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Which Is the Best Lighting for Kitchens and Where to Use Them?

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

The kitchen is one of those rooms where design must be highly intentional. Kitchen lighting must be bright to keep the area looking spacious. It should make it easy to see the food you are cooking and spot ingredients inside your shelves. As McKenna & Vane Management points out, the lighting inside your kitchen should be flexible as well as beautiful.

How do you create a kitchen lighting scheme that is stylish and functional? That is the purpose of this post. Here we look at the different kitchen lighting options and how to use them. When you finish reading this post, you will know how to mix different types of lights for your kitchen and make them work efficiently.

How to plan a lighting scheme for your kitchen

A well-lit kitchen requires a plan, but you cannot plan well if you do not understand the peculiar lighting needs of a kitchen. If you pick the adequate lighting, you might increase your home value. There are three kinds of essential lighting for every kitchen, namely:

Ambient lighting

These create the overall ambiance of the kitchen. They aid navigation and serve as the main lighting source for your kitchen. They are typically positioned on the highest points in a kitchen – ceilings and walls – and shed light evenly across the entire kitchen. Examples of ambient lighting include:

  • Flush mount ceiling lights: Flush mount lights are popular and highly efficient. If your kitchen is small or medium-sized, you may get enough illumination with just one or two of these. Like all ambient lights, the higher they are set, the better lighting they produce.

  • Recessed lights: Recessed lights are the standard for ambient lighting. They have better aesthetics than flush mount lights since they are designed to fit seamlessly into the ceiling. When installing recessed lights in a medium-sized kitchen, you may need 3-6 lights. Your lights will look better if positioned in a grid.

Task lighting

Task lighting makes up for the shortfalls of ambient lighting; it dispels shadows from places the ambient lighting cannot reach. They project a bright beam of light on work surfaces and specific areas of the kitchen. Task lighting must include over sinks, counters, cooking surfaces, and tables. Examples of kitchen task lighting include:

  • Track lights: These are strips of light arranged linearly and suspended from the ceiling. Track lights are excellent focus lights; they are typically installed over the kitchen island or kitchen counter.

  • Adjustable pendant lights: Pendant lights combine aesthetics and function. They are suspended from the ceiling to provide focused light on a kitchen island, countertop, or sink. Adjustable pendant lights let you alter the height of the light by pulling down on the light or a counterweight.

  • Under cabinet lighting: As the name suggests, these lights are located under your kitchen cabinets and shed light directly on the worktop. Under cabinet lights come in a wide variety, but one of the most popular types are LED strip lights, which are highly versatile and can be installed in various settings.

  • Puck lights: These are typically installed on the inside of the cabinet. They include a micro switch or motion sensor that activates the light when the cabinet door is opened. The light goes off when the cabinet is closed. These lights make it easy to find things stored inside the cabinets.

Accent lighting

Accent lights are mostly decorative; they add an aesthetic flourish to your existing lights. They may be used to create focal points of interest by deploying them to highlight key features of the kitchen. Accent lights can also double as ambient or task lighting. Examples of accent lighting for the kitchen include:

  • Wall sconces: The main difference between these types of lighting fixtures and flush-mounted lights are the placement of the lights. Wall sconces are installed on the wall rather than on the ceiling. They are stylish and modern and help light up any space without sufficient illumination.

  • Pendant lights: Pendant lights, although most often used as task lighting, may also be employed as accent lights. In this case, the lights are not positioned directly over a work surface but may be over the dining area. These types of pendant lights typically let you adjust light intensity to create the right mood.

Other considerations

Other things to keep in mind when designing a lighting scheme for your kitchen are:

  • The various surfaces in the kitchen

The colors of the surfaces in your kitchen will influence how much lighting you need in the kitchen. Kitchens with dark floors and countertops often need more light sources than those with light surfaces. Typically, kitchens with dark surfaces need one-third more light.

  • The colors in the kitchen

The colors on kitchen walls and cabinets also influence the number of light sources you need in a kitchen. White light and white surfaces mean you will need fewer light sources in the kitchen. Lighter paint also means you can lower the wattage of the bulbs used in the kitchen.

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