Kitchen Lighting - Design Ideas
What works best
The kitchen, often the heart of the home, is usually required to fulfill more than one function and so your kitchen lighting needs to reflect and accommodate this. Bright functional lights are required for meticulous preparation tasks, of course with the option of dimmer lighting controls for evening meals!
Well-designed lighting can transform a utilitarian, functional island or kitchen unit into a cozy, intimate dining area. Kitchen light fixtures have moved on from the bare fluorescent tube lighting favored in the past. While fluorescent kitchen lighting has the advantage of providing bright, all-round light, it is too harsh and should be softened with other light sources.
Design Ideas for kitchen lighting
In addition to preparing food, the kitchen may be used as a play area for young children and it may contain a dining area which can be used for formal suppers. Design and plan your lighting to be flexible, able to deal with a number of different requirements. Work surfaces, such as counters or sinks, need to be brightly-lit with specific, focused lighting. Eating areas can have softer, more diffuse glow.
The particularly demanding aspect of lighting design is the placement. Track lighting in the center of the ceiling does not provide effective lighting for countertops and other work surfaces, especially if they are overshadowed by walls and cabinets. Down-lights positioned toward the front of the work surfaces light them much more effectively and give a spacious feel. Back lighting against the walls will reflect light off white walls.
Take care with low ceilings in kitchens as light sources can be too intense and may emit too much heat which can be uncomfortable. Reflecting light off shiny surfaces can increase the light intensity in the room (stainless steel.)
Fluorescent kitchen lighting has the advantage that it doesn’t emit too much heat. However the quality of light is very flat and unappealing. It is difficult to dim fluorescent lights so they are not a good choice where flexible lighting is required. Halogen lights provide a gentler light and are easier to dim than fluorescent lights but are not as energy-efficient. Incandescent tubes give a soft glow but can get very hot and the bulbs blow frequently.
A combination of general lighting, such as halogen lights, combined with specific spot lights over work areas provide the best combo. As mentioned earlier, down-lights should be positioned towards the perimeter rather than in the center.
Low-voltage lighting in kitchens with little natural light, such as basement kitchens, can give the fake " daylight' look. Under cabinet light sources are also popular ways of illuminating work spaces