The scale of activity that takes place in the kitchen makes it an important place where use of effective practical and also decorative lighting is a must. Some things to look at;
Some questions to ask before you start lighting your kitchen
First and foremost question you need to ask while design your kitchen lighting is how much you are ready to spend. After all the light fixtures do cost something – and this are not only the wires and switches but also the type of light fixtures, shades and bulbs. Next question that should come in your mind is whether you have a kitchen lighting plan. A good plan will surely blend lighting into the architectural and decorative details of the room. A plan will help you out it investing wisely into kitchen lighting needs. If you want to go for a gradual lighting design process seeing you don’t have enough budget say for example for a series of pendants over the center island or a glass chandelier at least install enough junction boxes The fixtures can then be purchased at a later date and easily added to the kitchen lighting needs. After determining the budget and a plan, you need to think about the space area of your kitchen. This is important in determining the amount of lighting required and in which areas of the kitchen need specific lighting. One also needs to consider whether the room apart from needing single central light, how many other multiple lighting options may be needed. This is determined by the area or space of the room, all the activities that are place in the kitchen and are important, as well as the placement of all interior objects such as the cooking range, counter top and the kitchen-cum-dining table if present. For example, small kitchens may require only a central ceiling pendant light and some recessed task lighting tucked under a cabinet. More elaborate kitchens will demand a blend of general, task and accent lighting.
Know the types of Kitchen lighting
Lighting a kitchen is a different ball game compare to lighting other rooms in your house since no single light source can provide all the necessary kitchen lighting needs. It is very important to know that good kitchen lighting is not only considered from an aesthetic standpoint, but also from a functional standpoint. This will allow us to make sure that we incorporate different types of lighting and nowadays techno paced LED lights to fulfill the various levels of Kitchen activities. This is commonly referred to as layering of lights which instead of single lighting, demands a blend of three to four varied types of lighting. To meet these demand of layered lighting, there are basically four types of lighting that meet up the mark;
Task Lighting or Chore Lighting: It illuminates the most functional and practical part of your kitchen by providing adequate lighting for kitchen core tasks like chopping vegetables, cooking food and yes, reading recipes. Most of the accidents which occur in kitchen are mostly due to this tasks and proper task lighting design can really prevent them. Task areas should have sufficient light so you can easily see what you’re working on without too much brightness or eye-straining dimness. The main thing to remember here is most of the time task lighting instead of brightening up a task area, shadows it. For this to not take place, task lights is best placed between the actual work place and your head which makes lighting located say below the upper cabinets very helpful. For example, task lighting is placed over the sink, gas cooker and food preparation area, where close work is done regularly. Most of task lighting is achieved by using conventional recessed lights that assure even illumination, surface lights or table tops lights. Remember that each task lights if possible should have its own switch and honestly you will be pleased with the result. Considering the types of bulbs for task lighting then halogen and CFL (in energy efficient bulbs category) being bright and shadow less with large surface area are best to go for. It electrifies the look of granite and marble counter tops and it even let you enjoy your food cooking task, seriously.
Ambient or Glow or Indirect Lighting: This type of lighting lends a pleasant glow to your kitchen, thus giving a warm welcome to the people entering into the kitchen. It plays a major role in softening unwanted shadows, reducing kitchen room contrast and lighting vertical surfaces to give the space a brighter feel. It is generally observed that out of the four types of lighting, ambient is most often overlooked. In fact, the most dramatic and soft look you can achieve in a kitchen is by blending indirect lighting with other types of lighting. It is often created by hiding the light source from view where it bounces off a ceiling or a wall and produces a warm glow that adds enormous amounts of ambiance if done correctly. Best places for ambient lights can be hidden on top of wall cabinets if the ceiling is bit high or they can be installed in layered ceiling areas that surround the entire kitchen space. In case your kitchen has light colored surfaces and lots of windows then you can desire to have plenty of natural ambient light during the day. CFL based lights tubes (light link) are well suited to the job of providing ambient light.
Accent or Prominent lighting: This type of lighting gives a depth and dimension to your kitchen. It helps you to display your most decorative items in your kitchen like a fancy glassware or tableware, stylish luxury cutlery sets, beautiful canvas art prints or may be your nicely prepared food. For example lighting fixtures can be placed inside glass-front cabinets to illuminate glassware, and other collections as well as recessed, adjustable low-voltage fixtures used to spotlight canvas art prints. You can put to use spotlights to illuminate your cooked food which will also help it remain hot for longer period of time.
Decorative or ornamental lighting: This type of lighting is basically used for adding sparkling effects to the kitchen that can be envious to your neighbours. It can be further helpful to look at this type of lighting especially if kitchen is also used as the dining area of the house. Nowadays due to wide range of lights available, you can opt for decorative lights which can be functional also. For example, many functional lighting fixtures come in a number of finishes like wrought iron, rust, nickel which will provides an aesthetic feel to your kitchen. Painted finishes are also popular along with catchy colored glass bypasses plain white. You can also consider a decorative fixture with three or more lights. Like a trio over an island provides good light since it breaks up the kitchen into decorative module areas but you can still see through it. Some other decorative lighting ideas could be like dinner table space is illuminated with a decorative candelabra-style fixture, which provides ambient light during meals.
Finally some tips and common mistakes to avoid
No matter how many lights you install in your kitchen, it is recommended to circuit them separately so the lighting is zoned. This allows you to create ambience by mixing the various lights which is turned on.
If possible even while you shop online, take a picture of your kitchen or at least know your kitchen dimensions. How tall is the ceiling? How much space is there between the cabinets and the ceiling? How much space is there between the cabinets and the countertop? To make sure you cook up the best lighting scheme for your kitchen, use some free advice from light shop professional. The best thing is to do some window shopping before the actual purchase.
You might have found the perfect light fixture, but we can’t forget the equally important light bulbs. To make the most of your lighting, try using bulbs with different beam spreads for different effects. Flood lights are great for creating widespread lighting like a on central ceiling, while spotlights are ideal for shedding light on specific areas like for accent lighting.
No matter how many types of lighting or fixtures you install, use lights of the same color for all the kitchen lighting
If you are spending the money on nice cabinets or a dinner table in the kitchen, for example, you want to make sure they are lit properly. If not, the light actually creates gray shadow areas. If you have deep cabinets in dark corners, you might even want to consider installing lights inside them so you can see what’s hiding in the back
When it comes to kitchen lighting, the most common mistake is trying to light the entire room with one ceiling-mounted fixture. The result ends up visually overpowering everything in the kitchen space. Recessed lighting, if installed in a generic grid, isn’t much better. A lot of people do it incorrectly, and they’ll end up with too much light in some areas and shadows everywhere else
On the other end, another common mistake we all do is over-lighting and result is, the kitchen gets too hot. The goal here is to have moderate, even lighting and more importantly blends of different lightings. For example, you just can’t keep on adding recessed lights for the sake of visual look, instead of mixing various lighting types.