Kitchen Lighting

The Kitchen is today’s gathering place for friends and family. At our house it seems always to be the place where everyone ends up while dinner is being prepared. No matter how many deep, cozy armchairs the living room has to offer, or how inviting the deck is on a warm summer evening, everyone is leaning against the kitchen counters, glass in hand, making my last minute food preparation a very familiar (and comfortable) dance. It’s just a fact: the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also usually the busiest room of the house. Today’s multi-functional kitchen spaces are not only used for cooking, but also for visiting with friends, home work, reading the paper and just relaxing.
The kitchen asks for efficient lighting at a fairly bright level for tasks as well as decorative lighting to create an inviting, livable space. Just like in any other living space is important to create multiple layers of light in the kitchen. Task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting will together create the inviting atmosphere you want. Try to think about the general feel of your home and continue the color temperature from other areas of the house into the kitchen.
Kitchen counters and other work areas need to be well lit and free of shadows. Fluorescent or low voltage under cabinet lighting strips provide effective task lighting. Fluorescent lighting fixtures are well suited because they are efficient, providing more lumens per watt. They do not put out much heat and they create an even light, and with the newer electronic ballasts, they do not flicker or hum anymore!
Low voltage lighting illuminates decorative objects and surfaces dramatically. Over shiny, black marble surfaces they will create drama, but be aware: they will also give off a lot of glare. If you are lighting a kitchen island with a very reflective surface and this is your primary work area, you might want to choose a fixture where the low voltage bulb does not shine directly onto the work area, or even choose a softer light source, like an incandescent or fluorescent fixture.
A breakfast area is also frequently used for reading, so good overhead light is a must. Here the decor determines the style: from chandeliers to high-tech flexible track lighting with colorful pendants the choice is yours. As with dining tables, the light over the breakfast table should hang approximately 30″ above the table so you can see under it when seated and it yet hangs low enough to embrace the area with a warm, inviting glow.
In a contemporary kitchen, a low voltage monorail with a variety of track heads and colorful glass mini-pendants can curve through the work and dining areas without interruption of design. The spots can highlight decorative features in the kitchen like a collection of colorful canisters on top of the cabinets at the same time as they provide general, ambient light. Good general is needed for all casual activities. It permits comfortable clean-up and easy view into drawers. Recessed downlights or fluorescent lighting are good choices.

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