When planning your new kitchen, it’s always worth bearing in mind exactly how the lighting will affect your kitchen design. A well-planned kitchen lighting scheme can completely transform the look and feel of the space in an instant.
Making the most of natural light, combined with clever use of a mixture of light fixtures and fittings makes the kitchen a space that can be enjoyed at any time of day. From drinking in a coffee at sunrise while enjoying the morning light, to relaxing over a glass of wine in a lowly lit setting at night, and everything in between.
Additionally, clever lighting can be used to both highlight features of your kitchen design, and also to hide little niggles, or make a small space look larger.
We discuss exactly how lighting can be used to enhance your kitchen design, making it a place that is truly the heart of the home.
Planning Kitchen Lighting
Wherever possible, the locations of kitchen lights should be thought through at the design stage. This will enable you to focus on how your lighting will assist in the practical sense, for example ensuring that you have brighter lights in areas which you will be cooking and preparing food in.
Defining “zones” within your kitchen allows for choosing lighting which compliments the activities carried out.
Consider the location of your kitchen furniture and what types of lighting may be suitable.
Types Of Kitchen Lighting
There are several types of kitchen lighting, task, accent and ambient lighting can be layered together to create a kitchen space which offers both practicality, but can be transformed into a more relaxing area at the flick of a switch.
Task lighting refers to the brightest lights, which are made the perform a simple function – letting you see clearly. Obvious locations for task lighting are areas where you will be cooking or preparing food, but also anywhere where you may need a brighter light – for example, if your children use your dining area for homework.
Task lighting may include ceiling lights located above work areas or spotlights strategically placed under kitchen units to illuminate places such as your hob, kitchen worktops, and sink area.
Accent lighting is created to draw attention to objects or areas that you want to stand out and can be used to create a dramatic effect in the kitchen, for example highlighting a kitchen island, or backlights on shelving units.
Getting accent lighting right can create an atmospheric feel to your kitchen, and compliments your task lighting, allowing you switch off or dim bright lights when the cooking is over, and sit back and relax in a lower lit space.
Ambient lighting is the general background light. How you wish to use ambient lighting may depend on the amount of natural light that comes into your kitchen. Basement level kitchens may require additional background lighting to allow for a natural feel to the space.
This light can be provided by wall lights or table lights, or via your main task lighting if on a dimmer switch.
Lighting control and switches
When dividing your kitchen lighting up into task, ambient and accent lighting, it’s useful if they are controlled on separate circuits, allowing you to change the mood and feel of your kitchen. When planning kitchen lights, think through what lights you are likely to want on at the same time and group accordingly.
The positioning of your light switches should be practical – if you have more than one entrance to your kitchen, for example, doors to outside space, consider whether you may wish to have more than one switch for your ceiling lighting.
Using dimmer switches assists in making one light work for several types of lighting. For example, if you have pendants over a dining table – they can be used on a bright setting for getting work done but can be dimmed for those evenings where you wish to relax at the table over a romantic dinner.
Switches themselves should complement your kitchen design, so think about what type of kitchen handle, brassware and even appliances you may be using, and choose switches (and sockets) that match them.
Letting natural light into your kitchen creates a feeling of space and tranquillity. Wherever possible allow natural light to flood your kitchen by way of patio doors, windows and skylights. Avoid heavy fabric window dressings which can block light from entering the kitchen.
Where natural light is lacking due to the location or layout of your kitchen, choose lighter coloured kitchen units, or high gloss kitchen cabinets, to reflect light around the room.
Whatever the size and shape of your kitchen, clever lighting design can always elevate your kitchen from “good” to “great”, so always consider lighting when planning for a new kitchen.