How to light a kitchen
Updated: 2022-01-14
When designing your kitchen lighting, say a categorical “NO” to the location of a randomly chosen lamp in the geometrical centre of the ceiling. Regardless the design concept of the kitchen and its general role in the apartment, you should pay close attention to the number and the appearance of lighting fixtures, and seek to find the proper place for each of them. If a kitchen is small, general illumination can be formed by several task lights, but a spacious kitchen needs to be equipped with general-purpose overhead lights.
Overhead Lighting
An ambient overhead light is the best way to achieve general lighting. The main purpose of the overhead lighting is to illuminate the kitchen in the evening-time. Besides, if there is no window in the kitchen, the overhead lighting substitutes the day light.
General lighting can be created with the help of several overhead lamps that secure the light evenly distributed throughout the kitchen. However, this very often requires a large number of lighting fixtures. That is why instead of evenly lighting the space, it is better to concentrate the overhead sources across the essential functional zones of the kitchen, such as the work area, the dining table and the breakfast bar.
How to light a kitchen

For the lighting of the work area two variants of lamps can be effectively employed: a row of independent ceiling-mounted lights, and spot lights adjusted to the cornice of the upper cabinets.
The higher the ceiling, the longer can be the light cords. However, they should not be located lower than the upper edge of the cabinets; otherwise they will hinder opening of their doors.
If you have low ceilings, it is better not to overload them with lighting fixtures. Being a natural part of the kitchen cabinet, cornice makes an excellent place for the miniature sources of light.
Spot lamps with halogen tubes are widely used to illuminate the work are. However, this variant of lighting has become too popular and has already lost its originality. Recently, spot lights have been successfully substituted with elongated lamps.
Sometimes the mentioned types of general lighting are falsely called “accent lighting” and are regarded as decorative extravagances. In reality, the lighting properly mounted along the upper cabinet cornice plays a key role in light zoning of the working area.

Task Lighting
As a rule, overhead lighting alone is not sufficient for comfortable cooking and pleasant dining. Since kitchen, first of all, is a functional room, one of the leading roles in it is performed by the task lighting. The overhead light may not even be necessary, as it only supplements various types of the functional lighting.
Task lighting of the kitchen is formed by local sources of light. The lamp will be helpful only in the case it is adjusted in the right place and at the right level. The light shed should illuminate the countertop, the sink and the cooker area.
Sometimes it is sufficient to install lights into the kitchen hood.
If you decide to supplement the hood lights with other lamps, it is recommended to choose lights than would be similar spectrally. This will help to avoid colour and light mismatch, which is quite unpleasant for human eyes.Commonly, the lighting of the work area is created by lights installed under the upper cabinets. Elongated lamps securing even distribution of light across the countertop is the best option, especially if the kitchen has an extended counter. Being compact, such lamps are virtually invisible; and if you are seeking to have concealed lighting, they are the best choice. Autonomous lamps is a perfect solution for a kitchen without upper cabinets. In this case virtually all types of wall lights can be used, given that they suit the general style of the kitchen.
The most mobile version of the working light in the kitchen are the lamps on the “pins”. Once hung, it can be removed easily if you don’t like them any longer.

Accent lighting
Accent lighting plays an aesthetic rather than functional role: it helps to highlight specific features of your kitchen.
A pleasant addition to the basic kitchen illumination is lighting up the contents of the upper cabinets that have transparent or semi-transparent doors. Of course, you can do without a lamp in the cabinet, but as soon as you try it you will feel the difference. Warm and soft light coming out through the cabinet doors creates a cosy atmosphere in the kitchen.

Above the Dining Table
Special attention should be given to the light in the dining zone. Creating an atmosphere for dining, you cannot rely on the general light only.
The arrangement of the lignt in the dining zone depends on the location of the table.
Two essential variants of table arrangement are possible:

  1. table is independent
  2. table adjoins the wall

In the first case, a single lamp is typically hung on the ceiling above the table. Its hight can be regulated, so think what you are seeking to achieve: a highly located lamp makes table more solemn, whereas a low one creates an intimate and relaxing atmosphere.
The most important requirement for the light above the table is to light up the whole table. So, the lampshade should secure intensive light directed towards the tabletop. The rest of the kitchen can be immersed in the dark or half shade, depending on the upper part of the lampshade.
A big dining table can be illuminated by a group of small lights having a long base.
If you like to make rearrangements in the kitchen, it is not recommended to make holes in the ceiling for a permanent light. Instead, place a floor lamp with an arching stand beside the table and direct its light towards the tabletop.
A table standing beside the wall can be lit with one or two wall sconces adjusted one metre above the the tabletop. It is ideal if a sconce has a long holder and its light is directed downwards.
What is more, a high table lamp with a thick lampshade looks quite well on the dining table. Remember that a lamp can be an elegant highlight, decorating your table not only in the evening-time, but also during the day.

Finally, have in mind that

1. Work area needs intensive lighting. Neutral spectre of lamps is preferable.
2. Lighting of dining table should make the food look attractive. Soft and subtle light creates a comfortable atmosphere for the meal.

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