Proper kitchen lighting is essential to transform an ordinary kitchen into a place that is the heart of your home. It is the place where meals are prepared, where the family congregates to help with chores and to chat, to work or do homework; it is a place to entertain friends and family and it is very much the social hub of our homes.
The right artificial lighting of the kitchen can have a positive or a negative effect on the general health of its occupants and adversely, when the lighting is either inadequate or excessive. Therefore, it is essential to get the kitchen lighting right in order to make the most of your space.
The growing popularity of open-plan living, kitchen islands and breakfast bars have transformed the way we use our kitchens. Our kitchen spaces are today more multi-functional than ever before and so, we must address the optimal usage of lighting for this important area.
Open-plan kitchens with a dining area or those with a breakfast bar need a combination of adequate lighting for eating, with softer lighting for after-dinner conversation. Ambient night lighting especially in the evenings creates a magical feel for entertaining guests.
Lighting a kitchen should never be an afterthought and should be considered at the onset of the design process. Experts agree that the best time to decide on a new lighting scheme is at the planning stage, as you are signing off your kitchen design drawings.
The wiring needs to be installed at the start of a project so that the lighting is integral to the whole kitchen installation. In fact, the kitchen lighting should really be planned at the same time as the plumbing. Leave it until later, and it could become an afterthought, with limited possibilities.
With levels of brightness dramatically altering mood and feel, it’s important to invest in kitchen lighting ideas which provide good task lighting, as well as creating the ideal ambience. A good kitchen lighting scheme needs at least two elements: bright, shadow-free, task light for safe cooking and preparation. Along with atmospheric illumination to create mood, highlight architectural features and make the room feel less functional.
It is important to recognise that lighting comes in an array of forms, that is, different decorative effects can achieve different functional outcomes. Therefore, before you start planning the lighting design of your space, you may need to consider the type of functional lighting you would like to achieve first.
The best way to decide this is to look at the lighting which is currently available in your kitchen. If your kitchen attracts a lot of natural light due to large windows or numerous windows surrounding the space, then you may just require some task lighting for preparing meals during the evening. A kitchen that has embedded ceiling spotlights for example, may benefit from a decorative lighting element to give the space a homely feel.
There are Four Basic Forms of Kitchen Lighting:
Task Lighting is one of the most practical forms of kitchen lighting as these allow you to illuminate a certain area so that you can see clearly whilst completing tasks, such as chopping and preparing food and reading a recipe or to work. To introduce task lighting to your kitchen, you will require a fixture that aims the light downwards, perhaps positioned under wall cupboards to direct light onto your kitchen worktop.
Ambient Lighting lights the entire kitchen area rather than it focusing on a certain spot and it’s the light that comes from the flick of the main switch. Don’t think of it as light coming from one single source like a pendant, as recessed lights, wall mounts, chandeliers and even floor lights can contribute to ambient lighting.
It is also important to think about your usage of the kitchen, as using your island as a social space might be worth selecting softer or dimmable lighting to create that intimate mood.
Accent Lighting often called directional light draws attention to things and highlights a design feature such as a piece of art, worktop or object you want to show off. Pinpoint lights are an excellent choice for bringing out the sparkle in polished metals or flecked quartz. Whereas, wall lights bring attention to your favourite art piece, whilst a soft light can really bring out the tones in your wood or quartz worktops.
Decorative Lighting makes a statement and gives personality to your kitchen space, and it generally projects a sparkle or lighting pattern that is reflective of the design of your lighting choice.
Selecting the right lighting for your kitchen is not as simple as selecting a shade in the right colour or material. From statement pendants to subtle spotlights, lighting can dramatically impact the mood and overall appearance of your space, therefore it is important to find a style that suits you. The beauty of good kitchen design is all in the detail, and RELISH KITCHENS can help you to create a well-lit space that works for every part of your life.
Types of Kitchen Lighting
Natural lighting: While there are many great ways of incorporating strong light sources into your kitchen, planning your layout in order to maximise natural light is the best option for a bright and airy space. Considering where your light comes into the room may have an impact on the location of key elements of your new interior. Make sure that high-traffic areas are not in darkness by planning your island, social space and appliances around these natural light sources. For rooms that do not have much natural light, opting for neutral-coloured reflective surfaces is a clever way of lifting the space without using harsh artificial lights.
Spotlights: Ceiling spotlights are a subtle but practical choice for your new kitchen, allowing light to be evenly distributed across a room. Spotlights also sit flush in your ceiling, minimising visual fuss while adding a contemporary clean look to a design.
Ceiling spotlights are extremely versatile as they can be positioned in a range of different patterns in your kitchen, helping to add light in the specific areas where it is most needed. Dimmer lights are also available with these fixtures, helping to add ambiance for a warm evening glow that will create a cosy environment in which to relax.
Pendant lights: These are a practical and stylish addition to your kitchen, with their statement design providing ample light. They are available in a range of styles from industrial fixtures to delicate glass designs, to suit your personal taste.
Pendant lights are a popular choice for larger spaces, as they will provide a strong light source to specific work areas that are in frequent use.
Under-Cabinet lighting: Ideal for contemporary designs as these will add sophistication to your dream kitchen. They provide a subtle source of light that will add another dynamic to a fitted kitchen space, giving the room adequate soft lighting.
Display Cabinet lighting: A more aesthetic lighting option that adds a stylish, elevated element to your kitchen design. Display cabinets can be placed around the kitchen space to add interest to dark corners or to aspects of the kitchen island, creating that wow-factor. Combining stylistic lighting with the more practical lighting choices adds enduring appeal to your space. The range of lighting options allow you to light different aspects of your kitchen and create different moods whilst in this space.
Plinth lighting: Integrated plinth lighting into your kitchen design will add depth and dimension to your space in a subtle manner. The small LED lights work well situated along the bottom length of a kitchen island for instance, adding a soft glow, as well as aesthetic appeal to your design.
Making use of different forms of lighting to your kitchen will allow you to create different moods for different occasions. Rather than only relying on one main ceiling light for instance, but instead combining spotlights, with display lighting and plinth lighting, as an example, would give flexibility on lighting particular aspects of the kitchen in order to create different moods whilst enjoying the hub of your home.
Importantly LED lighting offers a wealth of lighting opportunities, Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are frequently used in modern kitchen design. Their low heat emission makes them extremely energy efficient. They are also ideal for areas that require little maintenance or are awkward to replace such as recessed ceiling lights or floor uplighters. LEDs are smaller and easier to conceal than fluorescents, they will not flicker when turned on and take no time at all to warm up to full brightness. Plus there is the fun colour changing RGBW (Red Green Blue White) LED option, which is today growing in popularity.
LEDs are most certainly the future when it comes to lighting the kitchen, when compared to outdated alternatives they are more cost effective, because although the initial outlay may be higher, energy bills are certainly reduced.
Getting the lighting right can literally transform an ordinary kitchen into an extraordinary kitchen. When a space is lit in exactly the right way, when everyone looks and feels relaxed, when the atmosphere is incredibly inviting, when work areas are pinpointed and lit directly and beautifully, it creates the most incredible atmosphere. Upgrading your lighting provides your kitchen with an instant face-lift and RELISH KITCHENS can assist you in achieving the right decision to illuminate the heart of your home.