How to plan your kitchen lighting

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How to plan your kitchen lighting

How to plan your kitchen lighting

Essential for preparation and cooking, lighting can also be used to create mood and atmosphere at the flick of a switch. Lets look at the different types 

One of the first things you’ll need to consider when planning your new kitchen is the lighting, as electrics and fittings have to be installed at the start of the project, before plastering, decorating and the fitting. It’s an integral part of any scheme and this is your one chance to get it right.

The key to a successful scheme lies in layering the effects, so you should try to zone the lighting according to its use – working (task), dining and mood (ambient) and creating the wow factor (feature). It’s important to concentrate on all three and consider dimmable solutions for even more flexibility.

‘Plan the lighting when you’re thinking about the plumbing,’ advises Emile Azan design director at Chameleon Designs. As a rule of thumb, allow as much budget for your lighting as you would the flooring. Your choices will depend on the size of the space and whether your room has a high or low ceiling.’

Ceiling Lighting

Installing ceiling lighting can sometimes pose some difficulties, but it is possible to illuminate a kitchen without using any ceiling lights. There is a wide range of spotlights, down lighters, uplighters and strips that can be placed either under or on top of kitchen units. It also means you can be more creative, as it’s possible to conceal fixtures and fittings.

Task Lighting

Every kitchen, no matter how large or small, needs efficient task lighting. This is as much from a safety point of view as anything else. You’ll need direct lighting wherever any food preparation is taking place -worktops, sinks and hobs- to make sure chopping and cooking can be done safely and without shadows. Under mounted options are perfect for this and be sure to look for recessed or semi-recessed options, as exposed light fittings will collect grease and dirt more easily

Open-plan kitchens with a dining area or those with a breakfast bar need a combination of adequate lighting for eating, with softer lighting for after-dinner conversation. Dining tables and island units will benefit from a series of overhead pendant lamps (rise-and-fall versions can be moved up or down when needed) while lamps and wall lights will create a warm glow that sets the mood.

Zoning your lighting

Also consider the importance of how the lighting in each zone will affect the adjacent areas in an open-plan layout. It’s no good creating a lovely mood setting in the dining area if it’s ruined by bright light from the kitchen. Part of the solution lies in lighting control – systems that allow you to switch between pre-set arrangements of lights for different situations. This allows you to have one setting for dining, another for parties, one for cleaning and so on.

Ambient lighting is key for creating a laid-back feel and is essential, as kitchens become the primary social space in our homes. Look for softer solutions, such as dimmable wall lights, as well as decorative systems, like shelf and in-cabinet lights.

Mood lighting

Mood lighting can change the ambience of the kitchen from practical preparation zone to a chill-out or entertaining space. Plinth lighting – especially strip lights – around an island unit or breakfast bar gives the illusion of floating furniture, which can create a magical feel at night and is great for wowing guests.

If you have a period property or interesting features, such as an exposed brick wall, that you’d like to highlight, consider accent lighting that can be used to focus on a particular area or design element in the room.

We have been featured in an article recently on the more technical aspects of kitchen lighting and types of lighting that can be used,

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