Lighting up your Kitchen

A Kitchen Lighting Plan should be Part of Every Kitchen Design

By Mark J. Donovan

Lighting up your kitchen sufficiently should be part of any kitchen remodeling plan. Kitchen lighting is essential for creating a functional and aesthetically appealing kitchen. With every kitchen lighting plan there should be general overhead lighting as well as targeted spot workspace lighting. Multiple overhead lighting fixtures, such as recessed can lights, should be used to create the general overhead ambient lighting. Recessed can lights can also be used for work area lighting and for kitchen accent lighting. Pendant light fixtures, lights that drop down from the ceiling on rods, are the perfect choice for spot workspace lighting and for lighting up a kitchen island.

Pendant light fixtures are also perfect for over eating areas of the kitchen, again over a kitchen island with an eat-in bar, or over a kitchen table.

LED track lighting is another lighting option ideal for kitchens, and in particular kitchen cabinet lighting. LED track lighting can be placed either under or over upper kitchen cabinets to create a warm glow. Placed underneath the upper kitchen cabinets LED track lighting also helps to provide general workspace kitchen lighting.

When coming up with your kitchen lighting plan make sure to strategically place spot workspace lighting such that no shadows will be created when people stand at the workspace area. To do this place the light fixtures, be it recessed can lights, high hats, or pot lights, just in front of where the person would stand at the spot workspace area. Pendant light fixtures also work well for spot workspace lighting as they can be positioned directly over the workspace and their light fixtures themselves can be placed closer to the work space, e.g. 2 to 3 feet away from the surface. Kitchen lighting

In terms of light bulb technology there are a lot of options available to you today besides the standard incandescent light bulb. There are Halogen and Xenon light bulbs, as well as LED, fluorescent, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Each has their unique pros and cons.

The only bulb type I would avoid in the kitchen is the compact fluorescent light bulbs, even though they are highly energy efficient. The main reason for this advice is that compact fluorescent light bulbs are not meant to turn on and off frequently.

The more they are cycled on and off the faster they wear out. In addition, they take time to light up to full brightness. LED light fixtures, on the other hand, are just as energy efficient as compact fluorescent light bulbs and can produce immediate intense lighting.

When it comes to controlling your kitchen light fixtures I highly recommend using 3-way switches for the ambient kitchen light sources. This way you can turn on the lights from two different entrances to the kitchen.

I would also suggest having separate light switches for turning on the spot workspace lighting so that you only burn these bulbs when necessary. You may also want to include dimmer switches for the kitchen accent light fixtures to set various lighting moods.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

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