Lighting is a crucial element for every kitchen. It needs to be planned well, to make sure you have enough ambient (also called general), task and accent lighting. The key is to have a good balance of all three types of lighting. The American lighting association states that “a good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area according to function and style”
Just like a healthy balanced breakfast, your kitchen requires the right balance of lighting to get you on the right track to accomplish the day’s tasks.
From homework to list-making to actual meal-prep and cooking, the kitchen is a veritable workhorse in the home. And the proper lighting mix—recessed downlighting, island-highlighting pendants, under-cabinet LEDs—will make sure it’s fit for all of those uses.
The Three Types of Lighting You Need to Know About: Ambient, Task and Accent
1. Ambient: This will be your main source of light—whether in addition to natural light or to fill in for lack of it. You want to cast as much of it as evenly as possible from your ceiling. You can do so with a combination of (but not limited to) chandeliers, pendant lights, recessed lighting, and flushmounts.
2. Task: While ambient lighting is used to enable you to navigate throughout the kitchen, it often leaves shadows in areas that require more focus. With the help of task lighting, work surfaces, and cabinetry are properly illuminated so you can safely prepare meals, read recipes, and easily spot ingredients on a shelf. Common kitchen task lighting options include strip lights and puck lights.
3. Accent: Consider these flourishes the cherry on top of your well-designed kitchen: toe kick lights, cabinet lights, and any other light that might accentuate your favorite elements. They also might cross over into ambient and task lighting as well.
Kitchen Lighting – Ambient
Let us start by working on your ambient lighting. This is accomplished with your general lights and it is the main source of light for your kitchen space. A good rule of thumb is to have a central light point in the middle of the room, like a pendant fixture. Then, plan for a grid of recessed or track lights in your ceiling. We say that you should have a recessed light every 5 feet approximately.
Typically, the light sources for general lighting are recessed or track lighting, and as mentioned above, pendant fixtures like chandeliers for example. In some cases, wall sconces can be part of the general lighting as well. Make sure you have enough of these sources to illuminate your entire space but without creating glare.
Kitchen Lighting – Task Light
The second lighting type is task light; it is the most important! This kitchen lighting will help you while prepping, cooking or reading. We recommend ample task lighting for all kitchen counter areas. Here more than ever, check that your lights do not create glare or any distracting shadows.
The most common task light source in a kitchen are the under cabinet lights. Companies also offer mechanically activated lights illuminating the inside of the cabinets.
Kitchen Lighting – Accent
The third and last type of light is accent lighting. You can create a special mood and add drama to any space with this type of lighting. It is used to highlight specific areas, such as an architectural feature, or a texture on a wall. It is often used also to showcase a particular item, like a painting or sculpture.
Wall sconces, picture lights, LED reveals, recessed or track spotlights are all fixtures one can use to create such a light.
Via ylighting and dkointeriors