Kitchen lighting that transforms the functionality of your kitchen while contributing to its aesthetic appeal is a great way to update one of your home's most used rooms. Modern kitchen lighting is also designed for energy efficiency, creating not only energy-saving operation, but cost savings as well. Design, function and ease of installation and operation all come together when you choose the right kitchen lighting.
Know the Room's Function
As a place to prepare and cook food, your kitchen may also serve as a dining room, a home office and a place where your children do their homework or play. Today's modern kitchens require a great deal more lighting versatility than the traditional single ceiling fixture.
Design and placement techniques in the modern kitchen will depend on the shape and size of your room as well as the location where specific tasks will be performed. Professional lighting schemes today combine general, accent and task lighting to provide different levels of illumination in support different functions like chopping vegetables and reading recipes. Examine your kitchen and note which lights will be functional and which ones decorative. Write down every kitchen function you can think of that needs lighting. Examples include working on counter top areas, peering into cabinets and drawers, and moving around a work area safely. Functional lighting fixtures include fluorescent, recessed, track, spot, and pot. Other types of lighting include low voltage and intensity level control using dimmer switch operations. Recessed lighting is also a popular task lighting choice for areas like over the sink or the stove to provide better illumination for chores conducted in these areas.
A popular choice for eating areas in your kitchen is pendant lighting supplemented with task lighting in specific work areas of the room. Multiple-bulb decorative fixtures make great choices when illuminating areas like an island. Choices for kitchen light fixture finishes include materials like wrought iron, pewter, satin nickel and colored glass.
Another great lighting choice in the modern kitchen is accent lighting installed in areas like above and below kitchen cabinets. Accent lights, while affecting the room's ambiance, can also act in a functional manner. These areas call for the use of miniature track lights as well as strips of low-voltage lighting. A popular choice in modern kitchen design is the use of halogen bulbs due to their ability to be dimmed and the quality of light produced.
Since a new trend in kitchen design focuses on space used for office-like tasks, different illumination requirements are considered. You may often find yourself working on a laptop computer, paying bills, balancing a checkbook, sorting coupons or reading recipes in your kitchen. Lighting a space in your kitchen for doing paperwork without creating glare on a computer screen calls for under-cabinet halogen lighting or desk lamps.
Pendant lighting, also called hanging light fixtures, provides a single source for both task and accent lighting. These hanging, shaded fixtures are available in an array of choices from antique-looking to modern halogen designed. Use of pendant lighting fits a designer's need to provide an alternative to the usual horizontal lines created with most kitchen light fixtures installed in the ceiling or over counter tops and under cabinets. Pendant lighting also provides excellent focused task illumination.
For more information on kitchen planning and design, visit our Kitchen page.