Basics of Kitchen Lighting for Your Home

Photo byCapitol Lighting

As the hub of your home, the kitchen deserves illumination worthy of the multifunction space it is. Find out how to light your kitchen right.

Considering everything that happens in this multi-use space, a well-lit kitchen is essential. On any given day, the kitchen may be used for family gatherings, homework, food prep, and cooking as well as being an area to show off your style. This area needs several types of lighting to fulfill its functional and decorative needs. Kitchen lighting design basics include layering in sophisticated lighting levels to increase productivity and safety while adding appeal to the kitchen, the hub of your home.

While lack of natural light is often the culprit behind dimly lit kitchens, the wrong type of artificial lighting can exacerbate the issue. When refreshing your lighting design, it's essential to consider everything from the lighting needs in the space to the type of fixture you choose. Visiting a lighting store near you is the best way to get expert advice.

General Lighting vs. Work Lighting in the Kitchen

Kitchen lighting often requires more planning than other rooms in the home. With most rooms, the goal is to create layered lighting and add decorative touches that support the room's décor. And when you want to add light to specific areas of the room, it is easy to add a desk or floor lamp for task lighting.

In kitchens, the lighting design needs to be more intentional. Table and flood lamps used for task lighting rarely find a place in kitchens. This means that ceiling lights often have to provide general lighting and work lighting.

General Lighting

Also called ambient lighting, general lighting illuminates the entire kitchen. It creates a base level of illumination in the kitchen. If you're lucky enough to get plenty of natural light during the day, that's your general lighting. However, kitchens are used at all times of the day or night, so various options are needed to provide general lighting.

General or ambient lighting fills the kitchen with an appealing glow. It can be functional as well as decorative, but it is never harsh and abrasive. It often sets the tone or mood in the space.

Work Lighting

Also called task lighting, this lighting focuses on specific zones, such as countertop prep areas, cooking areas, and kitchen islands. Although work lighting serves a functional and practical purpose – illuminating the workspace so you can see what you are doing – it doesn't have to be boring. Undercabinet lighting can create a soft glow while increasing visibility in food prep areas.

In addition to general and work lighting, the kitchen also needs the third layer – accent lighting. This type of lighting is used to accent special features of the kitchen. It can be a pair of pendants hung over the breakfast bar or strip lights inside glass-front cabinets. The ideal lighting plan in the kitchen combines strategically placed work, ambient, and accent lighting.

Types of Kitchen Lighting

Well-thought-out illumination can transform a dark kitchen into a light and bright space. It can also set the tone for the rest of your home. Your lighting can make the kitchen feel bigger, brighter, and cozier—everything you want for the heart of your home.

Recessed Lighting

Also called can light, recessed lighting provides the intense brightness needed in some areas of the kitchen island or countertop. These lights are flush with the ceiling and don't take up visual or physical space. This makes them compatible with many different kitchen styles. However, since recessed lights point downward, if anything obstructs the light emitted, it will create a shadow.

Track Lighting

Due to its versatility, track lighting has become increasingly popular for kitchen lighting. Unlike recessed lighting, track lighting is mounted on the surface of the ceiling, and individual fixtures move along the track quickly so they can be positioned where needed. They can also be removed or added depending on the kitchen's lighting needs.

Flush-Mount or Ceiling Fixtures

Possibly the most recognized type of kitchen lighting, flush-mount or ceiling lights provide ambient or general illumination throughout the room. The best styles emit light in all directions, including uplight on the ceiling. Simply flip a switch, and the entire kitchen is bathed in light. However, this type of lighting does not illuminate counters or offer focused light the way recessed, or track lighting can.

Hanging Pendant Fixtures

One way to illuminate areas that ceiling lights can't reach is to install pendant lights. Hanging pendants focuses light onto the countertops or kitchen island. They also add stylish flair to the kitchen design. Depending on the size of the kitchen, they can be hung in multiples, even as many as three or four. When spaced out correctly, all work areas in the kitchen will have proper lighting.

When considering refreshing or ever totally revamping your kitchen lighting, check out a lighting store in Eatontown to find the best selection and expert advice.

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Worked at Diario da Manhã, BR

Kennesaw, GA

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