Bright Ideas 20 Things You Need To Know About Kitchen Lighting

September 10, 2018 9:30 am by sandiego
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Bright Ideas 20 Things You Need To Know About Kitchen Lighting

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Since those childhood years in the Home Depot lighting department, we’ve realized that there are many more options out there. Our designers gave some of their favorite sources for beautiful pieces. On the higher end, we have custom pieces and artistic creations from companies like Fontana Arte, Stilnova, Veca, Rich Brilliant Willing, Apparatus Studio, and David Weeks Studio. A slightly more affordable and contemporary company is the Italian FLOS, which just launched a collection with the famous Michael Anastassiades.

Add drama and interest to your scheme with a modern chandelier – they’re not just for living rooms or bedrooms. Iron round 6-light chandelier, €595.00, Hedgeroe Home.

If a kitchen remodel isn’t in the cards, but still want to improve your lighting? You can, with this easy DIY installation. Watch and see two easy ways to add undercabinet lighting without any major rewiring.

The number of fixtures and placement of fixtures greatly depends on your kitchen’s size, layout, and look. For example, taller ceilings and darker finishes call for more light. 

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Pendant lights come in a variety of styles, shapes, sizes and colors. They work well to fill the visual void above islands and peninsulas, while providing necessary illumination for the work area. In this cottage kitchen, vintage-style lanterns are suspended above the island, adding another layer of chic to the room.

The first step in finding the right lighting is determining the function of the room. As our designer Justin DiPiero says, “You definitely want to consider where in the space the light fixture is going. Will it be above a table or surface, or over an open space? Is it meant to highlight a particular architectural or artistic feature? Or perhaps you need task lighting for a work surface?” The way you use a room is the biggest determinant of the lighting, so before you make a purchase, picture your day in a room and where you need brightness.

Bedroom: Bedrooms follow the same school of thought as living rooms, a layered space using a mixture of ambient and task lighting. Justin weighs in, saying, “You want to create a warm and peaceful atmosphere in the bedroom, so you can relax and unwind. And remember, bright or harsh light can disrupt your sleep.”

Use accent lighting to bring a wall of cabinetry to life. Linkable low-voltage puck lights, strip lights, or recessed mini cans can be installed inside glass-front cabinets to emphasize collectibles. Accent lighting typically uses halogen, xenon, or LED bulbs because they are small enough to fit into diminutive fixtures yet produce bright light. Halogen is falling out of favor because of the high cost, relatively short life, and high heat output. Xenon bulbs are similar to halogen without the drawbacks. To save on energy, choose compact fluorescent lightbulbs for fixtures that won’t be turned on and off frequently. Warm white CFLs are affordable and resemble incandescent bulbs in the color of light they emit, yet use less energy and produce less heat. If you’re remodeling or building new, check local building codes for guidelines on kitchen lighting.

Dining Room: As perhaps the most formal of areas in the home, the dining room is ideal for ambient, elegant lighting. Chandeliers are so common in dining spaces because they simultaneously bring a sculptural statement to the room while casting a warm glow on the diners. If you opt for track lighting instead, make sure that none of the lighting is pointing directly at one guest. (In fact, shining lights in peoples’ faces is a general thing to avoid.) Our designers all agree that dimmers are a great idea in the dining room, that way it can transform from a party scene one night to a romantic evening the next.

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“” Lighting is broken down into three categories: ambient, task, and accent.

Luckily, Jennifer points out that technologies are advancing to accommodate our love of incandescent lighting. “Halogen incandescents aren’t bad. They meet efficiency standards and closely mimic the look of regular incandescent bulbs. Plus, they are also dimmable and come in a bunch of wattages.” If you want to get really funky, go for the new-age Plumen bulb. It’ll definitely make a statement. Keep an eye out for those options if that is of importance to you.

For task lighting under open shelving, fluorescent undercabinet lighting sheds even light across the countertop, allowing you to see clearly. Look for a low-profile design less than 1 inch deep, so the fixture won’t be noticeable from standing height. The fixture should be almost as long as the shelf and mounted close to the front edge to provide the most even lighting on the work surface. The color of the light is particularly important over the counter — cool white bulbs will make food look unappealing and will also affect the way you see the colors of your cabinetry and countertops. Visit a lighting store to see how your skin, your dinnerware, and a piece of fruit look under the different colors of light and select the one that seems most natural and pleasing.

