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The Art Of Kitchen Lighting – How To Use Lighting To Enhance Your Space

Though easily overlooked, lighting plays a crucial role in creating a beautiful and practical kitchen. It is not only essential to achieving a warm and inviting atmosphere but also to establishing a functional and safe space for cooking and entertaining. Here at Elements, we love helping our clients discover the perfect lighting to take their interiors to the next level. With over twenty-five years of experience, our award-winning designers know exactly what it takes to create stunning, long-lasting kitchens that complement your needs. In this article, we will share our specialist expertise as we delve into the world of kitchen lighting. We’ll talk you through all the different types of lighting, offering tips to help you perfectly illuminate your space!

Types Of Kitchen Lighting

Before we discuss your plans, it’s important to understand a few basics. Let’s start with the main types of kitchen lighting…

Ambient Lighting – Often taking the form of natural daylight and ceiling lights, ambient lighting casts light throughout your whole kitchen. It provides the base level of illumination required to navigate and use your space comfortably day and night. Recessed downlights offer a sleek and unobtrusive solution. Flush mount lights and spotlights are also popular.

Task Lighting – Task lighting is designed to illuminate the areas of your kitchen where you carry out tasks such as food preparation, cooking, and cleaning. This type of lighting makes daily activities easier and safer. Under-cabinet lighting is one of the most popular forms of task lighting. However, you can also use pendants and track lights to illuminate specific work surfaces.

Accent Lighting – Accent lighting is purely for decorative purposes. It can be used to highlight design features such as architectural details, artwork, or display cabinets. Alternatively, you can simply use it as mood lighting. Accent lighting will add another dimension to your space, enhancing your kitchen’s aesthetic. Plinth/kick lights, shelf/cabinet lighting, pendant lights, uplighting, wall sconces, table lamps, and even neon signs all make excellent accent lighting options.

Choosing The Right Bulbs

It might sound silly, but selecting the correct light bulbs is crucial to achieving the desired atmosphere and ensuring energy efficiency. These days, most homeowners are switching to LED bulbs. LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient and long-lasting option. They can help you save money on household bills and minimise waste. Hence, they are the ones we would recommend. Alternatively, you can buy CFLs which are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Perhaps the more important factor to consider is which colour temperature to choose. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and determines the hue of the light emitted by a bulb. Lower Kelvin values (around 2700K) produce a warm, yellowish light, while higher values (around 5000K) emit a cool, bluish-white light. For a cosy and inviting atmosphere, bulbs with a colour temperature between 2700K and 3500K are ideal.

Lighting Control Options

Once you’ve created your perfect lighting scheme, you’ll want to ensure you have the level of control required to tailor your lighting to different activities throughout the day. There are a few options to consider when it comes to lighting control.

First of all, we recommend installing your lighting on multiple different circuits. Dividing your kitchen lighting into separate circuits gives you greater control and flexibility. For example, you might have one circuit for ambient lighting and another for task lighting, allowing you to prepare coffee for your guests without ruining the cosy ambience!

Dimmer switches can also help you achieve the perfect atmosphere day and night, allowing you to adjust the brightness of your kitchen to suit your needs. They can be combined with multiple circuits, resulting in the ultimate versatile lighting scheme.

Another option worth considering is smart lighting. Smart lighting enables you to control your kitchen lighting remotely via your smartphone or other devices, offering outstanding convenience and efficiency. With smart lighting, you can schedule your lights to turn on or off at specific times, adjust the temperature and brightness, or even sync your lighting with your favourite music. Some popular smart lighting products include the Philips Hue system, Lutron Caséta Wireless, and the IKEA TRÅDFRI range.

How To Create A Bespoke Lighting Scheme To Enhance Your Space

Lighting can transform the look and feel of almost any space. Whether you’re planning to create a cosy focal point for your family home or a chic open-plan kitchen ideal for entertaining, a well-thought-out lighting scheme will undoubtedly take your interior to new heights. Now you understand some of the options available, it’s time to start planning a scheme that works for you.

Assess Your Individual Needs

To ensure your lighting really helps you make the most of your kitchen, you’ll need to spend some time evaluating your space and how you intend to use it. Often, the easiest way to start is by identifying the areas that require task lighting, for example, your worktops, kitchen island, hob, sink area, or even breakfast pantry. Once you’ve done this, you can start weighing up potential solutions. These will normally include under-cabinet lighting, pendant lights, integrated LEDs, wall lights, or track lighting.

No matter how you intend to use your kitchen, you will also require some form of ambient lighting. In which case, you will need to consider what suits your space best. In a large room or a kitchen with low ceilings, sleek recessed downlights may be preferable. Alternatively, a smaller space may only require a single light source. Thus, one flush-fitting ceiling light might be suitable.

These days, kitchens are much more than just places to cook. Hence most of our clients also opt to introduce accent lighting to their space. If your kitchen includes a sociable island or a cosy dining area, why not entice guests to take a seat by hanging a beautiful glowing pendant light above your chosen feature? Or perhaps you have some interesting architectural details that are worth highlighting?

Whether you’re looking forward to entertaining in your spacious new kitchen diner or hoping to turn your compact galley kitchen into a chef’s paradise, a well-thought-out bespoke lighting scheme will help you get so much more from your space.

Layering Different Types Of Lighting

As you begin outlining your needs, you will notice that your lighting requirements fall naturally into the three key categories we explained at the start – ambient, task, and accent lighting. While your specific requirements will vary, incorporating all three types of lighting into your design is an excellent way to create a versatile space that adapts to your needs.

As well as layering different lighting styles, it’s also worth considering the brightness of each fixture. If all your lighting is very bright, your kitchen will feel jarring and cold – too dim, and you won’t be able to use your kitchen safely. Balancing bright task lighting with softer accents will not only ensure your kitchen is both functional and stylish but will also accentuate the complexity and elegance of your lighting scheme.

From selecting the perfect combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to deciding how to control each fixture, there’s much more to creating a beautiful and practical lighting scheme than simply installing a series of downlights and pendant lights. Furthermore, getting your lighting design right could be just what you need to take your kitchen to the next level. If you have any questions about incorporating lighting into your kitchen or would like to discuss your project with our experienced team, we would love to hear from you. Simply call us on 0118 959 9919 or email [email protected].

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