It won’t come as any surprise but until recently, last 5 to 10 years, lighting in the kitchen mainly consisted of a single central light with people believing that would be sufficient. How times change. With the advent of LED lighting coupled with the kitchen becoming the central hub of the home and in part due to the numerous cooking shows now on the television, the average person wants to try more adventurous recipes. This has created the need for better lighting to not only read the recipe but also allow you to work on the more intricate parts.
There are several aspects to take into account when planning your lighting, the three main are task, ambient and natural lighting. Get these three right and you can have a visually stunning kitchen at night that also functions perfectly when cooking. But how do we gets these right you may ask? No two spaces are exactly alike; therefore, like your kitchen your lighting design must be custom designed to meet your needs. When talking to your kitchen designer find out how experienced they are with lighting plans. I always provide my clients with their lighting plans, however if your designer doesn't specialise in this area I would recommend engaging a lighting designer, if I have a very complex space I will often engage such a person. Any good lighting supplier should have one on their team.
Things to remember:
- Task lighting should be over your cook top, any prep areas and your cleaning zone. These should be either fluorescent or halogen. Natural light is also good task lighting, however not in a high prep area.
- Ambient lighting is your LED and in some cases your pendant lights. LEDs are fantastic as they bring a bit of drama to your kitchen. Some of my clients leave the LED light on around the toe kicks to provide the little glow at night in case they need a glass of water as it provides enough light that they don’t need to turn any other lighting on. As they are a cold, low wattage light these can be left on all night.
- Natural light, sun, always makes us feel healthy and gives us a sense of general well-being. If possible try not to have this directly onto your prep and cooking areas, mainly as it can get quite hot but also isn't good for food to be left in the sun. Unfortunately, with renovations this is not always possible.
We lovingly call this the ‘“-disco-”’ kitchen. LED lighting has been placed all around the island as well as in the front. These change colour and can be set to the beat of their music. Task lighting is in the roof and in the range-hood. As there is a lot of natural light, their central prep area is in the scullery behind the main kitchen.
In this kitchen I have used task lighting in both the roof and the back wall. The island features a light box with LED lighting for ambiance and the natural light is coming from windows directly opposite.