Every kitchen is used for meal preparation and storage of cooking utensils, appliances, and food items, but there are usually more things that the room is used for. For some, the kitchen can turn into a hub for other activities including visiting over a cup of coffee or completing a craft project on the island, especially when a source of running water is needed. Kitchens are more of a multipurpose space, so it’s important to choose the right kind of lighting to accommodate the lifestyle of the owners. Here are a few tips that can help you to choose the best kitchen lighting for every activity that happens in the room, and a few ideas about the different kinds available.
Overhead pendant lighting
Overhead pendant lighting offers a variety of design and style choices. This type of lighting can be purchased in any length and size. You can customize the amount of light that shines over specific portions of the island by the placement of the pendant. They are suspended from the ceiling and make perfect island lighting for kitchens with vaulted or unusually high ceilings.
How much brightness is the right amount?
Lighting from bulbs is measured in lumens. The right amount depends on what you plan to use the area for. If you’re working on detailed baking projects or any other kind of detailed project for that matter, you’ll want to have areas that are more brightly lit. Plan on 30 lumens per square foot of space. The average kitchen island measures 3 x 6 feet. This is a total of 18 square feet, and the area would require 540 lumens of lighting. Not all islands are this size, so make sure to measure yours first. To arrive at the square footage simply times the width of the island by the length. This will give you the square footage measurement and plan on multiplying that figure by 30.
How do you determine the number of lights to use?
There are several ways to do this. You can either place more light fixtures in with lower lumen bulbs, or you can use fewer brighter lights, just so there is an even distribution of light spread over the area of the island. It’s best to center the light sources and space them evenly.
Types of Pendant lights
There are four main types of pendant lights, although styles and designs are in the thousands. Before choosing, it’s good to review your options and their purposes.
- Task lights – Task lights are pendants that illuminate certain areas for task completion. The fixture aims the light directly downward and features an open or translucent bottom. This can create a spotlight effect, but the use of a dimmer switch can allow you to modify the brightness.
- Ambient lights – Ambient pendant lights provide a gentle light that illuminates the entire area or room. It doesn’t have the spotlight effect of the task light. This type of pendant light is used to brighten the entire room, but it is wise to use several of these lights evenly spread over an area for uniform lighting. Ambient lighting tends to make a room look bigger.
- Accent lights – Accent lighting is used to highlight a certain area such as a spot where a piece of art is displayed, an ornate shelf or a unique portion of the architecture. This type of lighting is not usually the best choice for kitchen island lighting, but it might be useful if you have a particularly unique countertop.
- Decorative lighting- Decorative pendant lighting is used to create a focal point through either the fixture or through the lighting or shadow that it produces. A softly glowing pendant can add an impressive feature to any room, and these lights are used to cast interesting ceiling shadows, particularly when high ceilings exist in a room.
- Recessed lighting – Recessed lighting is another type of kitchen lighting option. This type features lighting fixtures mounted just inside of the ceiling so there is not a part of the fixture hanging down. The advantage over pendant lighting is that the light shines down directly without taking up any of the area space and the difference is mostly in the visual advantage. This lighting choice can make the area feel larger and more wide open.
Tip for versatile lighting:
To change the mood of the room, it’s a good idea to attach a dimmer switch to recessed lighting so you can change the intensity and brightness. Plan on spacing the lighting evenly so the entire kitchen island is brightly illuminated with the maximum amount of lighting you’ll need for detailed talks, and you can simply diminish the brightness with the dimmer switch when you don’t need the room to be as bright.
In most cases, the most appropriate choice for kitchen island lighting is with a brighter type that allows for an even distribution of bright light over the work area. This is helpful for completing detailed oriented tasks because of the even brightness and lack of shadowy areas. Using a dimmer switch to temper the brightness can turn your kitchen island lighting into a versatile tool for creating the best environment at your kitchen island to suit the activity. If you’re like most people, the kitchen island can become a hub of activities, both culinary and otherwise and there are times when you’re going to appreciate an evenly distributed bright light. If you work on highly detailed tasks, consider task lighting. The best type of kitchen lighting really depends on your individual lifestyle and the kinds of activities that take place in your kitchen. If you only use the area on a limited basis then you can probably get away with gentler lighting, but it’s always good to be prepared.