When we talk of kitchen design or décor, 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 cook top
*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 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, you can use decorative lighting. Down lighting 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
Most kitchens either have casually elegant lighting design that are 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 is 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 cook top, you might want to consider energy saving fluorescent lighting or a recessed down light. 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.
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.
There are excellent online retailers of various discount kitchen lighting products who not only feature great choice, but also provide you with valuable information to help you make the right selection.