More than ever, the kitchen is the heart of the home. No longer just a functional place for cooking, it’s increasingly becoming where we do most of our living. Whether it’s eating, studying, watching TV, or gathering as a family, the kitchen table is becoming the primary site of your activities. With so many different activities now concentrated on one space, getting the kitchen lightening just right is more important than ever. Ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting all has its place- which means hanging one big ceiling light from the center of the room and hoping for the best is just not going to cut it. If you’re a little confused about how to maximize your kitchen lighting to its best advantage, help is on hand with our top ten tricks of the trade.
1. Go for the Layered Look
As we utilize the kitchen for a myriad of different purposes over the course of the day, you may want to consider adding layered lightening. This will allow you to adjust the lighting according to the activity. As Cindy Galvin, a designer at Bardes Interior says to Dering Hall, “Use lighting on multiple levels. Combine under-cabinet light with cans and add a pendant to create a focal point”.
2. Do it with Dimmers
The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to adjust the lightening within the kitchen is with a dimmer stitch. Dimmers let you turn the lightening up or down to match both the task at hand and the ambiance you want to create. Just be aware that not all bulbs respond well to dimmers (CFLs are best avoided if you have a regular dimmer) so check their compatibility before handing over your cash.
3. Add Some Style
While the functionality of your lighting system is obviously highly important, don’t neglect the aesthetic side of things during the process. While the style of your chosen lighting fixture is obviously down to personal preference, it’s worth taking note of your existing furniture, décor and color scheme before finalizing your choice. lighting is very much the focal point of a room, so you’ll want to make sure it compliments your existing fixtures and fittings, rather than detracting from or overwhelming them.
4, Say No to Fluorescent
Considering the kitchen is primarily a functional space (and most definitely one that benefits from lots of light), it can be tempting to go for the biggest, boldest lighting on offer… but be wary. Fluorescent lightening is rarely flattering for any space, and can quickly turn your welcoming, homely kitchen into an industrial zone.
5. Buy Bulbs Wisely
Saying that bulbs can make a break a lighting system may be a little dramatic, but there’s an element of truth buried within it. Bulbs come with a wide array of different strengths, types, and colors. Speaking of color… if the kitchen tends to be your central entertaining hub, and only a limited amount of focused activity tasks places there, you may want to opt for a bulb with a yellow hue. This will give a gentle, warm glow that’s perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere. If you tend to utilize the kitchen for a lot of task-based activities, a white bulb may be the preferable option (of course, if you have layered lighting, you can employ both types depending on the particular area of the room the lighting covers).
6. Avoid Dark Corners
Regardless of how you utilize your kitchen, you’ll need to ensure key areas like those directly over walkways, preparation areas, stovetops, and sinks are adequately lit. By making sure each of these is appropriately illuminated, your kitchen should stay free of any inconvenient dark spots.
7. Create a Focal Point
If you have a particular dresser you’re fond of, or a piece of art you’re proud of, show it off to its best advantage with some clever accent lighting. Whether it’s a wall sconce or a pendant lamp, get the position right and you can make sure the piece becomes the focal point of the kitchen. “Being a high function space, task lighting is essential. However, kitchens have become the heart of the home and ambient, lifestyle lighting is also crucial. I love to utilize unique pendant lighting to highlight focal areas of the kitchen, such as an artwork or a display cabinet,” designer Jennifer Palumbo explains.
8. Don’t Rely on Ceiling Lighting
While kitchens of old may have relied on just the one central ceiling light for all their lighting retirements, it’s actually not the best solution for most kitchens. As Key Interiors notes, “It’s best not to light from the ceiling only as that can lead to shadows on the work surface during cooking. We (like to light) the backsplash from behind, so it gives out a gentle glow, but good quality LED under-cabinets lights work well too. Just be careful that they don’t get reflected on the backsplash material and cause too much glare.”
9. Make The Most of Natural Lighting
Before you start investing too much money on new lighting, take a moment to consider how much natural light your kitchen already gets. If you have large windows and a south-facing room that gets plenty of daylight, look to make the most of it by using a window treatment that doesn’t block out those useful rays. Likewise, spec out the room to see which areas get the least natural light; these should then be the focus of any lighting fixtures you introduce.
10. Position Properly
Regardless of what kind of lighting system you use, it’s crucial to position it correctly to avoid unnecessary glare. Try to avoid positioning lights such that they’ll cast too much light on your eyes or take up too much overhead space. To make it even simpler, look for lighting fixtures that, once fitted, can be angled to point at different directions. This will allow you to cast the focus of the light where you really need it.