Lighting Design for the Kitchen

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Choices made as to what types of lighting to use, and how it will be used, can make the difference between a room that really works for its occupants and one that is uncomfortable to be in, difficult to work in, and disappoints its designer.

Lighting is not decoration.  A lighting instrument, like a crystal chandelier or antique wall sconce may be in and of itself be a beautiful element in a room, but if the light it emits is prohibitively expensive or doesn’t contribute to the overall lighting design, it’s superfluous.

A good lighting design must be appropriate to all potential uses of a space.  In a kitchen, meals are prepared and often eaten.  This takes place when the sun is up and when it is dark outside.  People of all ages may be present.  Occasionally, homework or bank account juggling may take place at the table.

The best way to incorporate these many tasks, and others that may pertain to a certain situation, is to plan for them.

A good, general lighting needs to be available in the kitchen.  This should be an indirect, diffuse source located high in the room.  It must be able to be controlled by the occupants of the room, whether by dimmer or through switches that will allow individual fixtures, or small groups, to be added or subtracted as desired.  Then consideration should be given to individual areas, and lighting that is appropriate to their specific uses (called task lighting) should be incorporated into the design.

In the kitchen, the areas that would benefit most from task lighting are the eating surface, the countertops, usually located under the cabinets, the cooking surface on top of the stove, and the sink.

In many of these applications, under cabinet mounted LED light strips can provide an economical, beautiful, environmentally friendly lighting solution.  Precise control over color temperature of this light is available with this technology, electronic dimmers can control the level of light output with pinpoint accuracy, and the fixtures themselves provide control over the direction of the light, reducing glare and increasing the beauty and efficiency of your design.

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