Ahhh, kitchens! That special place where food, families, friends and festivities meet. Ever wonder why most people end up in the kitchen at parties? It’s most likely the comfort factor. You can add to that comfort by putting a bit of planning into your kitchen lighting to create warmth, atmosphere and mood, and even make cooking and cleaning an easier affair.
Most kitchens have an overhead ceiling light and perhaps some smaller ones above the sink and stove. If you want to upgrade your system, there are a few things to consider.
First Things First : How do you use your kitchen?
Kitchens often see the most varied activities of all the rooms in a home, and if it’s combined with a dining and living space, the most action, too.
Depending on how you use each part of the space will determine what type of lighting you need where.
The overall look of your kitchen lighting should complement the kitchen’s style, and by considering how you use each kitchen zone, you’ll begin to see why getting the right kitchen lighting in the right places can really help make this space a success. Knowing how you use your kitchen will help you to keep it simple and choose only the lighting you need.
Where is the best place for your kitchen fittings?
Working out the exact position of your kitchen units and furniture is a must. You will want lights over worktops and not walk ways. You’ll also want light over the dining table where you eat.
Working this way will also help you pinpoint where your light switches will be.
Types of Lighting in Kitchens
Most experts stress 3 main types of lighting:
You can think of these 3 types as layers in an overall lighting scheme. It’s not unusual that these 3 styles of lighting overlap as one light source can often function in several ways. For example, task lighting from above or below your cupboards can also accent your beautiful new countertop. Plinth lighting from underneath an island can help you find that midnight snack but also show off that gorgeous stone flooring. That pendant lighting on a dimmer can make your island a great bright workspace and later become ambient lighting that provides gentle glow for dining.
Ambient lighting creates an overall base layer of illumination. Ambient light can come from recessed downlights mounted in the ceiling. These types of fixtures give an even, diffuse light level for the space. Your ambient layer should light your kitchen evenly and brightly enough so that you can see all areas of your kitchen. This is important as the base layering sets the overall look of your kitchen. However, doing specific tasks such as food preparation requires more targeted options.
Popular types of ambient lighting include:
Flush mount ceiling lights. A flush-mount light is typically a dome-shaped light fixture that’s mounted flush to the ceiling. A semi-flush-mount light is more decorative, and the base of the light extends just below the ceiling. Style-wise, semi-flush-mount lights can mimic pendant lights, except they don’t hang as low.
Recessed lighting. Recessed light fixtures (often known as canister lights, can lights, or downlights) use a design in which the bulb and socket assembly is contained within a metal housing that fits entirely above the plane of the ceiling. Recessed lighting is a great source to illuminate a room with a minimalistic approach that avoids clutter. Recessed lights are great options in situations with low ceilings as they do not protrude from the ceiling.
Disc lights. The disc light is a very thin LED light, typically about an inch tall, that is mounted to the surface of the ceiling. It looks similar to a recessed light, except it is attached to the face of the ceiling instead of inside the ceiling. This makes installation much simpler.
Pendant lights. If your kitchen has an island or breakfast bar, consider hanging pendant lights above it. Pendant lighting not only adds style to the space, but if a dimmer switch is added it can act as task lighting for preparation and mood lighting for intimate dinners.
Track lighting. Track lighting is a method of lighting where light fixtures are attached anywhere on a continuous track device which contains electrical conductors. They are generally cost effective and easy to install.
Plinth lights. Plinth lights are small, low-level lights usually installed into the kick boards of kitchen units. They have a decorative effect as well as adding ambience and an element of safety. They can act as night lights (think midnight snack time) and be hooked up to a sensor so that they automatically turn on when anyone enters the kitchen.
Task lighting is light that illuminates areas where you need extra light. Task lighting for such things meal prep and cooking can help avoid injuries while chopping or preparing food. Prime locations generally include:
- Kitchen islands
- Cooking appliances
The “kitchen work triangle”, the work-path from your refrigerator to your stovetop, to your sink (some kitchens may incorporate a countertop used for food prep as well) should be well lit. This is where task lighting comes in handy. Be sure you have extra downlights on your work surfaces. Under-cabinet and recessed lights work well over work surfaces and flush mounts work well over the sink.
Common types of task lighting include:
Under cabinet lighting and more. These are the ultimate task lights. They add a flare to your kitchen and give the extra light you need for chopping and cleaning. Hockey puck lights, LED strip lights or LED tape lights are popular options. These lights can also light up a pantry, the inside of cabinets and even the inside of drawers. Because these lights are quite small, they can also be used for accent lighting.
Above cabinet lighting. LED strip lighting is a popular option and can be used as extra task lighting, or even to accent something like crown molding.
When you want to draw attention to something, you highlight it. That’s exactly what accent lighting does in your kitchen. What you want to accent is entirely up to you and your creative vision. For example, you can use accent lights to highlight:
- A unique design feature
- Decorative pieces on top of cabinets or inside glass cabinets
- Floating shelves
Accent lighting is available in different types:
Track lighting. Track lighting can be an effective way to add accent lighting to your kitchen. The purpose here is to use smaller LED recessed lights to direct light specifically on areas or items in your kitchen that you would like to bring attention to.
Recessed spot lighting. This is a type of recessed light with a narrower spotlight.
Floor and table lamps. This option won’t work in every kitchen, but some people have used strategically placed table and floor lamps to great effect.
Installing Kitchen Lighting
When upgrading your kitchen lighting or doing any kind of electric work in your home, your best bet is to hire a licensed electrician to ensure that the electrical work being done in your home is being done safely by someone competent, experienced, and insured.
Choosing great lighting for your kitchen will add ease and comfort to your home. Enjoy the process!
When your appliances need repair or maintenance, call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 for prompt, professional service.