Seeing the light
Pendants, uplights, downlights, LEDs — are you confused by all the options out there in kitchen lighting when it comes to creating the illumination you need to prep, cook and dine? We’ve asked expert Ben Mills to explain the different lighting types and the main things to consider in planning an effective design.
Why is kitchen lighting so important?
For most of us, the kitchen is the workhorse of the home and a busy spot from morning till night. Good lighting is essential, as it allows you to perform tasks such as prepping food and cleaning up safely. Plus, it adds character to a space and can quickly take the mood from functional to cosy, perfect for an eat-in kitchen.
Plan lighting as early as possible.
Moving light fixtures after a kitchen has been installed can be expensive: Rewiring and repainting mean costs can add up quickly. For that reason, it’s best to plan kitchen lighting during the design stage.
What is a layered lighting design?
Light layering involves creating different shades of light, playing with shadows and using colors to highlight a room’s best features. In the kitchen, it generally incorporates task lighting for food prep and cooking, ambient lighting for general illumination and character, and accent lighting to highlight specific features such as a gorgeous backsplash or a piece of art.
Add ambient lighting for character.
Soft, ambient lighting will wash your kitchen with light and create a warm, welcoming glow. It could be in the form of a pendant above a counter or dining table, downlights around the perimeter of the room or a central ceiling light.
Highlight your best features with accent light.
Use accent lighting to draw attention to special features such as a backsplash or a dramatic island facade. Installing strip lighting under cabinets or counters is a great way to achieve this. You could also add accent lighting to glass cabinets or open shelving to highlight your displays.
Get the proportions right.
With pendant lights and other decorative styles, size is also important: too large and the fixture will overwhelm a small kitchen; too small and it may get lost in a large space.