Make over your kitchen lighting with easy under cabinet lighting. See how to add two different types of undercabinet lighting.

Pendant lights can be hung anywhere in an open plan kitchen. Make light of washing the dishes by hanging pendants above the sink. Joel pendant 7194, in matte black, €104.90, Hicken Lighting. 

A well-lit work area is a safety essential in a kitchen. Lighting can also be used to create ambience. The key to good kitchen lighting is to rely on a cast of lighting sources and to layer your lights, mixing ambient (overall), task, and accent or decorative lighting with natural light.

“” The way you use a room is the biggest determinant of the lighting.

Now that we have a general guideline for each room, what are the absolute things to avoid when it comes to lighting? Our designers all responded without hesitation: FLUORESCENT LIGHTING. Specifically, Justin says, “Not only do fluorescents produce an unflattering and cold color light, but they’re really not that environmentally friendly. Though your electric bill may be slightly lower with the use of them, they are much more harmful to the environment to produce. They also contain mercury and emit radiation, which is why so many of them can cause headaches and are an uninspiring choice for office lighting.” If you want to cut down on environmental impact, opt for LED instead.

Designers have taken kitchen lighting to a whole new level with a range of quirky fixtures. This slim LED batten light not only provides glare-free light for working in the kitchen, but is also equipped with a hook strip for hanging kitchen utensils. LED batten light ‘swing kitchen’ with hook strip by Paulmann, €82.90,

The layout of your lighting is important. Learn helpful tips and tricks here.

For more bright ideas, hire a Homepolish designer. They have all these lighting facts down, and they’ll be ready to make your space… dare we say it, even more magical than Disneyland.

From practical spotlights to statement chandeliers, the right kitchen lighting is key when it comes to designing a kitchen. Be inspired by these bright ideas…

Get inspired by these kitchen lighting ideas and learn how to develop an appropriate lighting plan for your kitchen.

Kitchen: Our designer Ariel Okin recently wrote about designing a chef’s kitchen, and lighting was an essential component. As she says, “You need good light to chop, and cut, and stir… how are you supposed to make a great meal when you can’t see?” For this reason, task lighting is a must in the kitchen. While you should have an overhead pendant to illuminate the whole room, hidden lighting strips under the cabinets will keep your counters bright while staying out of sight.

A row of pendant lights over an island is a great way of providing bright, focused task lighting. Make sure you position them in the middle of the island to create even illumination. Diamond black pendant lighting in painted steel from €63, Fantasy Lights. 

If you’re tired of the recessed can lights in your kitchen and want to add stylish pendants, use recessed can converters. The switch is as simple as screwing in a light bulb. A socket adapter with a cord spindle plugs into the socket, and a cover plate masks the recessed-can opening.

A cluster of pendants hung at various heights over a dining table is perfect for creating a focal point and a bit of drama. Brass bell pendant lights by Ligne Roset from €380 per pendant, Arena Kitchens.

Light up your counters with undercabinet lighting. Learn more here!

This essential light should be included over the cooking surface, at the sink, over the counters, and over any table or other work surface. These fixtures should be about 30 inches above an island, peninsula, or table, but might be higher if you are taller or are placing the light over a raised surface or an area such as a cooktop.

Do you remember walking through Home Depot as a kid? Scratch that. More like being dragged there by your parents, only to have to wait and twiddle your thumbs as they considered which toilet was ideal. It wasn’t exactly the most riveting place for a rambunctious child. Except for one area: the lighting department. Wandering around the store, you’d happen upon this glowing aisle off in the distance, and as you approached it felt almost like a Disneyland attraction, smaller seasonal lights twinkling and larger chandelier pieces presiding from the higher rafters. It was simply magical. And then all of a sudden, you’d hear your name being called over the loudspeaker because your parents couldn’t find you.

When choosing any overhead lights consider the size of the room and its height. Is one overhead light enough or will you need several? Do you want the light to coordinate with other fixtures? How much illumination is required? Can the light be controlled/dimmed? DHKAE0123 Kaelan pendant €79.95, National Lighting. 

Everyone needs lighting, from the college freshman who buys the $20 floor lamps from Bed, Bath, & Beyond to the billionaire who purchased that Givenchy Royal Hanover German silver chandelier at Christie’s for a cool nine million dollars. But what about the rest of us in between? How do we go about deciding what type of lighting is the best fit for our space?

