How to Light your Kitchen

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Effective kitchen lighting not only ensures a functional work environment, but creates a warm and inviting atmosphere which makes the space usable and enjoyable.

One common mistake is to use only one main lighting fixture, placed squarely in the center of the kitchen. The end result is often a kitchen that is either too dark or unevenly lit — casting shadows in some areas while being glaringly bright in others.

Designers and homeowners can combat kitchen lighting woes by layering ambient, task, accent, and decorative lighting fixtures to achieve a kitchen that is well lit and evenly balanced.

Task Lighting

Identify your main work areas. Countertops, stoves, islands, pantries and sinks benefit most from bright, focused lighting and deserve their own fixtures.

Strip or puck LED lights are popular choices for under-cabinet lighting, which eliminates shadows on countertops. Islands can be beautifully and brightly lit with recessed lights or pendant lights hung 39 to 40 inches above the work surface.

Ambient lighting

Several fixtures placed evenly throughout the kitchen will provide even ambient lighting. Recessed lights are a popular choice, offering a low profile while giving excellent coverage. Remember, the key here is not to light everything with your ambient light fixtures, but rather provide an indirect “wash” that creates a gentle backdrop for task, accent and decorative lighting.

Decorative Lighting

Decorative fixtures play an important role in your overall kitchen design, but size and scale are important considerations when choosing a decorative fixture. Be mindful that while larger kitchens can accommodate grand chandeliers, smaller kitchens will look best with just a few well-placed pendants. So go nuts, but don’t go crazy.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is becoming more popular as homeowners trend toward decorative kitchens that are used for casual entertaining. Accent lights can highlight artwork, intricate backsplash tiling, glass cabinetry, or other eye-catching features that play heavily into your overall design. Appropriate fixtures include track lights, wall sconces, up-lights, or directional spotlights with low voltage bulbs.

Need help lighting your kitchen?

Marsh’s experienced designers are industry experts, and can help you achieve perfect lighting in your kitchen. Contact us today to see how we can help realize your vision.