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Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Shedding functional and stylish light on the kitchen does not require special skills or hiring professional designers. You can do it on your own by simply following specific steps when arranging proper lighting in the cooking and dining areas.

Today, we are going to discuss some baseline features that will help you calculate the needed amount of light, decide on the fixtures, and make them match your kitchen interior without indulging in time-consuming and expensive project creation.

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Three Major Types of Kitchen Lights

Like every other lighting, kitchen lights serve three major purposes:

  • General lighting to let you see everything around.
  • Accent lighting to highlight specific working areas and zones.
  • Decorative lighting stresses some of the exclusive kitchen design ideas.

Those are the types that actually every room needs. However, in terms of the kitchen, there are specific rules we need to keep in mind. Let’s have a closer look at each type in detail to figure out how they can harmoniously coexist together within a single space.

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General Kitchen Lighting – Chandelier vs Spotlights

We are going to start with the general kitchen lighting. It is a central light utilized with a fixture usually placed on the ceiling. The main mission is to shed light evenly throughout the entire room. So, it is very important to select a matching lamp or chandelier.

To decide on the needed fixture, we need to think of the kitchen style, room shape, sizes, and other crucial factors. For example, if you plan to handle a chandelier on the ceiling, you need to think of proper wiring first. Spotlights are a bit easier to mount although they cannot fit specific styles.

Common mistake: some people place a chandelier right in the center of the ceiling, which is not correct. You need to figure out how the lamp will interact with other objects. Is there enough light for the fringe or tabletop?  

A good idea is to have a room plan with all furniture already arranged. Then, you need to draw a triangle, stepping a bit from the edge of the kitchen set. The last stage is to locate the central point, which would be the best spot for your chandelier.

Note: always consider the shape of the room. If it is narrow and long, a chandelier will hardly be a good idea. Spotlights will appear to be a more functional alternative. The process is still the same. You need to find the center of the ceiling, stepping a bit from the kitchen set, and then place lamps alongside furniture.

Some of the fixtures and lamps should not be used for general lighting, for example, rail lights that are becoming extremely popular, especially in loft-style spaces. However, they generally come with a visually overweight construction, which will suit only rooms with high ceilings. Besides, they are more complicated for mounting.

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Accent Lighting

When you have already made up your mind about general lighting, you may start projecting the location of accent fixtures and lamps. Why do we actually need accent lighting? First of all, to make it comfortable for us to work on the working surface while cooking.

To ensure maximum functionality, it is better to use two levels of accent lighting. The first one should be placed on the ceiling or in a special box mounted right above the kitchen cabinets. Spot or recessed lights will work just fine for this purpose. Make sure to place them about 45 cm from the wall to ensure enough space for cabinets.

Common mistake: most newbies forget to consider the diameter of the lamp. If the fixture is too big, reserve more space for the cabinet between the wall and the lamp.

Note: if the kitchen is narrow, you have probably chosen spotlights for the general lighting. Then, you DO NOT need the 1st-level accent fixtures. Skip to the second level right at once.

The second level of accent lighting is generally placed underneath the upper row of kitchen cabinets. Earlier, people would place spotlights there. However, the trends have changed. LED kitchen lights will be a more functional alternative.

They are very easy to mount, do not require lamp replacement, and do not counteract with the room interior.

The second level of lighting adds functionality. It is a handy option for people with bad sight or if a room does not have windows to let the natural light in. Last but not least, the lighter your kitchen is, the better.

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Wiring and Switches

The main challenge for many homeowners is to arrange light before the kitchen set is ready. In other words, you need to plan and arrange all wiring beforehand. For accent lighting, you need to make sure there is at least 160 cm from the floor to the upper kitchen cabinet.  

A good idea is to arrange a separate switch for the 2-level lighting or use a built-in one. Modern models offer movement sensors that will automatically switch the light on as soon as someone walks in.

Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting creates a specific atmosphere whether you are drinking tea with family and friends or having a romantic dinner. As a rule, decorative light is placed in the dining area. Let’s have a look at three major types:

  1. Hanging kitchen lamps with a long wire. They will work great if the general lighting is arranged with the help of spotlights, not chandeliers.
  2. Sconces. They will shed light on the dining area and serve as décor.
  3. Table lamps. You will need something to place them on (either a console or a chest).

After we have decided on the type of kitchen lighting we need, let’s move to the next level where we need to select proper lamps and light fixtures for the kitchen.

Choosing Light Fixtures for the Kitchen

Firstly, all fixtures must match in style. Besides, they should be made of the same material even if you opt for different brands or manufacturers. A good idea is to buy ready-to-use sets with chandeliers, sconces, and other fixtures of the same style.

The next thing to consider is lighting specs. Measure the space you want to shed light on and check that a chosen lamp has enough capacity to produce as much light you need. Luckily, you do not have to do all the measurements yourself. All the information is displayed in the package by the manufacturer. Just make sure to choose fixtures for general lighting with quite a bigger capacity in accordance with the room dimensions.

Light source temperature is the key parameter, especially if you buy LED lights. Warmer yellow tones work better for the kitchen (between 2,500K and 4,000K, where K is the value of the light source temperature).

Common mistake: avoid all lamps of the same light temperature. Implement various lighting kitchen scenarios instead. 

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Choosing Light Fixtures for the Kitchen

Firstly, all fixtures must match in style. Besides, they should be made of the same material even if you opt for different brands or manufacturers. A good idea is to buy ready-to-use sets with chandeliers, sconces, and other fixtures of the same style.

The next thing to consider is lighting specs. Measure the space you want to shed light on and check that a chosen lamp has enough capacity to produce as much light you need. Luckily, you do not have to do all the measurements yourself. All the information is displayed in the package by the manufacturer. Just make sure to choose fixtures for general lighting with quite a bigger capacity in accordance with the room dimensions.

Light source temperature is the key parameter, especially if you buy LED lights. Warmer yellow tones work better for the kitchen (between 2,500K and 4,000K, where K is the value of the light source temperature).

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