Creating a design plan for your kitchen lighting is like cooking a great meal: to begin, you need the right recipe and the proper ingredients. To make sure you cook up the best lighting scheme for your kitchen, get help from a lighting professional.
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For work areas such as kitchen islands, designer mini pendant lighting is a popular and stylish choice. These types of lights install in the ceiling and hang down from a long cord or wire. Their light is points directly to the area below, so they are ideal for cooking and food prep areas. Install them in sets of three for a balanced look over islands and counter areas.
Think creatively about where you put your light sources. For example, incorporating lighting below an island unit will make it appear to float. In kitchens with high ceilings, try adding uplights to the tops of cabinets. It adds general light to the space so you will need fewer downlights.
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With glass cabinets, I prefer to light them internally. They become almost like wall lights, so make sure you don’t mind people seeing what you have inside them.
If you are building a new kitchen, bring in a layout. It’s critical to plan where you intend to install recessed lights, kitchen ceiling fans and overhead kitchen fixtures.
Overhead on the ceiling, recessed lighting is great for creating a blanket of light, but not for bringing light specifically where you may need it.
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Consider asking the lighting professionals to make a house call. Once you have the plan in place, use the same color bulbs throughout the kitchen so that the tone of the floor, counters and cabinets will all be the same intensity.
A note of caution with recessed lighting: sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. “I have seen people not sure about what to do with their lighting keep adding recessed lights, instead of mixing the various lighting types,” says Steve Birdwell, Certified Lighting Consultant, “The result is that they kill the room with too much light.”
No matter what lighting you decide on, it’s important to form a detailed overall lighting plan.
Layer the light. I’ve mentioned general and task lighting, but also add some accent and ambient lighting. Using a number of different sources lends a more ‘three-dimensional’ feel and so helps you create the mood you want.
For lighting counter tops and kitchen work areas, undercabinet lighting is a much better choice. This type of lighting installs, as the name suggests, under a cabinet, and directly lights the counter area underneath. There are a wide range of designs available, including new LED designs.
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This lightbulb will add some vintage charm to your kitchen, and is available in clear and amber glass finishes.
All your lighting doesn’t need to come from one source. Consider getting a floor lamp to illuminate task areas in your kitchen.
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If you are using professional services and visiting a lighting showroom, come prepared. Bring a picture of your kitchen, if possible or at least know your kitchen dimensions. How tall is the ceiling? Where are the doors? How much space is there between the cabinets and the ceiling? How much space is there between the cabinets and the countertop?
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This article was first published in April, 2013. It has been updated for the current season.
5 The latest developments of LEDs means the most recent downlights are only eight or 10W rather than 50W. A large kitchen with 14 downlights and under-cupboard lighting can now be lit with only 200 watts.
If your kitchen or dining area is small, you can increase the sense of space by using directional spotlights angled towards the cupboards and walls. The light is reflected back into the room and is much more effective than shining the light straight down at the floor.
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Under-cupboard lighting is usually best for task lighting because it is well hidden and stops your shadow obscuring the worktop. The latest LED products have less heat output, which saves money and prevents cupboards and food becoming too warm.
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Each source should be controlled individually so that the scheme can create anything from the feeling of bright daylight to an intimate atmosphere over dinner.
Call us or visit a local store to discuss kitchen remodel ideas with one of our trained lighting experts. Also, click to learn more about our free Expert Workshops or schedule an In-Home Lighting Consultation.
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As well as adding impact and visual interest, a row of pendants over an island will help provide a visual divide between the dining and kitchen areas.
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Indeed, recessed lighting is great for overall room illumination, but isn’t as flexible or precise as other light types.
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Be sure to check the packaging for a colour temperature of around 2,700 Kelvin and a CRI (Colour Rendition Index) over 90 to ensure you end up with a warm, attractive light.
The biggest mistake is not having a good mix of lighting that meets your needs. There are a number of sources and typed of lighting to consider.
Angle spotlights at the cupboards and walls to create the illusion of space Credit: John Cullen
Everything you need to know about lighting your kitchen Credit: John Cullen
If using track lights, the key is to position the track so that spotlights never shine in your eye. Too often the track is located in the centre of a kitchen, meaning a central island may be lit effectively but people sitting to one side are in danger of being either in shadow or full glare.
We have videos as well as additional tips and idea articles about kitchen lighting and lighting design that you may find interesting. Click a link below to learn more.
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Made from either solid brass or steel, this copper pendant light comes in a choice of finishes and would be perfectly suited to any kitchen, hanging just above the main island or kitchen table.
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Perfectly on trend, this chrome spotlight is versatile, stylish, and ideal for making small spaces seem larger than they actually are.
Try to ensure that lights fitted near hobs fit flush to the wall or ceiling – making them easy to wipe clean. Using fittings with a covered glass is ideal.
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Forget grids of downlights; use light only where it is required. Work surfaces need good task lighting, whether it is from downlights or pendants.
Lights below an island unit can make it appear to float Credit: John Cullen
If you are planning to update an existing kitchen, tell the lighting expert how much deconstruction you want to do. If you don’t want to destroy the ceiling, then you have do something different with installations.
Using a continuous Contour LED strip or individual fittings of only two watts is an easy way to create practical and attractive lighting.
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Place lights over the areas that need them most Credit: John Cullen
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Spots should be placed where you need the light. Selecting directional versions gives added flexibility. For example, lights over a kitchen counter often work best placed above the edges of the counter, but angled across it to create glare-free lighting.
From reworking your downlight strategy to learning how to light glass cabinet, design director of John Cullen, Sally Storey, reveals how to get the right light for preparing food and setting the mood in your kitchen.
Use spotlights to shine a light on the areas that need it the most, such as where you’ll be doing the majority of your cooking an eating.