The Secret to Great Kitchen Lighting Is in the Layers
If your kitchen is a big room, you may be a little baffled at where to start when it comes to lighting. But if you break it down into layers, it’s not so confusing. Basically, there are four types or layers of lighting and each one has a specific job to do. The four types of lighting are:
- Ambient Lighting
- Task Lighting
- Accent Lighting
- Decorative Lighting
The best place to start is with the ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is the main light in the room. The biggest mistake people make in lighting a kitchen is to try to make one center light work for the whole room. The result is too much light concentrated in a small space and not enough light on the outer edges. Glaring light and shadows are the result. Ambient lighting should create a soft glow that fills the room and invites people in. Instead of one bright central light, a better option would be recessed down lights, track lighting or pendants over the island.
Task lighting is exactly what it sounds like – lighting a specific area to help complete a specific task. Task lighting is usually required on countertops or other work areas including islands where you might be chopping vegetables or reading a recipe. It illuminates the area better and gets rid of any shadows caused by the ambient light. If task lighting is located incorrectly, it can cause annoying shadows while you work. An ideal place for task lighting is under the upper cabinets. Don’t forget about a light above the pantry as well.
Accent lighting gives depth and dimension to a kitchen. Its name is the easiest to remember as it accents specific pieces of art or décor. Accent lighting is the least common layer in the kitchen, but it is becoming more popular as kitchens are being used for entertaining as much as utilitarian reasons. Track lighting, directional eyeball lights and wall sconces and lights place inside glass front cabinets are all examples of accent fixtures.
Decorative lighting is the lighting that stands alone as a decorative piece. It could be chandelier or pendant lighting over an island or a decorative fitting. One designer described it as architectural jewelry. It’s the lighting that catches your eye and people comment on.
No single light source can provide all the necessary light for a kitchen. A well-lit kitchen layers and blends the different types of light. A good plan blends lighting into the architectural and decorative details of the room, but if your budget is tight, you can still plan ahead during the remodel and install electrical boxes where you’ll want to add lights in the future, for example fancy pendant lights over the center island. Then you can purchase them at a later date and the installation will be a snap! We partner with local lighting retailers to get you the best selection at the best price.