The ceiling lighting in the kitchen is meant to ensure proper illumination of the room in evenings, which is why they often call it “basic” lighting – in contrast to optional or decorative light sources. The optimal kitchen overhead illumination is one or several uniform and soft light fluxes flowing down from the ceiling. US designers typically create the kitchen basic lighting by employing at least two ceiling lamps, so that no corner remains unlit.
Basic kitchen lighting: 3 novice designer’s mistakes.
Mistake 1. Designing the lighting scheme before knowing your kitchen furniture layout.
Solution: You should know what the kitchen ceiling lighting will be like before you start renovating your home. However, only after you elaborate the kitchen layout and know where its main functional areas will be located (the sink, the cooker, the counters, the kitchen table, etc.). This knowledge enables you to position each of the ceiling lighting fixtures in the most appropriate place.
Mistake 2. Limiting your kitchen ceiling lighting to just one lamp or chandelier in the room’s center.
Solution: Organizing basic kitchen lighting with the help of several ceiling lamps and spotlights. A sole lamp hanging in the middle is an idea of many drawbacks:
- When you’re busy cooking – for example, cutting some vegetables on the countertop – you stand with your back to the light source. The working surface in front of you is therefore in your shadow.
- The kitchen’s center is usually empty. The ceiling lamp above it doesn’t illuminate any useful surface, while the really important areas appear to be in dark corners.
Mistake 3. No ways to adjust brightness of the basic ceiling lighting.
Solution: Install switches fitted with light dimmers. They’ll allow for adjusting brightness of the ceiling lighting in the kitchen in accordance with your mood. During a family dinner, when you want to relax, make the light cozier and more subdued. When cooking, turn the dimmer to the brighter position.
Hint: Don’t cheap out when buying the dimmers. A cheap switch might break down very soon.
5 ceiling lighting options.
The basic ceiling lighting should be uniform and neutral. Each of the following options can be used separately (especially if you have a tiny kitchen) or in combination with each other:
- Built-in spotlights;
- Surface-mounted luminaires;
- LED lights;
- Tracking or railing systems of lamps;
- Hanging ceiling lamps or chandeliers.
Important note: Designing the kitchen lighting scheme, see that the basic ceiling lights can be turned on or off one at a time. It’s both convenient and pragmatic: you can switch on as few lamps as you need, thus moderating your electricity consumption and bills.
Ceiling lighting above the kitchen table.
The lighting in the dining area is meant to instill a special atmosphere favorable for repasts. If the dining zone in your US home is limited to one kitchen table, pay particular attention to arranging proper lighting above it.
- A large lamp or chandelier hanging from the ceiling right above the center of the tabletop is the most popular solution. Ideally, the hanger length should be adjustable. The optimal distance between the lamp and the tabletop is approximately 60 in. If you elevate the chandelier a bit higher, the lighting in the dining area will become brighter, more solemn. By lowering the lamp, you’ll attain more intimacy, homeliness and coziness. Here is a couple of related hints:
- Opt for ceiling lamps with translucent shades of frosted glass, which scatter the light in a soft manner. With such lampshades, your guests sitting at the table will never be blinded by too bright light.
- When choosing the ceiling lamp, pay attention to the lampshade material. Think twice before buying one with a cloth lampshade, although it seems highly decorative at first glance. Besides being relatively flammable, cloth is quick to get dusty and difficult to clean. A glass or plastic lampshade is much more practical.
- Several elegant hanging lamps with small lampshades are a good idea, if one large chandelier is not a solution to your liking. Two or three such ceiling lamps are usually enough to illuminate a kitchen table of standard size. Try hanging them as one group, or line them up along the central axis of the tabletop.
Hint: If you have a small round or square table, one ceiling lamp will give sufficient light. If your kitchen design implies a large oval or rectangular table, or a kitchen bar, you will need 2-3 hanging lamps to illuminate the dining area.
- A suspended plasterboard structure with built-in spotlights is an idea to consider if your task is to design the ceiling lighting scheme for a large kitchen or a kitchen combined with a large dining area. Such a solution may play the role of an additional zoning element.
- Tracking and railing systems have been increasingly popular in contemporary USA and UK kitchen interiors. Such a system allows for moving and regrouping the lamps, which is especially convenient for owners of portable kitchen tables. Lamps on railings are usually turntable, which allows for adjusting the direction of the light flux.