Master the three main functions of kitchen lighting
A couple of generations ago kitchen illumination was left to nature during daylight hours, with a single light bulb for after dark. But the kitchen is no longer simply the place where the family meal is prepared.
The stove is now a cooker, the work-surface a breakfast bar and coffee culture has a place in the kitchen like never before. Kitchens are getting larger, often incorporate casual dining areas and may even feature a few easy chairs and a TV! Welcome to the postmodern kitchen.
All these changes mean that kitchen lighting needs to have the most flexible lighting scheme in the home to reflect the wide range of functions which kitchens are now used for.
So, how do these functions affect our kitchen lighting considerations and what tricks can we employ for a touch of ‘cool’ in the kitchen department? …
The first rule is to master the three main functions of kitchen lighting:
As the name suggests task lighting is focused lighting, for over your sink, cooker or other food preparation areas so that you can see what you are doing. The best fittings to consider are downlights, track lighting (but be careful with these to avoid the ‘retail-look’) and under cabinet lighting. Generally speaking the fittings aren’t the feature, the lighting is.
Tip: You should be thinking about moving away from incandescent bulbs anyway for environmental and cost saving reasons, but LEDs are particularly practical for task lighting because they work well when grouped together.
2. Ambient Lighting
Ambient is the general mood lighting which should be used for your whole kitchen area .The ambient mood is typically derived from a single pendant, a group of say three pendants over your kitchen breakfast bar or a floor or tablelamp.
Tip: This is where to indulge your personal lighting style and where both colour and style are very important. You could try mixing old with new, and vintage colours on a modern shape is a good way to achieve this.
3. Accent Lighting
Accent lighting is used to highlight features such as cabinets, cooker alcoves or art works, for example. Down lights and wall lights are often used for accent lighting but you should look at any light that can give you a break between dark and light.
Tip: If you’re struggling for a bit of accent lighting, try lighting up a high or low corner of the room or using shelf lights,all of which can add a splash of light contrast.
So, whether you’ve recently invested in a brand new kitchen with new units and appliances or simply updated an existing kitchen it really is worth investing the time and some money in getting your lighting looking spectacular!