Lighting your Kitchen
Kitchens have always been the heart of the home and since Covid, they've been working even harder as they double up as a home office, bakery, dining room and general all rounder. Inspired by Architectural Digest's 22 of the Best and Brightest kitchens, we started thinking about the role that lighting plays in our kitchens.
Kitchens are very personal - less formal than a dining room and less private than a bedroom, they allow us to showcase our personalities from our food choices to our taste in music. Whether you favour slick contemporary with white marble counter tops or more traditional designs, kitchens really tell us a lot about their owners. And while we all want our most used room to reflect our aesthetic, it also needs to function well and lighting is a key element of this. So how do we decide what types of lighting we should have in our kitchen?
Well, firstly we need to think about the functional aspects of our kitchen - how we use our kitchen from day to day - and then think about the type of lighting that we need to fulfil those functions.
Task lighting as the term suggests, is used for performing tasks - cooking, cleaning, doing homework - and it needs to be bright in order for us to be able to see properly. In today's kitchens the most common form of task lighting is to have spotlights that sit in the ceiling or under cupboards. Spotlights are small and bright and while they can be fiddly to replace, are great for giving us that bright light overhead. They can create quite a clinical feel on their own so best used over specific work zones in the kitchen. When combined with ambient or decorative lighting you get the best of both worlds.
This is our speciality - lighting that complements the aesthetic and works as a feature in itself, lights a space and helps create an ambience. If your kitchen doubles up as a space for entertaining or relaxing then decorative lighting is flattering and atmospheric and helps to switch (literally) the mood from functional to relaxing. Decorative lighting comes in many forms - ceiling lights, wall lights and floor or table lamps can all be decorative, so if you go back to thinking about the different functions your kitchen performs, this can help determine where you might use decorative lighting. Decorative lighting is the most linked to your personal aesthetic and will tend to tie in with your overall decorative scheme. As decorative lighting is often quite prominent in a room, its important to consider how it will look when switched off and during daylight hours.
Accent lighting is used where to want to create a focal point in a room - perhaps over a painting, in a corner or to highlight something that you have on display. Table lamps, floor or standard lamps can provide accent lighting depending on where they are located. You can also purchase specific types of accent lighting where the light is focused in a specific direction - particularly in the case of lighting paintings or artwork. These lights are more about the objects in the room rather than the general ambience but combined with other forms of lighting can transform a space and create character and a specific mood.
Ambient lighting refers to how well a space is lit and this depends on the choice and volume of lighting so should be considered last in lighting design. Ambient light can be achieved through successful layering of decorative and task lighting and will depend on how bright both of these are. So, if your task lights and your decorative ceiling lights and floor lamps create the right kind of mood and allow you to move successful through a space then that might be sufficient for your needs. If not, then additional lighting can be added to level up the ambient light in the space.
Mixing it Up
Most interior designers and architects will recommend a mixture of all of the above. For your kitchen, the best is a mix of task lighting and decorative lighting, especially if your kitchen doubles up as an area where you spend a lot of time. Where you have an open plan arrangement, then using decorative lighting over specific areas like the dining area or seated area can help differentiate it. If you have a zone that is multi-functional then decorative lighting works wonders. For example, if you have a kitchen island that is used for cooking during the day, homework in the afternoon, and a cocktail bar when entertaining, then spotlights in combination with a ceiling light will transform the space when the kids are gone to bed and friends are over.
Ultimately, you will know best how your family and your kitchen works so spending a bit of time thinking about how you use this space will help. We make a range of decorative lighting which is handmade, to order and can be made to any dimensions or specification.
If you'd like some help, then we've love to talk to you and for some inspiration have a look at photos that our customers have shared of their homes.