Master the Art of Kitchen Lighting Layout
A good kitchen lighting layout is the first step to an effective kitchen lighting design. Generally, this can be done based on your cabinet layout and then further dividing it into specific areas that need lighting for various purposes like cooking, preparation, cleaning, etc. So you can broadly classify your kitchen layout into four lighting areas:
* Task lighting area under which you can consider the counters, sink and cooking range area
* General or ambient lighting
* Display or accent lighting
* Decorative lighting
Once you have decided which areas to light, the next step is how to light them. Based on each area’s needs, the type of lighting fixtures can be decided. For instance, while the counter areas will need light for food preparation, the sink and store will need down lights that can focus the light on specific activities.
Here, the work surfaces need the best lighting, therefore plan your kitchen lighting layout accordingly. Next comes the overall ambient lighting that needs to be sufficiently bright to allow you to move around safely in the kitchen.
Remember that the lighting layout is influenced by the size of the kitchen and the various fixtures that are in it. If the kitchen is small, you may only need a fluorescent tube and some under cabinet lighting. If your kitchen is large, then you would need to consider recessed fixtures, above the sink lighting, kitchen island and pantry lighting and lighting over the dining area.
If the ceiling is very high, the ambient lighting must be brighter. When you plan the lighting layout, you have to factor in the color scheme of your kitchen surfaces along with everything else. If you have dark marble, you may need extra lighting.
A vital aspect of your kitchen lighting layout is energy efficiency. Fluorescent fixtures not only provide good ambient light but also help cut down on your energy bills. But by themselves, these can add shadows, so think of complementing them with the task lights, which can be track lighting over your workspace. Under cabinet lights can also light up your countertop.
Some kitchens lead into a living room or a dining room. In such cases, the lighting must synchronize with these spaces. It is a good idea to use light dimmers and other lighting controls so that when you walk from one room into another, there is no drastic difference in light intensity.
To sum up, your kitchen lighting layout must be done in such a way that it is just as comfortable, regardless of the number of people who are in there.
Kitchen Lighting Plans
Making kitchen lighting plans can be quite a challenge. Since the appearance of your kitchen more or less depends on the way it is illuminated, you would need to take several factors into consideration. These are your ceiling height, the amount of natural light coming in, the color and finish of various surfaces in the kitchen, etc. Let us look at each of these variables in turn to get an idea about the kind of kitchen lighting plan you need to make:
Kitchens that have an almost all-white color scheme would need only half the lighting that darker kitchens would. Thus, if you have a kitchen that has a lot of dark cabinets or walls, you will have to plan the lighting accordingly.
Focus on Finish
Take a look at glossy surfaces in your kitchen; if your countertop reflects light like a mirror, under cabinet lighting will show up as a reflection. Another aspect of this is the texture of your kitchen design. If you have a special finish, you will want to accent it with the appropriate lighting fixtures, so take this into account. Fixtures that are too high up or far off will tend to take the attention away from a special finish. While this could be a clever idea if you want to divert attention from, say, a blank piece of drywall, you will have to think differently to focus attention on a finish.
The mood factor
Most kitchens are built in such a way that guests and family spend as much time in it as they do in their living rooms. Thus the ambient lighting here must be perfect to create that cozy look so that people find it welcoming. Get light bulbs that produce cool color that is not harsh on the skin.
Check to see whether there are any lighting regulations in your area which specifies placement of switches, type and amount of lighting, etc. There are plenty of lighting fixtures that come with dimmers so that you can control the lighting intensity.
How much natural light?
A lot of kitchens allow natural light during the day time. At night when it gets dark unless you have exterior lighting, your kitchen will share its lighting with the exterior.
Apart from the above, take sloped ceilings into special account. Recessed lighting in these ceilings must be placed in such a way that they do not glare into the eyes. In your kitchen lighting plan, make sure that the light switches are located on the unhinged side of the door for easy access.
For new kitchens, the kitchen layout is critical to the lighting plan. After this plan is chalked out, you can use the same coloring all over, ensuring that your floor, countertops, and cabinets have sufficient intensity of light.