Lighting can often be overlooked in kitchen design, and yet proper lighting can make all the difference between having a useful and enjoyable kitchen space and one you’d rather avoid spending time in.
It’s really important to give full consideration to your lighting design right at the outset of your kitchen project. Bear in mind that electrics and fittings will have to be installed before plastering and decorating. Ideally, you should plan the lighting at the same time as you plan your plumbing, and allow as much budget for the lights as you would for your floors.
The key to a successful lighting scheme is layering. Different types of light fulfil different needs: You need task light for preparation and cooking, dining and ambient mood lighting and perhaps a feature light for that wow effect. Installing dimmer lights will give you even more flexibility.
Good general illumination is key for your kitchen’s functionality, appearance, energy efficiency and general wellbeing. Recessed ceiling downlighters are a good way to provide ambient lighting, but if ceiling fittings are not possible, there’s a wide range of spotlights, uplighters and lighting strips that can be fitted on top of, underneath or concealed inside kitchen units.
Every kitchen needs efficient tasks lighting. Direct light is needed wherever food preparation takes place – worktops, hobs and sinks – so that you can see what you’re doing and do it safely. Shadows are distracting and cause eye strain, so undermounted lighting options (recessed or semi-recessed) are ideal. Exposed light fittings such as spotlights will also work but they will collect grease and grime more easily. For the hob area, you could choose an extractor fan with built in halogen/LED lights to give you all the light you need during cooking.
Think about how to illuminate your dining table or breakfast bar – you want a combination of direct light for eating, perhaps with softer lighting for after dinner conversation. Pendant ceiling light fittings that are dimmable or cluster lights and wall lighting may be your best solution. Lighting control options are an easy way to switch between a variety of situations; you could have different settings for food preparation, kitchen cleaning, dining and entertaining.
In that way, mood lighting can change the ambience in the room from functional kitchen space to chillout zone. Use accent lighting to draw attention to a decorative object or artwork, or to highlight interesting architectural features such as exposed brick walls or domed ceilings. Plinth lighting around the base of island units or breakfast bars can also create a wow factor.