Kitchen Lighting 101
When remodeling a kitchen, take a “whole room” approach to the lighting design, so the light from the various fixtures complements the entire living space.
Today’s kitchens are often the hub of family living. The lighting should be suitable for reading, paying the bills, feeding the kids, and more. A single kitchen light source means that work around the perimeter of this central light is relegated to the dimmer areas of the room. A proper lighting scheme depends on the size and complexity of the kitchen. Smaller kitchens may require only a central overhead fixture coupled with under-cabinet task lighting placed near your sink and stove. Larger kitchens may require a combination of general, task, and accent lighting.
1 - PREPARE BEFORE SHOPPING
When visiting a lighting showroom, bring photos of your kitchen and take note of the room’s dimensions. How tall is the ceiling? Where are the doors? How much space is there between the cabinets and the countertop? This information will help determine your options.
2 - START WITH THE BIG FEATURES
Kitchen tables and islands are focal points; light them up first, then design your scheme outward. Try pendant lighting or a fixture with three lights over an island.
3 - CREATE A BALANCED MIX
The biggest mistake is overlooking subtleties in your lighting scheme. Recessed lighting can create a blanket of light, but it doesn’t illuminate exactly where you need it. Don’t just add more recessed fixtures, which will just over-saturate the room with light. Combine lighting types, and remember that dimmer switches add flexibility.
4 - CHOOSE A NICE FINISH
In 2021, the latest trends in decorative finishes for kitchen fixtures include: Black, especially in kitchens where a black finish accents dark, painted cabinets. Black is also being mixed with gold, chrome, and copper to offer a bold presence in a room. According the American Lighting Association, silver finishes are growing popular, “with subtle antique and softly shining silver leaf offering a new elegance to classic chandeliers and modern lighting silhouettes.” And brass is back in a less glossy version of its former bright sheen.
5- DON’T OVERLOOK DETAILS
Under-cabinet lighting can reduce shadows on the counter and add critical light to work space. Mini-pendants mounted over a kitchen island can make countertop activities easier for everyone. And step lights around an island prevent stubbed toes during midnight snack runs.