Lighting isn’t just functional. If it was, that old ceiling light centered in the middle of the room would be enough. After all, it sends light off in all directions, right? Except that it isn’t really all that functional.
It’s a good thing that range hoods come with their own light source. Otherwise, cooking would be a very dark task indeed.
Luckily, we’ve come a long way from the days when we’d rely solely on that central ceiling light fixture.
The first change is the look. Central ceiling lights are no longer indistinct covers for a bulb. Now, they take on personality. Designers incorporate colorful and fancy chandeliers that, at another point in time, would have been found only in hallways or dining rooms. But now, the kitchen has really become the heart of the home. We not only prepare meals in that space, we also hang out there. Most people who have the kitchen space will place a couch or comfy seating there so that the kitchen also becomes the family room.
The next change to lighting in kitchen design set its sights squarely on functionality. If you’ve ever tried to cook in a kitchen with poor lighting, you’ll know how hard it can be. The shadows cast by the light, usually a centered ceiling light, make it hard to see what you’re doing. That’s definitely a drawback when you’re chopping quickly with a sharp knife!
When you’re designing your kitchen, think about where you will be doing most of the food prep. That’s where you’ll want to install under-the-counter lights or ceiling track lights that can be moved and angled according to your needs. You’ll find that focussed lighting actually reduces your overall need for lighting in the kitchen. One small bulb aimed at your work surface might provide enough lighting so that you don’t even need to turn on any more lights. Remember: task lighting is key.
Kitchen traffic patterns are built into the design. Are there two entrances to your kitchen? The type of lighting you choose will encourage people to move through the kitchen in particular ways. Place a pretty chandelier, perhaps with dimmable lights, over a table or island. That ambient glow will direct family and guests to station themselves there, share a drink, eat snacks, all while you continue to prep the meal.
Over to you: have any lighting ideas or questions? Let us know!