Get Ready to Fall in Love with These Kitchen Lighting Solutions
After years of suffering through a badly-lit kitchen with only one switch and no atmosphere, you’ve had enough. You’ve seen photos of gorgeous kitchens with phenomenal lighting, and you want yours to be just as good.
Now that you’re working with a designer you have the chance to get your kitchen lighting right. With the right layout, your problems will be solved with a flick of a switch (once they’re installed, of course!)
First: Plan Out Your Kitchen Activities
Cooking requires a wide range of skills, tools, and actions. One light can’t provide all the illumination you need. And if you use your kitchen for dining and entertaining as well, it’s downright impossible. So before we get started on what kind of lighting you need, first really think about what’s going to be going on in that space. That will dictate not only what kind of lights you need, but how many lights, and where they should be installed.
For many families, the kitchen isn’t just about meals. For example, if your kids hang out with you and do homework at your island, the lighting will need to be good enough to see well. If you have friends over for coffee or drinks, you may need an addition station that will require appropriate lighting as well. Be sure to mention anything like this to your designer at the start of your project.
What Kind of Kitchen Lighting Do I Need?
Once you understand what activities are happening in the kitchen and plan the actual layout, we can discuss the lighting you’re going to need. There are several types of functions of lighting in a kitchen.
Ambient lighting creates an overall base layer of illumination. This comes from ceiling lights, supplemented by natural light through windows during the day. This is essential for every kitchen.
Think of it like layering up in the winter. Before you put on your winter coat, hat and gloves, you need to put on your regular everyday clothes.
Your ambient light needs to be bright enough to see all aspects of your kitchen, even into cabinets. We can achieve this with a mixture of hanging fixtures and recessed (or pot) lighting.
This sounds pretty comprehensive but we can’t stop there. Ambient lighting is great for getting an even light all over (with the right placement and installation) but:
- It won’t add any depth to your kitchen: it’ll look one-dimensional and boring.
- It won’t be strong enough to light the variety of activities you do in your kitchen.
This is why you need to start adding those other layers.
Task lighting is light that illuminates areas where you really need to see well to do things. It’s essential for things like meal prep and cooking, and can help avoid injuries while chopping.
We install task lighting based on where you’ll be doing most of your work. Good locations generally include:
- Countertops – lights can be installed under cabinets to illuminate this particular workspace.
- Kitchen islands.
- Cooking appliances, like the stove.
- Pantries, where you need to be able to see to find things quickly.
Depending on your kitchen design and preferences, there are a variety of ways to incorporate task lighting, including recessed lights, track lighting, and LED under-cabinet strips.
With properly installed task lighting, you won’t strain your eyes, you’ll have focused, helpful lighting, and you’ll be able to incorporate it into your design for a cohesive, stylish new kitchen.
Tip: Task lighting will be angled toward your work surfaces. If you’re opting for a glossy finish, this can be very reflective, bouncing the light back into your eyes. Make sure when you discuss cabinet and counter finishes with your designer, you talk about your task lighting as well.
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 designer. For example, you can use accent lights to highlight:
- A unique design feature.
- Decorative pieces on top of cabinets.
- Floating shelves.
- Dark corners where the ambient light isn’t quite enough.
Accent lighting is a great way to add some depth and drama to your space.
Remember: Each lighting fixture doesn’t have to serve just one purpose. They can multitask! For example, a hanging light over an island can be both task lighting (for chopping) and an accent light (check out how beautiful my new kitchen island is!)
Part of the fun of a renovation is getting to decorate – that includes decorating with lighting fixtures. While decorative lights don’t necessarily provide a lot of illumination, they can really make a statement.
Types of fixtures you can use to make a statement include:
- Pendant lights – these come in so many designs, patterns and finishes that it’s almost a full-time job trying to decide! But it’s definitely one of the most fun parts of picking kitchen lighting.
- Chandeliers – if you’re looking for a little extra grandeur, chandeliers have really come into their own with more and more designs and styles available to homeowners.
- Wall lights – sconces and wall lights are a fun way to make a statement and add some interest to what may otherwise be a blank space.
The important thing about choosing decorative lighting is to make sure it’s exactly what you want – this is a great chance to have some more fun with your design, so let your personality shine through!
Create the Right Atmosphere for the Right Occasion
Now that we’ve layered up, we need to make sure that you can create the atmosphere you want, when you want it. For example, even the softest ambient lighting can be a little harsh for a romantic dinner. Dimmer switches are a great way to set all kinds of moods, and give you more control.
Tip: Many homes have a more open concept floor plan, which means your kitchen lighting fixtures could have an impact on your dining or living area. Make sure to talk to your designer about any concerns you have about flow, and how to incorporate your new design elements with the rest of your space.
Let Our Designers Help You Pick the Perfect Kitchen Lighting Solutions
Your kitchen renovation starts when you talk to us. We’ll make sure you get the right kitchen lighting solutions that suit your needs, your wants, and your style. Book a free, no obligation consultation with us today, and we’ll start shedding some light on the process.