Layered Lighting Maximizes Impact
A homeowner has just completed the kitchen remodeling project of their dreams. Every detail is perfect, from the stone countertops to the gorgeous flooring. Everything is high-end and the details are impeccable.
But something is missing.
Regardless of how stunning kitchen countertops may be, or how beautiful the wood used for a homeowner’s custom cabinets, without the right lighting the effect won’t be as striking as it could be.
The Importance of Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting is one of the most important components of the design process on two levels. One is the aesthetic level, and the other is strictly functional.
The kitchen is often the place where homeowners opt to use the most high-end materials, like granite, quartz or marble countertops for example, and these materials need to be accented and highlighted in a way that showcases their natural beauty and minute details.
Additionally the kitchen is a workspace for most homeowners, which means lighting not only needs to build on the beauty of the materials in the space, but also needs to provide an adequate area for meal preparation and dining.
The approach that works for kitchen lighting is different than most other spaces in a home, besides perhaps the bathroom.
Layered lighting is often the most effective way to ensure the space is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Layered lighting in a kitchen includes:
- Ambient Lighting: This is often considered the “base” of layered lighting, and it describes the type of lighting that fills a room with a subtle glow, rather than highlighting one particular area. Overhead light fixtures are generally the primary way to achieve ambient lighting.
- Task Lighting: As the name implies, this lighting is all about functionality. Task lighting should be incorporated over or around countertops to make food preparation easier, over the sink, or anywhere the majority of the work is done within a kitchen. Task lighting tends to be less ornate and decorative, and the focus really is on the quality of light.
- Accent Lighting: Accent lighting provides a great opportunity to highlight more subtle aspects of the kitchen, for example the patterning and colors in the kitchen countertop stone, or the grain of the wood in the cabinets. Examples of accent lighting include under-cabinet fixtures, and recessed lighting. Under-cabinet lights are a great way to draw attention to both the countertops and the backsplash. LED lights are becoming more popular as a form of accent lighting because they’re long-lasting and also really pick up the subtle details of countertop and backsplash materials.
- Decorative Lighting: This is a great way to express a little creativity with the lighting. Decorative lighting often includes chandeliers, pendants, or anything that’s attention-grabbing. Decorative lighting also works well over a kitchen island, because it creates an interesting focal point.
The best kitchen lighting designs are ones that are well thought out and incorporate several different types of lighting. It’s important to consider how light will be reflected off materials, how it will work with the colors in the kitchen, and what kind of role natural lighting will play in the space before choosing fixtures and implementing a layered light plan.