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Q: Can you shed some “light” on the different types of lighting that I should consider for my kitchen?

A: To start with, let’s talk about the 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. And more, 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 lessens the risk of accidents.

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 décor; it is equally important to take its functionality into account. So, after you’ve set yourself a reasonable budget, go ahead with the lighting plan.

Eliminate errors and analyze the kitchen size

It is never a good idea to 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 three types of kitchen lighting:

1. Task Lighting

2. Ambient Lighting

3. 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.

That being said, 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.

How to create a balanced blend and go for a layered look

Task Lighting: 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 be 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.

Ambient Lighting: 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: 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. 

Dimmers: 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. Dimmers too will create the right balance required in kitchen lighting. A good rule of thumb is to have separate dimmers for each lighting type. The idea is to be able to adjust the lighting when needed.

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October 14, 2013

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