Lighting a kitchen is more complicated than lighting most other rooms in your home. General or ambient lighting is required but so is specific lighting required for tasks like cooking and food prep. Accent lighting is optional but adds character and ambience to the look and feel of your kitchen. The bottom line is that a single fixture will not accomplish the task of lighting a kitchen and there are several lighting styles and features to consider. Generally there are three types of lighting to keep in mind for a kitchen and it is best to make light fixture selections at the design phase of a remodel because rewiring and moving lights later on will result in additional expenses.
General or ambient lighting illuminates the entire kitchen area and if there are windows, they can provide additional natural light. Soft ambient lighting creates a warm and welcoming feel to your kitchen and can be achieved with a variety of lighting styles like pendant, recessed, flush mounted, chandelier and track fixtures.
Task lighting is essential in the kitchen and provides illumination to smaller, more specific areas like food prep and cooking zones. This type of lighting can be achieved with direct light from LED strips under a cabinet, recessed (can), pendant or track lighting over a specific part of the kitchen countertop or island. It’s important to select and place a light fixture so that it doesn’t cast a shadow in prepping areas to ensure safe food preparation. Task lights can also be used in an eat-in area of your kitchen, with a light that dims for a softer ambience which is more appropriate for dining.
Accent lighting is used to feature certain points of interest like artwork, collectables, a backsplash or an architectural detail. It can also be applied to give a soft or warm feel to a certain space and be decorative to compliment the style of a room. Strip lighting under cabinets or counters, sconces, track and recessed lights can be used for effective accent lighting. Accents may also be utilized as additional task or ambient lighting.