You might also like: Top it off: our ultimate guide to kitchen worktops

Bathroom: How do you light a bathroom well without making it look sterile and clinical? Focus on the vanity and creating the best lighting for your face. A softer glow from sconces (on dimmers again!) is probably the best choice. Add in some candles, too. And then draw a bubble bath for us to hop in.

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Another mistake in lighting, which we touched on earlier, is relying on one light source per room. Mixing a variety of ambient, task, and accent lighting will give your room more visual interest instead of having one giant light fixture.

Ask Homepolish Bright Ideas for Choosing the Right Lighting 07/20/2016 | written by  Matt Powell

To see deep into the corner of cabinets, install a micro switch or motion sensor that activates the puck or LED light when the door is opened and turns it off when the door is closed. Costing $20-25 per switch, this allows you to maximize the space in your cabinets and find what you’ve stored.

In any space, lighting is one of the essential components to making it functional. Our designers weigh in with some bright ideas on how to properly illuminate each space in the home.

Recessed undercabinet lighting and a hidden spotlight lend drama to dishwashing duties when the over-the-sink view is beautiful tile. Create subtle mood lighting in architectural coves or areas with accent tilework with programmable LEDs. Like theatrical set lighting, the color and intensity can be adjusted to create a mood.

The darker the colors in your kitchen, the more sources of light you’ll need to make sure you can see what you’re doing. Dark surfaces absorb more light than white and light-color surfaces do. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, a kitchen with dark surfaces needs about one-third more light than a kitchen with lighter surfaces.

The size of your kitchen helps determine how many fixtures you will need for adequate illumination, but color makes a difference, too. White reflects light, bouncing it back into the room and making the space feel brighter. With many white surfaces, you might be able to lower the wattage of bulbs used or even cut back on the number of fixtures and still have a well-illuminated room. In this kitchen, a reflective white ceiling, white walls, and white countertops maximize the light provided by the pendant lamps. The pendants use a photographer’s trick to maximize light: They bounce light off the white ceiling, and the light reflects back down to the white marble countertop, spreading a soft general illumination the length and width of the large island. The uncovered window brings in natural light during the day, cutting down on the need to use electric lights until early evening.

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If you want to do right by the world but still have a beautiful space, it’s tough to find the right bulbs that cast a warm glow. LEDs are the obvious choice, but you want to avoid that strange white glow of earlier technologies. Justin has a surprising lead: “IKEA has many affordable LED bulb options that are not that offensive.” However, he’s quick to point out that from a design perspective, he loves a good incandescent bulb. (Hey, Edison bulbs are EVERYWHERE, right?)

Pendant lamps usually hang at a standard height, but for variety and interesting effects, consider adjustable cable pendants with a center weight. The pendants can be suspended from a low-voltage ceiling fixture or a track-mounted transformer. Raise the pendant by pulling the counterweight down; to lower it, simply pull on the lamp.

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Puck or recessed mini can lights bring sparkle underneath and to the interiors of cabinets. Although usually outfitted with xenon or halogen bulbs, new easy-to-install puck lights are also available with LEDs (light-emitting diodes), the newest green alternative for lighting. LEDs use much less electricity to produce light, they last much longer, and they produce less heat (which affects home cooling bills). For example, a 2-watt LED spotlight bulb emits as much light as a 25-watt incandescent bulb and lasts up to 18 times longer.

Monorail lighting systems allow you to create functional sculptures for the ceiling. The metal track can be shaped into graceful curves to suit the design of your kitchen, and because it is suspended from the ceiling by hardware called standoffs, it can be mounted on ceilings that might not be perfectly smooth and level. Most monorail systems are low-voltage, operating on 12 or 24 volts. Shades are available in an enormous range of colors, shapes, and materials to suit the style of any kitchen.

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Create warmth and ambience by combining a variety of lighting that can be controlled independently. In this kitchen, there are none of the usual recessed ceiling lights. Instead, pendant lights over the island provide ambient light, supplemented by accent lighting inside glass-front cabinets, under the cabinets, and under the range hood. Each work zone is well lit, and the combined effect is glowing rather than harsh and glaring.

