What Not to Do with Kitchen Lighting
Lighting your home can make a big difference between whether a certain room feels inviting or unsettling. Lighting can be both practical and mood changing. In order to pull of the right look and feel with lighting, you need to plan, and research ahead of time. Don’t treat it lighting as something that isn’t very important, or you could end up regretting your lighting decisions.
You’ll use the kitchen more than many other rooms in or house, and if the lighting isn’t perfect, it can really throw things off. The lighting should be so well done that you don’t even notice it. It should not be intrusive, yet it should be practical and suitable. You want enough light to be able to prepare food easily without having a lot of shadows in the kitchen.
The Right Design
Kitchens serve as more than just a food prep area. You may supervise homework there, catch up on your family’s life and even use it when entertaining guests. You may want different lighting effects for each of those times, and you can do that by installing light dimming options. When your friends come over and you use the kitchen for entertaining, you probably want bright lights that make everything very easy to see. That’s going to be different from when you want romantic mood lighting for a dinner for two. Planning out the right lighting for your kitchen can be difficult, but it will ultimately be rewarding when you make those provisions for different moods and atmospheres.
You should also consider the light’s colour as you pick the perfect design. Most people will go with white or yellow. White lighting helps to simulate daytime effects and keep your body in the daytime rhythm. The bright and clear lighting also illuminates what you are doing in the kitchen and makes it easier to work. Yellow light is better for a night-time body rhythm and helps to make people calm and relaxed, and it is better for mood lighting.
Open Plan Considerations
A lot of kitchens are part of what is known as an open plan setup. This means that the kitchen segues into other parts of the house due to a lack of walls. You have to be careful about how the lighting of the kitchen is incorporated into the rest of the house, and you will want it to match the connecting zones. If all you have is task lightening the kitchen on an open floor plan, then that can be jarring and irritating for your senses. If you don’t have some sort of dimming option, then you probably need to take off the kitchen lights completely when you are not using the kitchen. Ambient lighting can help set a mood and provide a stylish look, and it is worth considering for this type of kitchen design.
One way to get everything you want out of your kitchen lighting is to use multiple light sources. This lets you have the effect you want for every occasion. Using a layered approach will be slightly more expensive, but it allows for greater control over your environment. There are five types of lighting you can pick from- ambient, decorative, task, accent and natural.
Kitchen Lighting Types
With ambient light, you are attempting to create an even, diffused level of light throughout the room. This creates a certain mood, and it’s where you want to start with a lighting scheme. You can create this kind of light with only downlights if you wish. Because the kitchen is considered the home’s heart, you may want to go with a few different light sources to create the perfect ambiance.
Ambient light can be incorporated into your kitchen by using downlights. Just look at the angle they will create before you settle on where they should go. Make sure that there are no gaps in the light cones they create, and your electrician or your designer can help you figure that out. Pendants can be used to bolster downlights, and they can be fixed with dimmers that help you to create mood lighting. You might be surprised at how inexpensive dimmers are.
What to Avoid:
There are some common mistakes with ambient lighting that you should be aware of. If you go with a lighting fixture in the middle of the kitchen, you can save money and get a lot of light, but you will end up with shadows in the kitchen no matter where you are working in that room.
If you use too many downlights, then you can end up with a harsh work environment. However, using too few of them can create gaps in the light that makes for unpleasant working conditions as well. Talk to your designer or your electrician to make sure that you have the right number of downlights positioned from each other with the right spacing.
Task lighting focuses on certain work areas in the kitchen and helps you have ample lighting for anything you need to do there. This lighting allows you to prepare food safely. If there isn’t enough task lighting, then you can have more accidents in the kitchen. If the lighting is too bright, though, then it may be uncomfortable for your eyes.
You can incorporate it into your kitchen by thinking about what your major work areas are going to be. Consider where you are going to work and how much lighting you will need for each area.
