When we talk of kitchen design or decor, kitchen lighting must be given plenty of attention. With the wide choice available in the form of decorative, recessed and accent lighting, the only problem is to select the ideal one so that your kitchen looks perfect.
Kitchens are not just places where meals are prepared – most families enjoy gathering in the kitchen. Some people like to entertain their close friends in the kitchen. With the kids also opting to do their homework here, kitchen lighting needs some careful planning so that you create the right atmosphere in this cozy room.
The type of lighting you choose will be influenced by the size of the kitchen, the color theme and cabinet finish, and the location of the windows and doors, the amount of light needed to see inside the cabinets and other storage.
Choosing the right type of lighting mainly involves identifying those areas of the kitchen where you want lighting. Specific areas you might consider are:
*The range or cooktop
*The sink area
*The island in the kitchen
*Under the cabinets
*Children’s’ work area
If the kitchen lighting layout is not planned properly, even the smartest kitchen that has the best cabinets, appliances, fixtures, and fittings can look dreary. Gone are the days when even grand spacious kitchens had just one bulb hanging from the ceiling.
Today, there is a wonderful choice available so that you can choose the right type of illumination that is easy to install and provides the kind of light you want.
Kitchen Lighting Styles
With the stunning choice of decorative as well as utilitarian lighting to choose from, transforming your kitchen into a delightfully bright place is not at all difficult. You can select from decorative pendant lighting, chandeliers, light fixtures decorated with colored glass, special paper, materials like wrought iron, stainless steel, wood, etc.
The latest trend is to go for energy-efficient lighting if you are environmentally conscious. Apart from the style of your lighting, you will also want to think about the color effect you want to produce so that you have the right atmosphere. Let’s look at different types of kitchen lighting to get a better idea of how to choose the right style.
The general lighting in the kitchen would be called the ambient lighting, which you will use for most activities. Track lighting is ideal for this, so that reflected light is used for various areas.
Then comes task lighting, like the type you see in kitchen cabinet lighting. Small sources of light placed overhead also form task lighting and these are used to light specific tasks. This is commonly used in closets, cabinets, pantries, etc.
To enhance the looks of the kitchen as a whole, you can use decorative lighting. Downlighting is used for its energy efficiency and bright clear light.
Lighting systems like low voltage kitchen track lighting, monorail lighting is flexible. These can be bent in different ways to enhance lighting around a particular object or area. A combination of ambient, task and decorative lighting can be used to define the personality of your kitchen.
Kitchen Lighting Trends
A majority of kitchens either have casually elegant lighting design that is stylish and chic, yet comfortable, the conventional kind that is not so opulent, and the contemporary lighting focuses on function, is modern and without frills.
Homes are getting larger, which means larger kitchens; energy-saving compact florescent lamps are preferred. These, in turn, need larger fixtures to accommodate them. Today’s kitchen interior designers feel that to get the best kitchen lighting, the lighting design must incorporate more than one source of light for a balance.
So if there is one main overhead light, it must be supported by appropriately positioned task and accent lighting to avoid shadows. To get lighting that is just right, the present trend is dimmer switches, with lighting control systems that can save energy, make lamps last longer, yet provide great lighting.
Low voltage bulbs, CFLs and LEDs are energy efficient kitchen lighting and are widely used for good quality lighting. Pendant lighting is preferred to recessed fixtures.
Kitchen Lighting Ideas
After you have decided which areas of the kitchen need to be specially lit, the type of lighting can be chosen. For instance, when it comes to your cooking range or cooktop, you might want to consider energy-saving fluorescent lighting or a recessed downlight. Over the sink area, track lights will give you sufficient light to do the washing.
You can combine track lighting and recessed lighting along with under cabinet lighting to achieve perfect lighting for the countertop so that you have a work area with absolutely no shadows.
Sometimes there is a glare caused by the lights, which can be avoided by mounting the lights to the back of the cabinets. If you have a breakfast area in the kitchen, you most likely use the area for reading too – so go for an overhead light. There is a wide choice – with chandeliers, flexi track lighting, decorative pendants, etc. that you can use with dimmer switches to create the effect you want depending on the purpose. The best thing to do is combine ambient, task and decorative lighting for the ultimate kitchen lighting plan.
Of course, there are a lot of lighting ideas you can try to bring the proper lighting to your kitchen, you need to plan it out properly so you will have the best lighting that match your kitchen design and tone as well as your budget.
