How To Layer Your Kitchen Lighting

A single bright light in the center of your kitchen is probably not the best option for all your kitchen tasks. Instead, a more user-friendly option is to plan your lighting in layers. Develop a targeted plan that appropriately illuminates your kitchen for all its uses.

Make a Layout

Your kitchen hosts numerous tasks, from food preparation to family gathering. Within food preparation alone, you probably have numerous tasks that you complete in different spots of the kitchen. Make a layout of your kitchen, and note in which areas you work the most. Also pay attention to gathering spaces. Both types of areas need lighting, albeit of different types.

Sketch Your Plan

Once you have a layout of your kitchen workflow, it's time to start planning the lighting. As Better Homes and Gardens points out, there are four layers of lighting:

  • Ambient: Suffused lighting
  • Task: Direct lighting
  • Accent: Highlights art or architecture
  • Decorative: Adds beauty

For your sketch, focus first on task lighting.

Plan for Task Lighting

Any area of your layout that indicates high workflow, especially with knife skills, require task lighting. Your stove and sink should also be well illuminated. It might be possible to light the stove and sink with a recessed spotlight. However, countertops are best illuminated with under-cabinet lights whenever possible.

Add Ambient Lighting

Once your work surfaces are properly lit, the next focus is creating a pleasant ambience for those impromptu gatherings. The goal is to create a consistent glow through the whole room. Typically, recessed lights work well for this purpose. Have them spaced evenly apart throughout the kitchen. Don't just focus on the areas with no task lighting, though, as that will create an uneven glow.

Include Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting and task lighting can go hand in hand, depending on your kitchen layout. For example, a beautiful set of pendant fixtures can be used to illuminate the sink area. Alternatively, if you have a kitchen island, consider a monorail lighting system. The modern-look track serves as a platform for any kind of light fixture. You can even customize the track by shape to give it a sculptural look.

Consider Accent Lighting

Not every kitchen includes accent lighting. However, if you have some distinctive feature to your kitchen, consider highlighting it with track lighting. For instance, kitchens with high ceilings sometimes feature tall ledges. Place a few decorative objects on this shelf, and train a track light in that direction. Such an unusual layer of lighting adds a distinctive look to your kitchen.

A well-planned lighting layout can add both beauty and functionality to your kitchen. Contact a lighting contractor like JF Electrical Contractors, Inc for more information.