Lighting in your kitchen is a very personal choice, however it is a very important aspect of how a kitchen can be more efficient and enjoyable to work in. It often deserves more thought than you might think, as you don’t want to have a beautiful kitchen but poor lighting, dark corners and lights behind you casting shadows over where you work can make it less desirable to work in.
Taking Canberra’s winter time into account, there is a large part of the work in the kitchen performed under artificial light – correct installation of appropriate light sources and fittings can enhance the mood of your kitchen whilst providing excellent light on the work spaces and food preparation areas.
Consider the colour that you want in your kitchen, a yellow glow or a sharp white light and if a dimmer would be suitable for this area. We can brighten your whole kitchen or we can just add a subtle glow, the choice is yours. Down lights throughout the kitchen area are ideal, taking particular care with placement over the sink, cook top and preparation area. Ideally, you want an even distribution of light with little or no shadowing. Internal lighting in overhead cabinets with glass doors gives you a nice opportunity to show off your favorite glassware.
The five light categories to consider
General circulation – Ambient light refers to the natural light around us, light fittings try to provide a similar effect, providing a background without creating shadows. Lights for general use are mostly ceiling mounted, or recessed into the ceiling. Depending on ceiling height the lights should be around 100W – 1.5m to 1.0m apart, the higher the ceiling the closer the lights. Care must be taken not to cause a glare. When using fluorescent tubes disregard the old-fashioned long tubes and get a more modern shape.
Accent – or Special Effects Lighting
A single light to illuminate a special item of interest or beauty. These are often new LED lights, with a strong clear white light to create a mood and to highlight special features, such as a beautifully crafted glass and timber wall unit. Internal cabinet lights with glass shelves to illuminate items inside the cabinetry. Under cabinetry lighting to give great bench top or spotlight splash backs. Ceiling lights positioned for awkward or bad light areas. Light pelmets can also be fitted on the wall above features or ceilings for extra down light.
A single light to provide extra assistance on work spaces; ensure that they are opaque and produce no glare – often implemented as desk mounted angle-lamps.
This light fitting is a decoration in its own right such as a chandelier, or a neon type art form. To display this well ensure that there are no shadows created or conflicting interference from other lighting.
Moving light sources, such as produced by a candle can produce a very special effect in the right kitchen setting. Its soft and gentle light is soothing to the eye and adds to the mood.
Light sources come in three different types
- LED Lights. These are more often used in modern fittings. They give off a clear, bright light, have a longer life of around 3000 hours, do not discolour and can be easily controlled through dimmers. But they do produce a lot of heat so heat-dispensers may need to be attached. They are excellent for Accent or Decorative lighting. Low voltage models can be installed for greater safety, but transformers are needed for these. LED’s may cost more upfront, but will substantially reduce the cost of your power bill. LED lighting tracing fitted under and around overhead cupboards will give your new kitchen an edge, making it look “cool” plus of course, adding more light.
- These LED lights can come in different colours and even flash should you want to. LED strip lighting placed underneath overhead cupboards is very effective offering extra lighting for that task or prep area that is in a corner and does not get the full potential from the down lights in the ceiling.
- Fluorescent “tubes” These lights have an important use in the home, they do not get very hot, so are safer in particular uses – low cost, cheap to run at about one tenth of old light bulbs – and have a life of around 8000 hours. Applying dimmers is not practical and the light itself is unflattering and sometimes a bit “harsh”. Modern fluorescent lights come in many shapes and sizes and are most often used in work areas and as ceiling lights.
- Old tungsten light bulb This is the usual light bulb for use in a home. It provides a warm light, whose brilliance is easily controlled through a dimmer. It is cheap to buy, but has a limited life of around 1000 hours, and is expensive to run. Largest normal use is 150 Watt. Bulbs blacken with age. Use appropriate tubes types to enhance the beauty of your kitchen’s mood – if you have colours in the range: pinks, reds to orange then use tubes Tri Phosphor 83; if the colour range is greens to blues then use Tri Phosphor 85 tubes.
Also consider the wall colours and its effect on light reflection. For example a matt, white plaster wall will reflect 70% of light, while a dark wall or floor may reflect only 10%. There is also a big difference between matt and gloss reflections and between daylight and artificial lighting.
We suggest that you test various fabrics and paint colours planned with the chosen lighting, if at all possible.
Note: The information provided here is to assist your Kitchen Design ideas – Aneka Kitchens & Joinery of Canberra does not quote supply of ceiling lights (typically only cabinet lights) – we have just supplied information on ceiling lighting to help with the whole design concept.
We suggest that you seek the advice from your local lighting specialist. Similarly, to the Kitchen market there is much development and innovation with respect to lighting and other electronic devices.
Taking this all into consideration will help you decide what type of fixtures you want and placement when planning the layout of your new kitchen.