Kitchen Lighting Manufactures
A variety of lighting brands in the market offer different types of lighting products. Some popular brands are Artecnica, Blauet, Blu Dot, Desiron, Droog, Estiluz, Foscarini, George Kovacs, Herman Miller, Knoll, Leucos, Sonneman, Lumina, Vitra, etc. There are more than one hundred respected manufacturers in the market and lighting contractors and retailers can suggest the right lighting fixtures based on what type of lighting you plan to use.
Various Kitchen Lighting Forms
Lighting a kitchen isn’t always easy, there are, after all, several types of lighting to consider!
Ambient Lighting is indirect light – just think about a central ceiling light; it doesn’t illuminate anything specific, rather, it sheds light on the entire room. When you raid the fridge in the middle of the night, you do it by the ambient light that comes from the ceiling fixture. (Or the fridge light, of course!).
Task Lighting is vital in the kitchen. This is the light you need for specific tasks, such as chopping vegetables, using the cooker, or using the sink. LED strips underneath wall cabinets, recessed ceiling lights, or directional spotlights all provide efficient task lighting.
Accent Lighting is the creative stuff you do with lights. You could illuminate collectibles in kitchen cabinets, use LED strips beneath floor standing cupboards or, in fact, above wall cabinets so that the light bounces off the ceiling. Think about using halogen spots to highlight treasured pottery or pictures.
Combination Lighting is what you get when you put all of these lighting types together – and is exactly what you need for a kitchen. Combination lighting, however, also takes into consideration any natural light falling into the room
To summarise, a well-planned kitchen lighting scheme will incorporate all the above lighting forms. To accomplish this, you will probably find that a combination of LED kitchen lighting and halogen kitchen lighting provides the best result.
LED Kitchen Light for Modern Living
LED kitchen lighting is the power of the future. Is LED lighting the death knell for the light bulb? Who can tell, but as far as lighting goes, it really is the flavor of the moment; hardly surprising given its distinct advantages over traditional lighting. LED lights are virtually maintenance-free, they cost very little to run, and they are extremely safe. What more could one ask for?
In the kitchen, LEDs can be sited beneath wall cabinets as task lighting, beneath floor cabinets as accent lighting and, if you use high power LEDs, they can even be used as ambient lighting. Is it any wonder that LED lighting is a favorite of interior designers?
Probably the best use of lights for the working kitchen would be a combination of LED and halogen kitchen lighting.
Halogen Kitchen Light is Compact and Efficient
Kitchen lighting needs to be high quality and precise, and that perfectly describes halogen lighting. Halogen downlights are superb for kitchen ambient and task lighting because they provide a focussed, bright white light; if you don’t want downlights, then halogen lamps are also available on cables and tracks – superb for moving light to specific areas as required.
If you decide to have recessed halogen downlights, be sure that the lights you choose bear the BSI Kitemark, BS476 parts 21 or 22, because you can’t breach the membrane of your ceiling with impunity! By choosing a BSI rated fitting you will be ensuring that you comply with fire regulations. As an interesting aside, halogen lighting is the preferred lighting for the visually impaired – which might be more than an interesting aside if you or somebody in your home has poor vision.
LED kitchen lighting, in the form of accent lighting or task lighting, makes a marvelous companion for halogen lighting. As both these lighting options are available in low voltage options, installing them could make a dramatic and positive difference to your energy consumption.
Halogen kitchen lights brightness and efficiency in a small package – what’s keeping you?
Upgrade to Downlights for Low Voltage Safety
The title is probably something of a misnomer because it’s not only downlights that come in low voltage varieties, however, it seems that the terms ‘downlights’ and ‘low voltage’ are almost interchangeable in the field of lighting today – especially when speaking of bathroom lighting.
Don’t think that low voltage lighting is a reference to those energy-saving bulbs; what we’re talking about here is lighting that runs from a 12-volt transformer rather than directly from the mains. The advantages in terms of safety should be obvious – it is far preferable to get a 12-volt electric shock than have the full 240 volts from the mains course through your body. Of course, by taking sensible safety precautions, you shouldn’t get any electric shocks at all!
You can get low voltage downlights in either halogen or LED versions, both of which provide a much cleaner light than the old-fashioned grim yellow tone of incandescent bulbs. Style-wise, you can choose between recessed lights, flush fitting lights, spotlights, domed lights… In fact, you have just as much choice of fittings as with traditional lighting.
When installing any recessed ceiling lights, it is vital that the lights you choose carry the BS476 parts 21 or 22 Kitemarks; breaching the ceiling membrane reduces the fire safety rating of any building. Additionally, the heat generated from halogen lamps could ignite any material within the ceiling or wall cavity.