Proper lighting has a direct effect on the functionality of your kitchen. With well-placed lighting sources, you transform your kitchen into a place where you can work, eat with your family or carry out any other activity with pleasure and comfort. If there is not enough light in your kitchen (if, for example, you have only one central light fixture), the atmosphere will be cold and unpleasant. In addition, the kitchen loses part of its functionality and some work places, such as countertops, sink, range, kitchen island… can fall into the shade. You must install additional local lighting to cover these locations.
Types of kitchen lighting
You can use three types of artificial light in your kitchen. The difference between them is expressed in the function that each of them performs…
- general (ambient) light.
- task light.
- accent light.
The most important for the functionality of your kitchen are the general and task lighting, but for perfect illumination, try to combine the three types of lightusing the advantages of each.
General kitchen lighting
This is the basic light in the kitchen; the one that turns on when you enter the room. The purpose of this type of kitchen lighting is to achieve a uniform spread of light in your room; that is, without dark or highly illuminated areas. The light must be sufficient to be able to move safely in the kitchen, to arrange the tools in the cabinets or drawers, to clean… activities for which you do not need such precise lighting.
A good variant is to use fluorescent tubes, placing them on the ceiling and ensuring sufficient space between them. They are economical, do not radiate much heat and provide uniform and well diffused light. You can also use other types of lamp…
- pendant lights hanging from the ceiling.
- Chandelier for greater luxury.
- recessed or track lights…
The number of lamps you will use depends on the size of your kitchen. If it is large and/or has a high ceiling, you will need a larger volume of light to illuminate the entire area properly.
Task kitchen lighting
This is a precise light that makes it easier to perform typical kitchen tasks, such as food preparation, cooking, washing and eating. Potential places for this type of light are countertops, sink, kitchen island and dining areas. As far as the range is concerned, it is usually lit from above, with light from the hood.
You can light the countertops or the sink with lamps positioned under the upper cabinets. Fluorescent tubes are a good choice for this, due to their extensive light surface.
You can also add some extra lamps to the light for these places; for example, recessed or track lights. You put them on the ceiling, just in front of the upper cabinets.
Regarding the island, peninsula, table or bar, one or more pendant lights will do a good job. Besides adding a certain elegance, they also function as accent lights, turning these areas into pleasant and attention-grabbing focal points.
If you have some kind of shelving on your kitchen island, you can use the underside of the shelf to serve as a base for task lighting, for example, track lights, in order to illuminate the your island better.
Accent kitchen lighting
This is extra light, which casts a soft and tender light in the room; usually from lower voltage lamps, for example, 12 volt halogen lights. Such a light makes your kitchen more interesting and inviting.
Focus on special places of the room…
- works of art.
- small areas.
- also on the lamps themselves…
You can create the illusion of space in the kitchen by positioning, if you have space (at least 12 inches (30 cm) of empty space to the ceiling), lamps above the upper cabinets, direct them to the back wall and the ceiling.
If you have upper cabinets with glass doors, you can draw attention to their contents by placing small lamps inside them either at the top or bottom. This creates a wonderful visual effect. Another way to achieve this is by drilling holes in the bottom of these cabinets and allowing the light from the work light below to filter.
You can use different types of lamps for accent lighting…
- track lights.
- pendant lights.
- same as the ones under the cabinets…
The lamp types stated are only a small portion of a large variety that you can use. In addition to the type of lamp, you will need to consider the accent. You should be careful not to go too far with the accent; otherwise it will lose the effect.
What else do you need for good kitchen lighting?
1. Light switches: it is good that your lighting area; that is, to be able to control it independently. For example, the lamp above the sink should have its own switch. The same consideration applies to lamps on the island, table or countertops.
2. Light adjustment: it is good to use such systems wherever you can. You can use them to modify the intensity of the light according to your needs at a particular moment; for example, when you have dinner, to reduce the light on the table and thus make the atmosphere more comfortable. In addition, by adjusting the light you save energy and prolong the life of the bulbs.
3. Reflection of light: light tones and shiny surfaces (on walls and furniture) make a room lighter, because they reflect a lot of light. In contrast, dark colors and matte surfaces absorb light. Therefore, if your kitchen is light and/or shiny you will need less light (for example, soft light from lower voltage lamps or lamps with bulbs, covered with shades), than if it is darker and/or has dull surfaces.
4. Installation: to be sure of the quality of your kitchen lighting installation, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional.