The kitchen is often the heart of a home; a place where people can dine, socialise, entertain and relax.
While most kitchens must have a lot of functionality in them in order to fulfil their purpose, that doesn’t mean they can’t also be visually appealing.
One of the key things to think about in order to get the perfect balance between form and function is your lighting. Unlike other rooms in your home, the lighting in your kitchen needs to be useful, not just decorative.
Before choosing a new lamp or light for your kitchen, you need to think about the room itself, and how you want to use it.
Does your kitchen have a lot of natural light? Is it easy to see your work surfaces while you cook and clean? Do you have lots of wall and overhead space? These questions will help you pick out the right lighting for your kitchen.
Aimed at providing light for specific work areas, task lighting allows you to brighten up the key areas of your kitchen, without flooding the whole room.
Places within your kitchen where you might want task lighting are your hob, sink, prep areas, and the seating spaces. Any place where you need good lighting to perform a task is where you need this kind of targeted lighting.
The kind of bulb or lamp you want to choose for this is a focused style, with a narrow beam of light or angled lamps that can give you illumination from multiple angles.
In particular, spotlights and downlights are handy for these situations, allowing you to switch on a targeted light just for those areas.
Under-cabinet lighting is also a good choice if you have a lot of worktop space and need it all illuminated.
As well as focused lighting to specific areas and tasks, you will likely want some overall lighting to brighten the room.
This is known as ambient lighting and is a soft, diffused type of lighting and gently illuminates the room. This lighting is ideal for when you are just relaxing in your kitchen, maybe enjoying a cup of coffee with a book, rather than doing a specific task like cooking.
When choosing the right fittings for ambient lighting, look for clusters or groups of bulbs together. These help create a larger pool of light, which covers more of the room.
You should also look for lower power bulbs so the light isn’t too harsh. A dimmer switch here would be a bonus, allowing you to have reduced light for early mornings or late nights.
Ambient light should also make the most of natural lighting, so if you have a good amount of light coming from a window or skylight, try and place your bulbs away from there. This will help fill the gaps where it is darker, and spread the light around the room.
Accent lighting is similar to task lighting but instead of highlighting areas where you will be working or prepping, this lighting targets features or decorative touches in your kitchen.
If you have a vaulted ceiling or beams, for example, you can use accent lighting to bring those features to your visitors attention, casting shadows in some areas and brightening others.
Accent lighting also works wonders for reflective, shiny surfaces, so if you have a glossy worktop or a particularly stunning glass vase you want to show off, the right lighting can really make it glow!
Once you have all the other types of lighting established, you can start playing around with your lights! This is where you can look at lamps and unique features to bring your kitchen to life.
For dining areas, you may want to look at getting a feature lamp to stand in the middle of your table or kitchen island. An elegant and decorative lampshade can double as a lighting source and a focal feature for your dinner parties.
Or perhaps you want to add some colour via your lighting with coloured bulbs such as red or orange which could contrast well against a cream or white kitchen layout.
You can also look at using unique lighting fixtures to bring some personality to your kitchen. For example, industrial style kitchens with exposed brickwork and natural wood finishes look amazing when paired with bare bulbs suspended from chains or copper pipes. Let your imagination run wild!
For help choosing the right lighting for your kitchen, speak to the experts at Hansons Interiors.