, it’s in the form of a chandelier or a pendant.
Make sure the size of the fixture is only proportional to that of your kitchen. Otherwise, it will overpower other design elements in the room. The opacity of the shade should also be enough to veil the light bulb and keep the glare at a pleasant level.
Although it is not fundamental to a kitchen’s primary purpose, decorative lighting adds another layer of charm that can be an asset if you do a lot of entertaining or if you’re planning to put the property in the market. Be careful not to overdo this. Limit the bold pieces to 2-3 for an average kitchen for this purpose, and make sure they don’t compete with each other in order to avoid a cluttered look.
How to Make the Them Work Together
When the four types of lighting mentioned above are used together, you can form a layered lighting design. Start by identifying the best locations for each type then decide on the type of fixture. Do not forget switches and dimmers, as they will allow you to adjust the mood with your fingertips.
Consider a Scene Integration System
Switches and dimmers are easy to manipulate. Unfortunately, this ease is also available to children. To prevent other people from playing with your preferred light levels, consider a scene integration system. This type of system allows you to preset the lighting levels for different times of the day. However, this convenience doesn’t come cheap, with the standard setup priced at almost $1,000. You can add more scenes but as you do, the cost of the system increases.
What to Keep In Mind during the Design Process
- Create a conducive workspace while keeping a clean look by using under-the-cabinet or recessed fixtures for task lighting. Reserve the more interesting ones for the ceiling. Intricate pieces will provide a comfortable glow and keep the kitchen interesting after the cooking part is over.
- Design the kitchen lighting system at the beginning of the kitchen design process. It must be planned while considering the finishes of the walls, cabinets, and countertops. Do not flood the room with light if the finishes are already reflective, and vice versa. Otherwise, you’re going to produce a glare. Adjust the lighting design to the color temperature in order to create a comfortable kitchen environment. Mirrors also reflect light, so limit them or limit the source of light.
- Do not forget the natural light. Frame out the windows using appropriate treatments.
- Use energy-efficient products. Look for the “Energy Star” logo because it is an indication that the product is friendly to the environment, using electricity efficiently.
- Complicated installations must be performed by a licensed electrician. You’ll be able to save more time and energy if your elaborate kitchen lighting design is handled by skilled hands. Furthermore, a licensed electrician knows all the safety measures that should be taken throughout the entire project.