Your kitchen design should do more than just look good – after all, it’s where you cook and store food, come together for meals with friends or family, wash and clean up. Good lighting design is essential for your kitchen to truly deliver on functionality.
But before you get carried away by all the gorgeous lamps you can buy, take a step back and consider the lighting needs for your kitchen/diner. Start by asking a few basic questions: What lights are already in place? How much natural daylight does the room get? Is anything hanging from the ceiling – perhaps some pots and pans or a suspended cooker hood?
Find out where the gaps in your lighting scheme are so that you can look for stylish solutions to provide the 4 basic types of lighting that every kitchen needs.
1 – Ambient lighting
To get a good level of general light in your kitchen, a ceiling fitting or pendant light may be the perfect answer. Consider a light fitting with several bulbs, a group or row of pendants centred over an island, or a cluster of recessed downlighters. Choose a brighter or softer ambient light, depending on the amount of entertaining the room will be used for.
For pendant lights, look out for interesting coatings or finishes on the inside of the shade, not just on the outside. Glass or other translucent materials will help to spread the light in all directions.
2 – Task lighting
Task lighting is important for specific kitchen jobs where you need to be able to see clearly, such as over the worktop and the stove. Position the light fitting no more than 90cm above the worktop and perhaps choose a slimline or see-through fixture so that your vision is not obscured. Spotlights and directional downlighters are ideal for this type of lighting.
In order to give you more flexibility between the strong light needed for, say, chopping vegetables and a softer light for dining in comfort, it’s a good idea to fit a dimmer switch.
3 – Accent lighting
Use accent lighting to highlight a particular feature in the room. This could be favourite painting, an architectural feature such as a ceiling cornice or decorative arch, or a beautiful material. Accent lighting can showcase a sparkly quartz worktop, a historic flint wall or an artfully arranged bouquet of flowers, adding to the overall appeal of the space.
Bear in mind that the smaller the diameter of the light, the narrower and more directional the light shaft is going to be.
4 – Decorative lighting
Once all other lighting requirements have been met, why not choose a stylish light and use it as a feature on its own terms? This is where you get to have fun with your choice of lamp or light fitting!
Choose a decorative light fitting that makes a dramatic statement using light and shadow and position your lamp for maximum impact wherever you think best.