Importance of a well lit kitchen
Kitchen Lighting is often the most over-looked aspect while designing the kitchen. In fact, a well lit kitchen is paramount in order to create the right mood, cook faster and function more efficiently. Moreover, the kitchen just does not serve as a cooking area but in most cases also as a dining and entertaining room. A well lit kitchen also obviates the risk of accidents and a well lit kitchen is always welcoming. A few factors need to be taken into account when designing the kitchen lighting. Rather than just focusing on the fancy fixtures that blend well with the kitchen decor; it is equally important to take its functionality into account. So, first set yourself a reasonable budget before going ahead with the lighting plan.
Eliminate errors and analyze the kitchen size
It is never a good idea to just install a single glaring bulb in the middle of the ceiling. Too much or too little lighting in kitchen areas will result in an imbalance which may visually overpower certain areas and create shadows in other areas. There are essentially 3 types of kitchen lighting: Task Lighting, Ambient Lighting and Accent Lighting. A balanced blend of all three creates a well lit kitchen. Therefore, a careful analysis of the kitchen size is essential to determine the kind of fixtures and lighting required in different kitchen areas. Be subtle and make sure you don’t overdo it. A well lit kitchen need not necessarily be glaring bulbs all over. The key is to blend and mix the right type of lighting (Task, Ambient and Accent) at strategic areas to improve functionality and enhance the mood of the kitchen.
Carefully create a balanced blend and go for a layered look
Task Lighting is a directed beam of light that illuminates the work areas of the kitchen. Each work area of the kitchen requires its own task lighting. Be it chopping vegetables, mixing and measuring ingredients; everything requires separate task lighting. Every designated area should ideally have its own task lighting. Under cabinets lights too are a great option to install task lighting as besides offering great functionality; it can significantly enhance and emphasize the features of the kitchen. While fluorescents prove to highly energy efficient, halogens produce a clear white glow. Proper task lighting can prevent kitchen accidents as well. The island tops and kitchen counters need to be well illuminated with task lighting. On the other hand, a poorly lit counter may produce shadows and hinder or delay one’s activity.
As the term suggests, ambient lighting creates a welcoming ambience and creates the general feel and look of the room. It serves as a functional lighting and aids in maneuvering and moving around the kitchen safely. If the kitchen cabinets are built or placed half way through the ceiling; the extra space can serve as an ideal spot for ambient lighting. In most cases; the ambient lighting is most neglected and overlooked. This type of lighting should be well blended with other lighting.
Accent Lighting is generally used to emphasize the architectural features of the kitchen as well as lend the ideal dimension and depth to a kitchen. The fixtures placed inside cabinets which have a glass front to illuminate the cabinet items like China and glassware may constitute Accent Lighting. Even over cabinet lighting or recess lighting accentuates the feel good factors of a kitchen. Track lighting can also be considered if the home owner has a small galley kitchen.
Installing dimmers is a significant factor that needs to be taken into account for kitchen lighting. With dimmers, the lights can be dimmed or undimmed according to the activity taking place in the kitchen or the time of the day. Moreover; dimmers create the right balance required in kitchen lighting. However; just installing one stray dimmer may not be enough. Separate dimmers for each lighting type would be ideal: Accent, Task and Ambient. The idea is to be able to adjust the lighting; as and when needed.
Research, Plan and then Implement
Planning ahead can save the homemaker a few dollars as well as get the right lighting effect within a stipulated budget. A lighting designer may also be very helpful in delivering the required effects as he would first carefully study the kitchen layout (such as natural light, ceiling height, finishing of the surface etc) and design the lighting accordingly. Also, do your homework and a good amount of research in advance. Information and ideas come in very handy when you most require it. Most importantly; don’t over do. Be subtle; choose the right focal points and task areas and then mix well. This should lighten up the kitchen enough to get all your culinary tasks done in a jiffy.