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  • Sam Helme

Mistakes normally made in Kitchen Lighting

Nowadays, kitchens have become a the heart of the home and a multi-use space. Whether we intend to or not, generally it is the place people congregate if they aren't sat on a sofa! For this reason the lighting needs to be multi functional to be able to cope with all the cooking, entertaining and dining needs you may have. In this post we briefly cover the general mistakes of kitchen lighting and what can be done to help avoid them.


#1 - Too much Light!

Generally this is done with a grid of downlight spread evenly over the space. This does light an area, BUT, it always washes out any features of the kitchen and creates a dull anodyne effect. The main aim for lighting a kitchen is to get lighting down onto the work surfaces (as at the end of the day - that's what the kitchen is for), but it's also important to focus on the main features of the space. This may be some feature shelving, a decorative fitting, or artwork etc. The best way to make a kitchen (or any space) look more interesting is to build up the lighting in tiers/layers. This can happen in a variety of ways but the more directions/levels light is coming from the better. This will give a much more rounded, pleasant feel and it will also help help make the features become what the eye is drawn to.

When designing a kitchen, it's best to divide it into zones, you may have the main work area's, a more social zone, a dining area and perhaps some seating. All of these would require different light levels at different times.


#2 - Switching/Circuits in the area

This allows you to set different light levels to achieve the requirements of the area at the time. Simply by dividing the lighting circuits onto different dimmer switches it allows you to create different light levels, so for example you could have good task lighting onto the work area while a lower level above the dining and seating area. Dividing the different circuits, downlight, wall lights, pendants, table lamps, linear LED etc allows you to quickly change the feel of the space. The benefit of using a control system is that instead of adjusting a range of dimmer switches or going around and switching on different table lamps at a touch of a button it does all of this automatically from a wall panel or from a phone/tablet.


#3 - Decorative feature fittings are too large or small

This can be a tricky one to get right as some fittings are more 'solid' than others. For decorative pendants the general rule for a single fitting is the height x width of the kitchen in feet, add the two together then convert it to inches for an approximate diameter of the fitting. For decorative fittings above an island you want to make sure the fittings don't get in the way of general use of the area. As a rough guide take the narrowest part of the island and minus 1 foot/ 30cm off each side. This gives you the widest part for the fittings you can use. The fitting could be linear or individual depending on personal choice.


#4 - Having the right fittings

Different fittings can make a huge difference to the overall feel of a room. Two major things to look out for while choosing your fittings are:

Colour Temperature: This can vary kitchen to kitchen depending on the finishes you have but this makes a huge difference to how the overall end effect. 5000k is a cool white, with a slight blueish tinge. 2700k is a warm white, with a yellow colouring. For perspective a candle is around 2400k. The whiter light colour is better for task lighting, for example laboratory's generally use fittings around 5000/6000k.Generally in a kitchen I feel 3000k or 4000k is best as it gives a good mixture of colour while giving good task lighting.


CRI (Colour Rendering Index): Colour Rendering Index is the measure of a light source to reveal the colours of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are desirable as it makes colours stand out as apposed to washing them out.


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