We’re nearing the end of January and this is the time of year when I am most sensitive to the lack of indoor lighting in so many people’s homes. Let’s look at ways to improve lighting and brighten up our kitchens.
It is commonplace for older homes to have only one or two lights in the middle of the room. Today, designers put much more thought and planning into the layout of kitchen lighting during the construction of new homes or kitchen remodeling projects.
Certain lighting fixes are easy do-it-yourself projects while others will require the expertise of an electrician. Talk to a home improvement expert or professional electrician if home wiring is new to you.
• Task lighting is essential in food preparation areas. This would include under cabinet lighting to illuminated countertops and food prep areas as well as above the sink and stove (unless there is a hood fan with a light). Make sure that lighting is positioned correctly to avoid casting shadows on your work surface.
• Kitchen islands and eating areas should also have their own dedicated lighting. An excellent way to achieve this is to use a group of pendant lights hung in a row or one fixture with multiple lamps. This layout will cast light over the length of the island or table and also adds visual interest.
• Installing a dimmer switch for the lights above the eating area is a good idea as it allows you to dim the lights and set the mood for special dinners. It also gives you the option of keeping the lights low on those mornings when you need a little more time to ease into the day.
• General ambient lighting is easily achieved with the installation of recessed lighting for overall lighting in the space. I like having these on dimmers too.
• Accent lighting can be added to highlight special areas or pieces in the kitchen. For example, you could install lighting inside a glass-fronted cabinet to highlight treasured heirlooms or a colorful glassware collection.
• Play up the natural light in the room. If your kitchen receives natural light through windows, patio doors or skylights, take advantage of that light and don’t block it with dark window coverings.
• Green Tip: using LED or CFL bulbs can reduce your energy use for kitchen lighting. When selecting fixtures, make sure the fixtures themselves are energy efficient and that they are compatible with energy efficient bulbs.
If you found this blog post helpful, you may also like to read: Bathroom Lighting Essentials.