Downlights can provide some great task lighting, but they can also cast shadows where you don’t want them. You can use LED strip lighting to give you the light you need in places where you have cabinets or other obstructions. Pendant lights hung from an island can give you excellent task lighting. The pantry needs some task lighting as well if you are going to find anything in there in the night. You will be able to find things much faster if you install some task lighting there, and all you usually need is a single LED strip. It doesn’t cost much to install the necessary task lighting and have it automated for your convenience.
What to Avoid:
Try to avoid overlooking task lighting. Your new, bright kitchen can appear kind of dull without it.
If you want to show off certain details in your kitchen, such as artwork or backing boards, then you can use accent lighting. The right kind of accent lighting can give your kitchen an architectural feel, and you should discuss with your designer what kind of aesthetic you want to go with for the accent lighting. Look at your options and consider the effect each of them will have on the finished product.
This kind of lighting can be incorporated by adding strip lights to your overhead cabinets. This lights the wall and ceiling and gives a greater sense of space to the room. By installing sconces along the kitchen wall, you can create drama through the use of shadows. For any artwork you have on display, gimbal downlights and track lighting work well.
You can also incorporate accent lighting in the cabinets. This is often overlooked, but it is very inexpensive and has a lot of impact. Consider adding this in if you have beautiful cabinet items to display.
What to Avoid:
Accent lighting may feel unnecessary, but it can give your kitchen that wow factor that makes it really stand out.
This kind of lighting helps to create a more artistic look to the room through the use of sconces, chandeliers and pendants. You can incorporate this into your kitchen by considering what parts of the kitchen would benefit from a decorative light source. Pendants work great as a bit of decoration, and you can hang them at such a height that they make it easier to prepare food. You should consider different heights for the pendants before you settle on one height and have someone else hold the pendant while you look at it to see how it fits in with the rest of the kitchen.
What to Avoid:
It’s very easy to install decorative lighting that just does not fit with the rest of the room. Even if a pendant light is beautiful, that doesn’t mean it is well suited for your kitchen. Be sure you try it out in your home before you install it to ensure it is a good fit. Think about the style of the other rooms and how the decorative lighting will affect them especially if you have an open floor plan kitchen.
Most kitchens have natural lighting, which brings light from outside into the kitchen. This is usually accomplished with windows or skylights. However, natural light can create too much heat inside the kitchen. That’s already one of the hotter rooms of the house when someone is cooking, and you want to be careful about how much heat your window or skylight is allowing in. You can install blinds to block out some of the sunlight when you wish. Just keep in mind that some internal blinds are fire hazards because of their proximity to the cooktop. Consider using an exterior blind if your window is close to the cooking area.
Natural lighting can cause damage to some of the components and materials in your kitchen. If your microwave of some other white appliance is placed in natural sunlight, then it can begin to yellow and lose its sheen. The coating may begin to peel or discolour as well. Your designer can tell you want kind of materials you need to keep out of the path of sunlight and help you find the right materials for your kitchen so that you can have the lighting you want.
You can incorporate natural lighting by adding windows to the room or skylights. Windows are typically at eye level. There are other less common ways to do this as well, such as using window splashbacks and double ceiling height lanterns.
Skylights need to be considered carefully as well, since they can let in too much heat, and you need a way to mitigate the heat. A diffusing cover can be better than a clear cover, in many cases, and keep in mind that installing a skylight after your kitchen is already in place can be messy work.
What to Avoid:
You want to be careful about having natural lighting sources that bring in so much light that they damage your kitchen materials. Anything that can be easily sun damaged is not going to last long with lots of natural light pouring in. Consider what materials you are using and where the sunlight will be directed.
Your window splashback may not provide enough light for the work area, and you might want to add in some lighting under your cabinets to compensate for when it is dark outside.
No matter what style your kitchen has, the correct lighting is essential to setting a mood and creating a pleasant place to spend your time. Look at what your options are and consider how they will fit into your kitchen and the design aesthetic you want to create.