It is Sunday morning. The weather outside is dark, cold and rainy. It is a wonderful day for spending time indoors, possibly baking. You have a great recipe for chocolate cake, a wonderful thing to have with a coffee on a winter afternoon. You start to prepare, following the award winning recipe in a magazine. When you have finished you put your feet up and wait for the cake to cook. When the timer has gone off and the cake has cooled sufficiently, you cut yourself a generous slice and make a cup of coffee. As you take your first taste, you await the dreamy taste of chocolate, only to be shocked with the bitter taste of cocoa and flour. What went wrong? You go to the recipe for answers and discover that you put the wrong amount of cocoa in the recipe. The lack of adequate kitchen lighting made it difficult to read the small writing. This is a sign that you may need new kitchen lighting. Kitchen lighting once only consisted of a single bulb, illuminating the entire kitchen. These days, kitchen lighting technology has come a long way and is now able to provide much better kitchen lighting. homify has found the best kitchen lighting upgrades for your kitchen.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous areas in the home for injuries including slips, burns and cuts. Many of these injuries could be avoided with better lighting in the kitchen. A single overhead light is no longer adequate to provide enough light to all areas of the kitchen. Areas such as underneath cupboards and in work spaces often do not get enough light. To ensure that all areas of the kitchen receive the correct amount of light a lighting plan should be drawn up. This plan will ensure that enough light is available by including task, ambient and general lighting, this includes work lights for specific areas, under cabinet lights for darker spots and recessed lighting to allow an all over kitchen illumination. With a well designed lighting plan working in a kitchen will be a delight rather than a dangerous chore.
Under cabinet lighting is a relatively recent creation. Kitchens of old did not always contain as many overhead cupboards as modern kitchens. The increase in cupboards has resulted in darker areas beneath them as they block the central overhead light. Light can also be blocked by our own bodies as we work on the surfaces beneath the cupboards. This created a potentially dangerous work situation as we many not have been able to see adequately when using sharp knives. Under cabinet lighting was created to combat these issues. It provides a way to be able to work safely in these once darkened areas of the kitchen. This makes under cabinet lighting important for kitchen safety. These lights were designed by Ogarredo.
When you have decided that under cabinet lighting is important to include in your kitchen lighting plan, it will now be time to choose what kind will be best for your kitchen. There are three main types of under cabinet lighting; fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting is the most economical of these. It consists of one long tube like bulb. The length of the bulb can be adjusted to fit different lengths of cabinet. They produce a cool light. Halogen lights resemble small discs evenly spaced underneath the cabinets. They provide a white, highly focused light, providing an excellent illumination for working. Incandescent lighting is highly versatile, coming in a variety of configurations and wattages. Although these provide better ambient light than work light.
Traditional one fixture ceiling mounted kitchen lights provided adequate general lighting but was often not good enough to light all areas of the kitchen. Track lighting provides an alternative ceiling light that allows more flexibility. Track lighting consists of a track, fixed to the ceiling on which a number of lights are fixed. These lights can move along the track and can swivel to focus on any area of the kitchen where additional light is required. Like under cabinet lights, track lights are available in three types; fluorescent, halogen and incandescent. As the individual lights are able to be moved to wherever they are needed, it allows an infinite number of arrangements to ensure that you are getting light exactly where you need it in your kitchen; for task lighting, accent lighting and general lighting.
Recessed lighting, or down lights, became popular in kitchen designs in the 1980s. Recessed lights consist of a single bulb fitted into a can which is built in to the ceiling space in a room. This provided a wide circular downward light. This was great for above work surfaces, but was quite limiting for lighting areas outside of this circle of light. Fortunately, new developments in recessed lighting has meant that this type of lighting can now be used to redirect light. Features such as eyeball trims can redirect light to 30 degrees, allowing illumination of deep cabinets. They fantastic lights can also be used to illuminate artwork and books on a shelf.
Lighting designers identify three types of lights when creating a basic lighting system; general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. As the name suggests task lighting is light focused on a particular area for work. Accent lighting provides room highlights to bring attention to certain elements of a room. General lighting provides light for our general navigation around a space. It is generally agreed that the majority of spaces in a house should have a combination of these lights. Although if you have a small kitchen, there may not be the space, or the budget to include three different lights. One way to give your existing lights flexibility of use is to include a dimmer switch. A dimmer switch allows you to brighten the lights while you are working, and dim the lights when you are in a more relaxed state and want an ambient light.
Many people are unaware that the type of bulb in their lights can affect the type of light that it produces. It is not only the wattage of the bulb, but also the type. Certain bulbs produce light that spreads in a wide arc around it, such as reflector flood lights, which cast a beam of light 70 degrees. Other bulbs cast a very narrow beam of light, such as a narrow spot bulb at 12 degrees. This is worth considering when choosing light bulbs for your lights. Consider also the height of lights in your kitchen. Pendant lights are not only attractive, but provide one of the best types of task lighting. As pendent light are in closer proximity to the work surface, more light reaches them, providing a better quality of illumination.
Good lighting in your kitchen is not only an aesthetic consideration, but also a practical and safety concern. With effective kitchen lighting, accidents are less likely to happen and recipes are less likely to be misread. When designing a lighting plan for your kitchen consider installing under cabinet lighting for practical as well as aesthetic purposes, track lighting for work areas, recessed lighting for inside cabinets and dimmer lights to enable better control on the general lighting. Consider also the type of light bulb you have installed in your lights, this will influence the effectiveness of your lights. For more lighting ideas see Lighting Tips for Every Room in the House.