Is Lighting Important?
Lighting affects mood. This we know instinctively as we turn the lights down low for relaxing and up high to complete a task. Kitchen spaces are “work areas” first, but the kitchen serves many different functions such as; preparing meals, completing homework, entertaining guests and family time. When selecting the best lighting consider functionality. You will most likely need several types of fixtures incorporated in your kitchen remodel and in this post we will take a look at a variety of fixtures. This is most certainly not an exhaustive list of options. Working with a designer can help with navigating the various options for your family’s needs.
This is general lighting throughout the kitchen ceiling. Recessed lights are a standard choice in most kitchen remodels and offers continuous illumination to the area. The draw back of utilizing only overhead lighting is its inability to give appropriate task illumination on the island and counter tops. Flush mounted lights are also a good choice for the kitchen and can be more decorative.
Another option for overhead lighting would be pendant lights and chandeliers. Perfect for the kitchen island, because they light the counter top completely and hang low to offer better task lighting. The beauty of pendants and chandeliers are their aesthetic quality. This type of lighting can offer functionality and yet bring style and color to your kitchen. Pendants tend to come in multiples of two to four when hanging over the island. A large chandelier would also be a good choice to cover a large portion of the island with light. If the island has a cook top the option of a large exhaust hood with built-in light can also do the trick!
Under Cabinet Lighting
Under cabinet lighting should be a consideration when planning your kitchen remodel. Upper cabinets can cast shadows to counters below and they can be too dimly lit to complete many tasks. One way to provide the illumination needed for these tasks would be the installation of lighting directly under the cabinets. Some options to consider are as follows:
LED Strip Lights & Fixtures – are almost invisible and yet offer good task lighting when coupled with strong overhead lights and are able to hide under the upper cabinet and cannot be seen. They are versatile since they come in various color temperature and brightness. (Note: LED is here to stay. The US Department of Energy forecasts that LED will comprise 75% of all sales by year 2030.)
Fluorescent Fixtures – are classic under cabinet lights and are cool to the touch. They are a mid-range choice, not to fancy, but functional.
Puck Lights – named for the hockey puck shape can be hardwired or battery operated and installed to the underside of the upper cabinet with adhesive strips. These are a great choice for renters or people who prefer not to hire an electrician.
Decorative, Ambient and Accent Lighting
This is the “go to” light, especially desired when showcasing art pieces. Many homeowners choose glass front cabinets for their special treasures and lighting is of the utmost importance to show them off! This type of lighting can be LED strips similar to the under-cabinet lights and also puck lights. Another type of decorative light are wall sconces. They often throw light up or down or both and can bring illumination to a piece of art, give light to a relatively dark section of the room, such as an alcove or either side of a doorway. Sconces can set the tone for your room and should be installed on their own set of dimmer switches. The softening of shadows can supply a mood or the direct beam can draw your attention to a focal point.
The popularity of open floor plans in the central living spaces of the kitchen, family room and dining areas open the door for various artistic lighting fixtures. The opportunity to include chandeliers, pendants, recessed and decorative lighting can bring interesting textures, shapes and materials to spaces interwoven together and highly utilized by family. There is no limit to the amount of creativity a homeowner can enjoy when incorporating the different spaces together harmoniously. If it seems daunting to you, professional designers can lend a hand to help you express yourself. Enjoy! Allow those creative juices to flow!