If you’re considering refreshing the look of your kitchen, but are not ready to spend a whole lot on a full renovation project, upgrading your kitchen lighting is among the top options. For many families, the kitchen isn’t just about meals, but a space where everyone comes together and spend quality time after a long, hard-working day. For example, if your kids hang out with you and do homework at your island, the lighting will need to be good enough for them to see well. If you have friends over for coffee or drinks, you may need an addition station that will require appropriate lighting as well. Or if your house has an open floor plan, your kitchen lighting should be cohesive with the rest of the interior.
Before starting to plan or design a kitchen lighting plan, let’s first understand the 3 main components of interior lighting:
- Ambient Lighting
- Task Lighting
- Accent Lighting
Ambient lighting creates an overall base layer of illumination. This comes from ceiling lights, or supplemented by natural light through windows during the day. This is essential for every kitchen.
Your ambient light needs to be bright enough for you to see all aspects of your kitchen, even into cabinets. We can achieve this with a mixture of hanging fixtures and recessed potlights. Ambient lighting is great for getting an even light all over (with the right placement and installation).
Ambient lighting acts as the first, the base lighting layer that sets the overall look of your kitchen. Having ambient lighting alone is not enough to help you navigate other specific tasks, such as chopping vegetables or seasoning a dish. That is why you need to add more targeted lighting options.
Task lighting is light that illuminates areas where you really need to see well to do things. It’s essential for things like meal prep and cooking, and can help avoid injuries while chopping or preparing food.
Prime locations generally includes:
- Countertops – lights can be installed under cabinets to illuminate this particular workspace
- Kitchen islands – where you and your family usually gather around
- Cooking appliances – like the stove or the oven
- Pantries – where you need to be able to see and find things quickly
Depending on your kitchen design and preferences, there are a variety of ways to incorporate task lighting, including recessed lights, track lighting, and LED under-cabinet strips. With properly installed task lighting, you won’t strain your eyes, you’ll have focused, helpful lighting, and you’ll be able to incorporate it into your design for a cohesive, stylish new kitchen.
When you want to draw attention to something, you highlight it. That’s exactly what accent lighting does in your kitchen.
What you want to accent is entirely up to you and your creative vision. For example, you can use accent lights to highlight:
- A unique design feature
- Decorative pieces on top of cabinets
- Floating shelves
- Dark corners where the ambient light isn’t quite enough
Now that we’ve covered the most basic knowledge about kitchen lighting, let’s move on to the inspirations you can apply to yours:
The classic solution to the kitchen lighting problem is recessed lighting. With popular diameters of 4, 5, and 6 inches, recessed lights provide more than enough illumination to certain required areas of the countertop or kitchen island.
The main advantage of recessed lights is that they’re flush to the ceiling and don’t occupy physical or visual space. But one problem with recessed lighting is shadowing. Recessed lights point down, and anything in the path of their light, be it a wall cabinet or a person working at the counter, creates a shadow below the obstruction.
Track lighting has many of the same good qualities that recessed lighting offers, yet fewer drawbacks, and has gained popularity in the last several decades.
Track lighting is installed on the surface of the ceiling, and individual light fixtures along the track can be moved easily wherever needed. Also, these individual fixtures can be added or removed if you need more or less light.
Track lights have much of the same shadowing problem as recessed lights. But because track lights can be moved, it is possible to move a light either forward or backward to minimize shadowing. One thing to watch out for is “low-voltage” track lighting that uses harsh, energy-wasting halogen bulbs. Track fixtures that use energy-efficient LED bulbs use much less energy, produce less heat, and (like halogens) can be small and still produce a lot of light.
Flush-mount ceiling fixtures are solid performers for general illumination. The best types shine light in all directions, including up toward the ceiling. Flush-mount ceiling fixtures are great when you first enter a room. You flip the switch and suddenly you can see where you’re walking. On the other hand, they don’t do much to illuminate the counter spaces. They also don’t offer focused or adjustable light, like track fixtures do.
