Kitchens have changed a lot over the recent decades to evolve into a stylish hub of all household activities. They incorporate specific zones such as work surfaces and food preparation areas, an island and bar area, and a dinette area. So, plan your lighting scheme carefully, considering the size and the décor of the kitchen.
Lighting Is the Key
When considering the most suitable kitchen design that entirely meets your needs and dreams, apart from functionality and aesthetics, you also have to think of lighting. Do not make lighting an afterthought, the last step in the process of planning. It is lighting that makes the difference between a boring, ordinary space and the eye-catching one.
Keep the Kitchen Light
Use light paint and that does not necessarily mean boring white walls, try soft tones of blues and greens or cream beige. Consider using light-colored cabinets with glass doors and light-reflective countertop surfaces to add a feeling of space.
Let In as Much Natural Light as Possible
If necessary, replace the windows with larger and more beautiful ones, get rid of long and heavy draperies and choose sheer fabrics that allow light to pass through window treatments, and your kitchen will appear to evoke a feeling of warmth, spaciousness, and style.
Layering the Light
Usually, the key to functional and efficient lighting lies in layering the light. Multi-layered lighting lets you adjust the amount of light you need and create the effect you want. Focus on task lighting for the zones for food preparation, cooking, and washing the dishes.
Even the finest cabinet and countertops look dull and unappealing when they are poorly and inadequately lit. So, in general, layer the light and make the layers work together to create a dramatic effect with enough lighting options to make your kitchen a functional and comfortable place and enhance its décor.
Consider placing adequate lighting on these essential zones in your kitchen:
The Island and Bar Zone
Typically this zone is lit up by a group of two to five pendants or mini-pendants. These fixtures are a versatile source of illumination and not only provide enough task light over that specific zone but also contribute to a better general lighting of the entire space. Furthermore, they add style and elegance to the décor.
In case you opt for a bold oversized lampshade and hang it low above that zone, it will immediately become the focal point of the kitchen.
You could also opt for recessed fixtures to provide focused task lighting for the island and bar zone.
The Dining Zone
Use a pendant or a group of pendants to match these over the island or bar zone placed directly above the table to illuminate this part of the kitchen adequately. Consider that the pendant’s bottom should be 30″ above the table. This looks stylish and visually distinguishes this area as a separate zone of the entire space.
Tracks or recessed lights are your other options to provide enough light for that part of the room.
Keep in mind that dimmers are useful to provide the mood and ambiance for special dining occasions.
Types of Lighting
Since lighting in the kitchen area must be powerful enough to cover the entire kitchen area and illuminate small, specific zones, such as the food preparation zone, it should be efficient and multi-functional.
Suppose there are no cabinets directly above the worktop area and placed almost directly over counter and island zones to avoid creating shadows. In that case, recessed lights are a good choice for lighting kitchen task zones.
They are available in a variety of trims and configurations. When carefully placed, it could also be used as a source of general lighting. Another option is hanging pendants fitted directly above the work area.
Pendants and mini pendants, sometimes even decorative chandeliers, could be dropped practically anywhere, such as over the island or the table, for task lighting as well as for more general illumination. Besides being a versatile source of illumination, pendants add style and elegance to the décor.
Under Cabinet Lighting
Try under cabinet lighting, it creates an illusion of space, and your small kitchen looks larger and more attractive. Under cabinet lighting is a perfect option for lighting up a kitchen work surface.
Generally, it proves to be highly efficient in small kitchens because it lights counter surfaces when necessary and contributes to energy saving. It also creates an illusion of space, and the kitchen looks larger and more esthetically appealing.
You can also choose the type of light you like most from fluorescent, halogen, or LED. Check their advantages and make your choice to meet your needs. You can also make your choice between strip lights and mini-track lights.
Track lighting also provides good lighting for the kitchen. However, it is true that it consumes a lot of energy and has the same shadowing problem as recessed lights.
Its advantage is that the track is surface-mounted, so it is flexible, and adjustable that you can move the heads backward or forward to avoid the shadow problem. Moreover, these individual fixtures can be added or removed if you need more or less light.
Use spotlights, wall sconces or up lights for accent lighting to accentuate your special home objects, including architectural elements, decorative accessories, a piece of artwork hung on the wall behind the table, or a tile backsplash over the sink.
It’s also great to drop mini-spots through the top of a cabinet to illuminate your collections of fine chine or beautiful glassware. Whatever you choose to highlight, this definitely adds a feeling of charm and drama to your kitchen.
Consider decorative lighting, an eye-catching chandelier or a pendant, often grouped in twos or threes, that brings sophistication and color to kitchens. Of course, the fixture should fit the style and size of the kitchen. Otherwise, it will either look out of place or knock the whole room out of balance.
More Useful Tips for Brightening Your Kitchen
Consider using separate dimmers and switches. Since they are the most economical way to coordinate lighting levels, dimmer switches gives you the flexibility of reducing lighting during very sunny days, which saves you money on your energy bill.
Locate switches in convenient locations, such as at each entrance to the space. Furthermore, dimmers are an option to instantly change the atmosphere in the space and provide variable lighting plus decorative effects in accordance with your needs.
No Touch Lighting
Motion-activated lighting would be super beneficial in the kitchen because users would not have to touch the switch to control the light anymore. Moreover, most of the time, it’s not so convenient for users to reach the light switch while cooking or preparing food because their hands are either not clean or holding dishes.
For the general lighting, you can consider upgrading your normal light switch with a motion sensor switch, and the installation is quite easy and can be done by only requiring a screwdriver and simple wiring. For tasking lighting to specific areas, you can use a motion sensor under cabinet light to light up the space where the general ceiling light could not possibly illuminate.
Do not forget, when it comes to electricity, safety should be of top priority. If you want to change the existing kitchen lighting scheme, to add or remove a fixture, but you feel it is too much for you, then simply consult a lighting specialist or call in a licensed electrician.
Illuminate Your Favorite Tableware
Display your tableware, such as collections of fine chine or beautiful glassware, and use mini spotlight to highlight it. This will definitely brighten up your kitchen and will add a feeling of charm and visual appeal.
Install Plinth Lighting
It is a great option to create ambient lighting, and furthermore, when installed low around the base of the kitchen island, it could attract attention to the new stone flooring of your kitchen.
Hang a Statement Chandelier
Create a focal point in your kitchen with a make-a-statement fixture. It adds style and personalizes the space.
Fixtures are softer and warmer, with slim, clean lines, fluid curves, plus a variety of finishes to complement any décor for its modern, updated look.
Try with any yellow hue fixture as it brings warmth and fun to the décor. But if it is too bold for you or does not blend into the style of your home, you could still incorporate the trendy tone. For example, yellow lamp shades could be an alternative.
If you think any of these ideas could enhance your kitchen décor, try to apply them. Ultimately, your only boundaries are your imagination and creativity.
It is your kitchen. Make your choices to transform the small kitchen into a beautiful kitchen, a stylish hub of all household activities.