Living Room: For this area of the house, think in layers. The living room is oftentimes the largest room in the home, and it therefore requires several pieces of lighting. Additionally, Justin points out that living rooms are multipurpose spaces, saying, “Since living rooms can have a lot of functions (family gatherings, watching TV, reading books, doing work), make sure you have lighting that addresses all of the activities of the space.” Ambient lighting (such as recessed can lighting) can meet the minimum lighting needs. Add in task lighting (such as table lamps) for reading nooks near sofa ends and armchairs. And lastly, finish with accent lighting for vignettes or architectural details you want to highlight. If you have a fireplace, make it standout with bookended sconces on either side.

LED panels installed in a row on the wall along your prep space are a stylish alternative to under-cabinetry spots and are just as practical. The warm white LEDS emit light over a particularly large area and can be dimmed and turned on and off without touch, thanks to a built-in proximity sensor. Glow, ultra flat LED panels by Paulmann, €49.90 each, from

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A set of three pendant lights gives this large island plenty of direct task lighting for chopping and prep, but they’re not all business. The bold red drum shades steal the show — adding personality and drama to this kitchen. In the scheme of a kitchen remodel, pendant lights are less expensive than switching out cabinets or countertops, making them a great place to take a risk. When you need a change or grow tired of the color palette, it’s an easy change.

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Fast forward to your adult years, when you’re older and hopefully wiser. And you now realize that all of those lights had a purpose. Lighting pieces aren’t just beautiful to look at; each one is usually designed to fulfill a specific role within the interior design of a home. But with so many choices out there, it’s hard to find the right solution for your living space. Instead of getting that magical space, the wrong lighting pieces can make your space feel dingy on one end of the spectrum or washed out on the other. Our designers lend their bright ideas to make sure you achieve that perfectly lit, enchanting home.

Bright ideas – 10 things you need to know about kitchen lighting By Aoife Valentine 08-03-2018

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Chandeliers aren’t just for dining rooms anymore. The juxtaposition of the hardworking kitchen sink and a crystal chandelier works in this simple white kitchen. When mixing styles, a simple background, such as white cabinets, white walls, and a bare window let the pretty chandelier take center stage.

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In this large kitchen, recessed can lights are evenly spaced on the ceiling to provide general illumination. The decorative chandelier over the island provides concentrated task light on the surface, and undercabinet lights along the far wall supplement the general lighting and ensure good visibility for food preparation.

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Slick storage: 9 sideboards you need to see in shops right now

Since different rooms have different functions, each room in the home has a combination of lighting that is ideal for the setting. When mixing and matching for a space, designer Jennifer Wallenstein reminds us, “Lighting is broken down into three categories: ambient, task, and accent. Ambient light illuminates a space, task lighting is meant for specific work (reading, writing, etc.) and accent lighting highlights a focal point in a space (such as artwork). But there is no one right answer for what type of lighting works best in a given room.” Take our suggestions with a grain of salt. We’ve broken it down by 5 rooms: living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

Kitchens Bathrooms Doors & Windows Flooring Furniture Interior Designers Tiling See more…

“” Mixing a variety of ambient, task, and accent lighting will give your room more visual interest instead of having one giant light fixture.

Consider lighting the inside of drawers, cupboards, and larders. Many LED light strips are flexible so they can be fitted into even the most awkward of spaces, easily. Omlopp LED lighting strip for drawers, 76cm, €35, Ikea. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for more affordable, one-stop shops, many of our designers flock to Schoolhouse Electric, YLighting, and AllModern.

Spotlights offer a practical solution to kitchen lighting and, when fitted with dimmers, can instantly change the atmosphere from bright and functional to moody and inviting. For a stylish update forgo flush spots for ceiling-mounted LEDs. Kos round 7495 ceiling-mounted LED lights, available in four colours, €49 each, Hicken Lighting.

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In rooms with low ceilings, flush light fittings are a fuss-free option. Though they can work equally well in tall ceilinged rooms to help emphasise the sense of space, over-sized fixtures are good for filling a space and directing the eye upward, as does this Alehandro pendant light with black pleated shade and glass diffuser (small €212, large €480) from Fantasy Lights.

If you prefer to support new talent and get the latest in cutting-edge lighting design, Lambert & Fils, Allied Maker, Atelier de Troupe, Brendan Ravenhill are all young companies.

An IKEA x Solange Knowles collaboration is coming – here’s what we know!

Recessed, or can, lights that provide ambient lighting for the room should be 24-42 inches apart and should work to light the entire room — not just areas without task lights.

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