Hanging Pendant Fixtures
One answer to the quandary of kitchen ceiling lighting is to install hanging pendant light fixtures. Hanging pendants bring the lights down to just above head level and are often vertically adjustable. Hanging pendants can be fixed in place or can be inserted into track lighting tracks.
One bit of advice regarding kitchen pendant lights: go sparingly on them. Recessed lights can be multiplied almost endlessly because they are mounted flush with the ceiling and are not very noticeable. However, because pendant lights are hanging down, adding more than three or four begins to make the kitchen look cluttered. But if your pendant lights are spaced out intelligently, they will adequately illuminate most work surfaces. The one areas they can’t reach are counter spaces under wall cabinets.
No matter what type of ceiling fixtures you use, you’ll probably need some task lighting that shines directly down from the wall cabinets. This is the best task lighting because there’s nothing to create shadows, and the light can be very bright and focused without casting harsh light into the main kitchen area. Undercabinet fixtures are sleek and essentially invisible once they are installed. Choose LED fixtures for the best lighting performance and energy-efficiency.
One of the most popular types of lights for the kitchen area is ceiling lights. Ceiling lights are light fixtures that are hanging right to the ceiling. The cost of a ceiling light will all depend on which style you choose, but, in a lot of cases, you will find that ceiling lights are the most budget-friendly of all cooking area lights.
Kitchen Pendant Lights
This simple lighting arrangement will work in any type of kitchen. For example, a bold, black set of pendant lights work perfectly in a farmhouse kitchen, but they would also look great in a modern or traditional kitchen. With three pendants, it’s important to hire a professional residential electrical contractor to install your ceiling lights. After all, you want to make sure the kitchen lights are spaced evenly and hung at the same height.
- Kitchen Chandelier Lights
- Shabby Chic Chandelier
- Edison Bulb Chandelier
- Brass Chandeliers
- Silver Chandeliers
- Gold Chandeliers
- Glam Kitchen Chandeliers
- Capiz Chandelier
- Kitchen Pendant Lights
- Light over the Kitchen Sink
While you may think that a window will provide enough light for your dish washing, you’ll likely find yourself needing a bit more brightness. For this reason, it’s smart to install a ceiling light over your sink. A kitchen can feature traditional ceiling lights, with two large lights over the island and a smaller one over the sink. It’s smart to keep the design of the lights in your kitchen the same in order to ensure cohesion throughout the room.
Under Cabinet Lights
Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
When you’re in your kitchen late at night, you probably don’t want to turn on a ceiling light or downlights. That’s why under cabinet lighting exists. A professional can install strips of lights under your cabinets to help you see your worktop. This isn’t just helpful during the night, though. Worktop lights can add functionality to your cutting and cooking at any time of the day.
Bright Country Kitchen Lighting
The kitchen is lit with a series of downlights around the perimeter of the room. Since the kitchen is relatively small, the downlights do a great job at lighting the entire room. If the kitchen were a bit bigger, it would be smart to add a ceiling light or alternative light source to the kitchen.
Lighting Under Kitchen Worktop
Do you struggle to find what you’re looking for in your cabinets? If you do, why not install lighting underneath your worktops? Having extra light will help you sort through the drawers and cabinets in order to find your missing spatula. To make sure you don’t stop your drawers or cabinets from opening, it’s smart to hire a professional to install these lights in your kitchen.
At Hotwire Electric, we offer Toronto clients a huge range of residential electrical services ranging from kitchen lighting services to home automation. Whether you’re in need of a quick repair, a new room or feature in your home, or a complete electrical renovation, we have the skills and experience that few electrical contractors in the GTA and Toronto area can match.
Our team of highly capable and friendly electricians have years of experience dealing with residential electrical systems. All of us are committed to help you quickly get the job done with minimal interruption of your daily routine. Our prices are highly competitive and we go out of our way to ensure our clients are happy with our work.
If you are still contemplating on what kitchen lighting solution or any other residential electrical project to take on, please don’t hesitate to reach Hotwire Electric at 416-553-5533. We’ll be happy to help you work out the best options for your home and assist you on your next project.