|Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Lighting|
Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Lighting
(ARA) - Today’s kitchens are more than just places to prepare meals. In addition to its primary food function, this room ranks as the heart of the home and center of family activity. Families today truly live in the kitchen. Kids study there; parents pay the bills and write checks there; everyone reads the morning paper in the kitchen; families eat their meals there.
Such multi-tasking kitchens demand equally versatile lighting. Gone are the days when a single 100-watt fixture centered in the kitchen’s ceiling was sufficient. Fortunately, kitchen lighting has gone through quite an evolution in the last few years -- not only in the type and design, but also in the areas in which it is placed.
The right recipe for lighting your kitchen depends on the size and complexity of the room. Small kitchens may require only a central ceiling fixture and task lighting tucked under a cabinet. More elaborate kitchens will demand a blend of general, task and accent lighting.
“Lights have specific functions, whether it’s to accent a specific area, create general ambience, focus on a task or wash a wall,” says Monty Gilbertson, CLC, manager and buyer for Lighting Design by Wettsteins in Lacrosse, Wisc. “You are seeing all types incorporated into the kitchen.”
Functional fixtures will provide well-diffused general lighting perfect for moving about the room safely, peering inside drawers and cabinets, and performing chores. While large, surface fluorescents have been popular in the past, the latest looks revolve around recessed lights and low voltage, industrial styles, often with a metal finish.
Recessed downlights assure even illumination. Install them over the stove and sink areas to create adequate task lighting for cooking and cleaning. The kitchen table is another family focal point. A decorative pendant, operating with a dimmer control, will provide sufficient lighting.
Pendant lighting also rates raves installed over islands or peninsulas. Or consider a decorative fixture with three lights. “A trio over an island provides good light,” says Levett. “It breaks up the kitchen but you can still see through it.”
The top trends in decorative finishes include wrought iron, often in rust or other earth tones. Painted finishes are also popular. Colored glass bypasses plain white in popularity. Pewter and satin nickel finishes replace the basic brass look.
No matter which light style you choose, be sure to light all corners of the kitchen. Lighting the spaces above and below the cabinets has become more important than ever. Available in slim, energy-efficient designs such as miniature track lights or low-voltage linear systems, under- and overcabinet lighting quickly and easily lights up counter tops and accents ceilings.
Halogens offer consumers a whiter, more accentuating light. “Halogen provides great drama in the kitchen,” says Levett. “Used undercabinet, it electrifies the look of granite and marble countertops. It even makes food look better.
The kitchen “office” or workspace is the latest trend in need of good lighting. Sometimes these are desk areas for paying bills or copying recipes. More often than not, however, they include a computer. Consider a fluorescent task light for the computer and be sure to cover the key board and work materials.
Halogen undercabinet lighting offers another option. “Sometimes, there is not enough space for a wall light or a table top lamp in this workspace,” says Levett. “But a small halogen desk lamp might work well, putting the light where you need it.”
No matter how many lights you install in your kitchen, the experts recommend circuiting them separately so the lighting is zoned. This allows you to create ambience by mixing the various lights you turn on.
Visit your local American Lighting Association showroom to view the variety of light fixture styles, sizes and shapes available for creating the perfect kitchen.
For more information or to find a lighting showroom near you, call toll-free (800) BRIGHT IDEAS (274-4484). For a brochure on how to incorporate lighting in your life, send $2 for shipping and handling to the American Lighting Association, P.O. Box 420288, Dallas, TX 75342. Or visit www.americanlightingassoc.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content