While having quality lighting is vital in every area of the home, especially in winter when there’s less natural light coming through, the kitchen is one part of the property where we want to see what we’re doing and create a convivial atmosphere.
Whether you want to improve the current lighting in this essential part of your home or are planning an extensive renovation and thinking about making everything as helpful as possible when you design spaces, lighting is something not to forget. Proper lighting can make or break your kitchen area, so follow four key tips to light it up just right.
Get Clear on How You Want to Use the Kitchen
Before you start dismantling any current fixtures and fittings in your home or buying new lights, stop for a minute and clarify how you believe you’ll use your kitchen over the coming years. Before planning lighting, you want to understand the different tasks you’re likely to complete in this part of the home to know how best to design adequate light for them.
For example, on top of cooking, cleaning, and chatting with guests, you may want to use the kitchen area to supervise your children as they do homework, set up romantic meal settings, polish silverware, create shopping to-do lists, etc. Think about what type of lighting you’ll need for the different jobs so it’s easier to determine what to install and where.
For the best results, you want to layer light in your kitchen. You can’t get everything you need from a single light or single type of illumination, so it’s wise to add multiple ones in the space. For instance, it helps to have not just solid overhead lighting solutions but also some track lighting and some smaller lamps or other devices.
Most kitchens require ambient lighting from soft overhead options such as a general pendant light that adds warm glows to the room. Alternatively, you’ll notice that many quality ceiling fans with lights have decent illumination so you can get lighting, air movement, and cooling in one product.
It’s also handy to have recessed lights with dimmer switches in your kitchen that you can use to their full power when you need to see what you’re doing or dimmed when it’s time to set a more romantic or quiet mood. On top of ambient light, you’ll want task lighting. You put this type above critical spaces in the kitchen, such as over the sink, island, countertops, and appliances. You use it when you’re doing things such as chopping food, stirring recipes, reading cookbooks, cleaning, etc.
The final illumination type to include is accent. This isn’t as bright as task lighting or as subdued as ambient lighting and thus sits somewhere in between. This style is best for those times and areas when you want to pull focus to something in particular and add more depth to this zone in your home. For instance, it can help you showcase your best china or a beautiful vase of flowers, bring awareness to an architectural feature such as an elaborate ceiling in the home, or help show off a prized artwork.
Utilize Motion Sensors
Another tip for ensuring your kitchen is effectively lit is to utilize motion sensors to light up darker areas. For instance, the far reaches of cabinets and pantries can be illuminated with motion-sensor lights, so you don’t have to strain to see deep within them anymore. Rather than peering and missing items, utilize motion-based fixtures to activate and give you adequate light whenever you open the applicable doors. This feature saves wasted power at other times of the day or night, too, since you only use it when you need it.
Pay Attention to the Designers’ Rule of Threes
Lastly, try not to forget the popular “rule of threes” that designers favor in their work. This phrase relates to the concept that things tend to be more visually appealing to us when arranged in an odd number, particularly in a grouping of three. Take a look at some of the most beautifully designed homes, and you’ll see that spaces regularly feature three, five, or seven, etc., pieces arranged artfully together.
In your kitchen, you can follow suit by, for instance, by installing three matching pendant fixtures above the center island or having three or five recessed lights put in on the ceiling. You could use a mixture of two table and one floor-standing lamp to create a triangle of light in this directed way, or illuminate three or five display shelves on the wall with light to show off your preferred dishes, vases, or other pieces.
Lighting up a kitchen in the right way isn’t something you’ll luck into or necessarily get right first go. However, if you follow the tips above, you’ll give your cooking and dining space the best possible chance of being somewhere you, your family, and your guests love to be day after day.