The kitchen today is the busiest room in the house and kitchen lighting is probably the most important element in kitchen interior design.
Since the kitchen is now being used as a home office, a homework area for children as well as a gathering area for friends and family good kitchen lighting is very important. The right kitchen lighting is able to create just the right atmosphere for entertaining.
Selecting just the right kitchen lighting can be a simple process. You first need to identify the main areas of the kitchen that need sufficient lighting. With specific tasks over the range or cook top, you can use an energy efficient fluorescent tube along with a standard range fan, or a recessed down light in the general area of the stove. One or two track lights over the sink area can provide the correct amount of illumination that would be needed for washing dishes and scouring pots and pans.
For the sink, and countertops a combination of track or recessed lighting, and under cabinet lighting will be to achieve best results in lighting up the countertop and creating a work area that is well lit and free of shadows. Mount the lights as close to the back of the cabinets as possible to avoid creating glare and off the work surfaces. Try to select energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures that will cover at least two-thirds of the of the counter’s length.
For the breakfast area a good overhead light is useful since this area is also frequently used for reading. For more kitchen lighting ideas you can consider such lighting systems as chandeliers to high-tech flexible track lighting with decorative pendants. With a dimmer switch these ceiling-hung fixtures will produce adequate task lighting for family activities. You can also lower the light for entertaining.
When considering kitchen lighting design it is important to create muliple layers of lighting including ambient lighting, accent lighting as well as decorative lighting.
Examine the amount of space and try to imagine the opportunities that you have in considering different categories of kitchen lighting design to create an inviting and livable space.
Ambient Lighting – This is the general light in the room. This type of kitchen lighting is needed for all casual activities. This can be achieved through the use of reflected light for different surfaces. An example of this is track lighting.
Task Lighting – An example is under-cabinet lights since they make excellent task lighting. This kind of kitchen lighting is commonly achieved with small light sources using higher and more focused levels of light with a combination of under cabinet lights and overhead lights that are strategically located. This type of lighting will be mostly found in closets, pantries, cabinets, or drawers.
Decorative Lighting – This type of kitchen lighting can add sophistication and color to a space.
Down Lighting – Down lighting is energy efficient and consists of small aperture cans in the ceiling. They can produce a longer lamp life, minimize glare and produce a bright crisp light.
Low Voltage Track and Mono Rail Lighting – These lighting systems can offer an interesting and more flexible type of lighting and are easy to install. They can be hand-bent and shaped to provide architectural interest. Low voltage lighting dims more easily and lights decorative objects and surfaces dramatically.
James Mahoney is the author of many kitchen design articles and has a site about kitchen design ideas at Kitchen Designers Ideas.com. He also publishes a newsletter on kitchen design.
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