If you’ve ever squinted to read a recipe in a dimly-lit kitchen or blinked at the glare of a bright overhead light in the morning, you know the difference that well-planned lighting can make in a kitchen. However, during a remodel, lighting is often the first thing to go when the budget gets crunched.
Gone are the days when one overhead light provided all the light for the kitchen. Today’s designers know the importance of using several types of lighting to establish the kitchen as a warm, inviting place for both socializing and working. Let’s look at the options for lighting up your kitchen. Four types of light are important for kitchens: task lighting, ambient lighting, accent lighting and decorative lighting.
Task lighting is important because it illuminates the areas where you are cooking, reading recipes, cleaning dishes and working in the kitchen. Prime locations to install lights for these tasks include underneath overhead cabinets and above an island. Make sure that the lighting is correctly placed so that it doesn’t cast shadows where you are trying to work.
Another type of lighting important in a kitchen remodel is ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is an indirect lighting that helps to soften shadows in a room and creates a warm glow that draws people into a room. Often times the space about your cupboards directly below where the wall and ceiling meet is an ideal location for ambient lighting.
Accent lighting is used to highlight special areas or pieces in a kitchen. For example, you can install lighting inside a cupboard to highlight Grandma’s heirloom china. Or maybe you need a small light to illuminate your favorite piece of artwork or ceramic tile mural on the wall. Accent lighting will help show off the artistic elements in your kitchen.
Finally, decorative lighting is lighting that functions as pieces of artwork themselves. They dress up the space as well as add light to an area. This type of lighting—such as elaborate chandeliers and pendant lighting—can expensive. If you’re in the middle of the kitchen remodeling project but rapidly approaching the end of your budget, see if you’re contractor can at least have all the wiring in place so that when your budget recovers, you can install a beautiful fixture.
Another point to keep in mind is to make some of your lighting adjustable. If you are able to darken or brighten the room by the turn of a knob, you’ll be able to adjust the mood of the room; or, you’ll just have the option of easing a pair of sleepy eyes into a bright, new morning.
Instead of approaching kitchen lighting as an afterthought of your kitchen remodel, sit down with your kitchen design expert to figure the best blend of natural light and fixture lights for your kitchen. Soon a warm glow will welcome you in the room as you sit down to enjoy a cup of tea or flip open the pages of your cookbook.