When we think about kitchen design, elements like counters, cabinets, appliances, and layouts may come to mind first. However, another factor is equally – if not more – important in any kitchen plan: lighting. Here’s a closer look at why lighting matters in your kitchen, along with tips for creating a kitchen lighting plan that enhances how you live and feel in the heart of your home.
Why Kitchen Lighting Matters
Kitchens have many purposes in modern life. Not only are they used for cooking and eating, but they also serve as gathering places where families come together to enjoy each other’s company. The best kitchen designs acknowledge the many activities that take place there, along with how all of the various design elements can support them. There’s no better example of this imperative than lighting.
Visibility is critical in any kitchen. Adequate lighting makes it easier to see what you’re doing when you prep and cook food, which improves both safety and quality. As anyone who’s ever fumbled around a dark cupboard or cabinet is well aware, lighting also makes it easier to access and stow items away. A well-lit kitchen lighting plan should also take other activities into account, as many family members use kitchens for paying bills, doing homework, and more.
Of course, interior design is about more than just function. The right lighting can make a room appear more spacious, warmer, or more welcoming. In short, how space looks impacts how it makes you feel, which directly influences how much time you and your loved ones will want to spend there.
Introducing The Basic Types Of Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting design calls on the same layered approach found in all interior lighting plans. Specifically, every kitchen should have three types of lighting:
- Ambient Lighting: which is general overhead illumination that may include hanging lights like chandeliers and lanterns as well as recessed lights, flush-mounts, and semi-flush-mounts.
- Task Lighting: such as pendant lights, table, and floor lamps, and LED tape, and under-cabinet lighting. These fixtures illuminate countertops, sinks, islands, and other work areas where precision and accuracy are priorities.
- Accent Lighting: which highlights decor or architectural features and can include everything from built-in cove lights to kitchen cabinet interior lighting.
Not only does a layered approach make sure your lighting needs are covered across your kitchen’s many uses, but it also helps to eliminate the shadows and glare that are caused by using only one form of lighting.
Of course, it’s essential to keep natural light in mind when designing your kitchen’s lighting plan. If you’re undertaking a renovation, adding a window or pane of glass to a door has the potential to transform your kitchen’s aesthetic and appearance.
Positioning Your Kitchen Lighting
Cultivating the right combination of lighting is only one part of the equation. You also need to position your lights correctly to ensure they look good and accomplish their purpose. Again, this has to do with the function of your space and types of lighting fixtures you have.
Ambient light is intended to be directed evenly across the floor. If you have one fixture, such as a chandelier or lantern, it should be installed at the ceiling’s center or directly above the kitchen island. If you have chosen recessed lighting, there should be a distance between them equal to half the ceiling height. In other words, if your kitchen has a 12-foot ceiling, lights should be spaced six feet apart.
While ambient lighting is general, task lighting is more specific. As such, these fixtures placed directly above work surfaces, such as sinks, kitchen tables, free-standing chopping stations, and other activity hubs. However, you should avoid installing task lights above appliances like fridges and ranges, which have their built-in lighting.
Lastly are accent lights. When placed under, above, or inside kitchen cabinets, drawers, and other locations, they showcase your home’s architectural features in a uniquely compelling way.
Letting Your Style Shine
As with all interior lighting, kitchen lighting is anything but one-size-fits-all. Instead, today’s light fixtures are available in a variety of design styles, colors, and finishes. The good news? There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing light fixtures for your home. However, to create the most livable space possible, you must consider your personal design preferences for how you want your home to look and feel. Whether you prefer a sleek and chic or casual country, recognizing your wants and needs can help ensure a harmonious space.
One last thing to keep in mind? When creating a lighting plan for their kitchen, many people underbudget. This is an unfortunate mistake, as high-quality lighting fixtures are not only an investment in your kitchen design project but also in how you’ll live in your home for years to come.
Whether you’re working on a complete renovation or want to make some simple updates to enhance your kitchen, the right lighting scheme can make a world of difference. With quality, functional fixtures, and proper spacing, you can turn an average kitchen into the space of your dreams.