Choosing the proper lighting design for your kitchen should be top priority. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home and usually the busiest room—where you and your family prepare meals, visit with friends, complete homework, read the paper, and simply spend time relaxing. Your kitchen lighting design will be dependent on the size and complexity of the space. Small kitchens may require only a central ceiling fixture and task lighting tucked under a cabinet, while more elaborate kitchens call for a mix of general, task, and accent lighting. Here’s a look at some kitchen lighting ideas you’ll want to be sure to use when illuminating your culinary center.
General lighting can be achieved with either recessed lighting or a central, decorative chandelier. Recessed lighting is best placed around the perimeter of the room and about 30 inches away from the wall. Plan on installing one recessed light for every 4 feet to 6 feet of ceiling space and mix wide-angle recessed lights for ambient lighting, with narrow-beam lights for task lighting. Chandeliers also can be used in addition to other lighting in the space. In the kitchen, try using chandeliers with diffused glass shades rather than fabric shades so the glass will be easier to clean.
Under cabinet lighting can be used to quickly and easily illuminate your countertops. Undercabinet lighting is available in various designs, including slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, and low-voltage linear systems. Be sure to place undercabinet fixtures at the front of your cabinet rather than against the wall so light will be even distributed over the area below. Also, you may want to consider putting your undercabinet lighting on a separate dimmer to add depth and dramatic impact to your space and to save energy.
Over the sink or range lighting
Recessed down lights help to provide even illumination throughout a space. Install them to create adequate task lighting for cooking, baking, and dishwashing. Recessed fixtures are available with a variety of trims, including metallic, so you can add a bit of flair as well as function. Trims are also available in square shapes, down if you’re seeking a distinct, modern look. As an alternative to recessed lights, a track or rail system may be preferable if you are remodeling and don’t have easy access to the space above the kitchen.
Lighting over the kitchen table
This multipurpose lighting is used for dining, homework, hobbies, conducting family business and more. A decorative pendant can offer sufficient task lighting, while also adding a touch of style and personality. Make sure you mount pendant fixtures about 30 inches above the tabletop. If you have a round table, the fixture should ideally be 12 inches narrower than the table’s diameter. For square and rectangular tables, choose a fixture that is 12 inches narrower than the table’s smallest side. You even can hang several pendants at the same height, or stagger their heights for more visual interest.
Island counters and breakfast bars
These areas demand a mix of task and general lighting. An easy solution is to add a group of mini-pendants. Be sure to mount the bottom shade of each pendant about 66 inches above the floor so you can see across the room. Keep in mind that you should install one pendant for every 2 feet of counter space, and try to use an odd number of pendants to create the proper balance.