Often an after thought, planned and designed well, a lighting scheme can transform a kitchen, making it look bigger, brighter and better. Here's everything you need to know about kitchen lighting
PLAN LIGHTING AROUND HOW YOU WILL USE THE KITCHEN
Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen perhaps sees the most varied activities, and if it's combined with a dining and living space, the most action, too. When designing your lighting scheme, consider the tasks you may undertake in your kitchen diner – whether preparing dinner, working at a kitchen island, intimate or family dinners at the dining table – and you’ll begin to see why getting the right lighting in the right places can really help make this space a success.
WORK OUT THE POSITION OF KITCHEN FITTINGS AND FURNITURE
Working out the exact position of your kitchen units and furniture is a must. Concider where light switches will be located, which units require lighting and any special features you may wish to 'show off' with a lighting scheme
ATMOSPHERIC MOOD LIGHTING
Layering light in the kitchen creates different mood's e.g. lighting certain parts of your kitchen away from your main lighting or task lighting, this creates lighting that not only looks good but one that you can quickly conjure an atmosphere in, too.
Task lighting is purely practical and should be designed to allow you to prep and cook and use the kitchen to its full ability, and perhaps you want to use an area of the room for reading or homework. Task lighting might be ceiling downlights and under-unit lights, well placed above worktops in order to illuminate task areas. You may wish to also concider keeping these in line with furniture when planning your kitchen.
Accent lighting is used to highlight of softly light elements of the kitchen. So, if you’re including a kitchen island or dining table, pendants both as a focal point and to focus a soft glow on the table will do the trick (hang pendants in odd numbers – they look better). Similarly, LED strips under breakfast bars, beneath 'floating' kitchen islands, over wall units or illuminating shelves within cabinets can provide accent lighting, highlighting these features while contributing a warm backlight to create atmosphere in the evening.
USE DIFFERENT ZONED CIRCUITS
No kitchen lighting scheme will look its best controlled by one switch – putting your kitchen lighting on different circuits is a must. Here's what to consider:
How many circuits? An average kitchen will need three circuits: one for downlights; one for pendants; and one for under-unit lights, for example.
How many zones? An open plan kitchen/living/dining space will need more circuits, because you should treat each zone's lighting individually.
Which lights when? How will you use the space and what lights do you want switched on at the same time? For example, it makes sense to have the kitchen on separate circuits to the living/dining space, so that you don't have to look at the washing up while you're relaxing.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LIGHT TEMPERATURE
Planning a successful lighting scheme is also about getting the light colour/quality right, too. This is somewhat subjective, but you should choose bulbs that not only flatter the space but make it feel welcoming, too.
Light colour can impact dramatically on your scheme. Take, LEDs, for instance: their colour temperature is measured in kelvins (or K) — daylight measures around 6,000-6,500 kelvins; candlelight comes in at around 1,800 kelvins. While you may want your LEDs to give off cool white light above worktops, warm white is much more relaxing for dining or living areas.
The most versatile colour for kitchen lighting is 2,700 kelvins, which gives off a slightly warm light that is creamy enough to have on during the day but is still a comfortable warm light for evenings, continues Rebecca Hutchison. 'For lights within shelving units, you would most likely have these on of an evening for atmosphere and so you’d more than likely select strips with extra warmth and go for 2,400 kelvins.'
- Don’t put lights too close to cabinetry as if you have low ceilings, the glare from the lights could discolour the veneer.
If you have low ceilings, you will need fewer downlights; too many and the light will be overpowering. Use spotlights on dimmer switches so you can easily control light levels.
Include mood and task lighting in a scheme so that when you’ve finished cooking you can turn the bright lights down and have accents more suited to a sociable eating environment – not bright or harsh lighting.
DON'T FOTGET:If you're fitting your own kitchen, you can take on some of the work yourself (for instance, chasing out walls), but only if your electrician is happy to sign it off. Be aware of what you can and can’t do: Part P of the Building Regulations legislates for DIY electrical work and states that if a job is ‘notifiable’ – such as adding a new circuit or replacing a consumer unit – it either needs to be carried out or certified by a registered competent person, such as a NICEIC member, or inspected by building control.
Brown & Hood manufacture our own kitchens right here in the North East. If you’re a plumber, fitter, builder or a landlord or property developer, you can also call Brown & Hood for trade prices on all the products we have on offer, we offer further discounts on kitchens in Newcastle for our valued trade customers.