LED Home Lighting and Kitchen Lighting Design
All kitchen designs are to a great extent a triumph of illusion. Behind the nicely presented cabinet fronts and counter tops are the utilitarian aspects (pots and pans, tin and jars, etc) and behind those are usually bare plaster and concrete with cables and pipes running around.
It’s what’s visible, what is on show and how it appears that counts for everything, and it should be obvious that how something looks has an awful lot to do with how it is lit.
Modern LED home lighting is well suited to most kitchen lighting applications. Kitchen lighting design typically requires clean, crisp light with good CRI (Color Rendering Index) characteristics – it is always a good idea when preparing food that you can clearly see what you are doing and what condition it is in.
As with any lighting design advice, you should aim to strike a balance: sufficiently bright and suitably positioned to provide good illumination especially around work spaces such as the hob, sink and food preparation areas; yet without appearing unduly harsh.
In many, if not most, households, the kitchen is the heart of the home and should therefore be a warm and welcoming place, not stark and sterile. It’s a kitchen after all, not an operating theater.
Key to getting kitchen lighting right is understanding the basic principles of lighting design and understanding how the space itself functions. And underpinning most contemporary interior light designs is the idea that there are different types of light, usually labelled decorative, accent, task and ambient.
Using each of these appropriately and achieving an overall balance to the room results in an effective and pleasing arrangement. It also helps to define distinct “zones” which gives the space a sense of structure and proportion, and in turn makes it look rather more spacious (this exact same technique is also commonly used for garden lighting design).
Clearly, most kitchens map quite well to the concepts of functional (task) and aesthetic (decorative and accent) areas and so assigning the right types of kitchen lights to the right spaces shouldn’t be terribly complicated. Where a lot of kitchen lighting ideas tend to fall apart though is through failing to either understand or implement decent ambient lighting. Too much and everything else gets bleached out, but not enough and the effect is gloomy with too much contrast where other lighting struggles to provide a level of background light it was never intended to do.
Some of the best kitchen lighting designs are achieved by using lots of lighting of different types, which doesn’t just mean adding a few more ceiling roses. Kitchen lighting design requires many different types of lighting fitted in different places.
In fact, probably the worst way to light a kitchen is to hang a few bright fluorescent tubes from the ceiling. Sure, you’ll get bright light – but it will be flat and cold and almost guaranteed to give you a headache in short order…