It’s that time of year again, and chances are you’re going to be using your kitchen considerably more over the next month. There’s baking holiday treats and cooking sumptuous winter meals. Then there’s all the prep work of making the biggest meal of them all: the family holiday dinner.
If you don’t have sufficient lighting in your kitchen, you could potentially mistake the salt for sugar and ruin the pastries and other delicacies you have painstakingly been planning since the end of October. Don’t let a food disaster derail your holidays. Light up your kitchen the right way using these five lighting tips from professional designers and foodies.
Set Lights to Dimmers
In an interview with the Y Lighting Company, professional interior designer April Powers comments that kitchens today are about more than meal prep. The kitchen is where friends and family congregate for food and good conversation. This means that the kitchen should be functional and inviting. Powers says that “it’s important that [kitchen] lighting [be] both task-oriented as well and ambient friendly. Avoid anything overly bright. [All] fixtures should be dimmable so the light can be adjusted to meet specific needs.” If you don’t want people in the kitchen, dim the lights. If your hosting happy hour at the bar, turn the lighting up. The level of the lighting will help your guests to understand how and when to use the space.
Be Selective About Lightbulbs
Your kitchen lighting should use lightbulbs that are dimmable, energy efficient and bright. According to the daily food magazine Kitchn, there are four types of lightbulbs to consider for your kitchen:
LED: This type of lightbulb is energy efficient and works well when layered with other light sources. LED bulbs don’t emit a very bright light, which means they also don’t emit a lot of heat. If you want to keep your kitchen at a comfortable temperature while you’re cooking, pairing LEDs with brighter bulbs (discussed below) will save you money and resources.
Incandescent: This type of lightbulb emits a warm light that brightens the kitchen, but also warms it up. Compatible with timers and dimmer switches, incandescent bulbs are the most used in commercial and household lighting.
Fluorescent: This type of lightbulb is mainly used for under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen because it produces low energy for the bright amount of light it emits. Though fluorescent bulbs are costlier, they last longer and perform well as task lights.
Halogen: This type of lightbulb emits a bright light but runs hot, warming up the kitchen. Another lightbulb to use for under-cabinet installation, halogen bulbs are excellent for direct lighting.
Light Source Placement
The kitchen is where we cook, eat, drink and mingle with family and guests. This means that the light placement needs to be inviting, clear and bright. Your kitchen will need overhead, task and accent lighting. Overhead lighting brightens the general space of the area, task lighting shines a spotlight of sorts on the “task at hand,” like meal prep and dish washing and accent lighting provides ambiance.
Before installing your light sources, you will need to determine where in the kitchen you will be doing most of the cooking, washing and prep work. Your task lights should be set up in these areas. This can be done by hanging your task light source(s) directly above your work stations. Pendant lights work well for task lighting, while flush mounts work well for overhead lighting. You can accomplish layering your light sources by using lamps and dimmers for accent lighting. To achieve a cohesive lighting experience, overhead, task and accent lighting must be layered, don’t forget that.
Your kitchen lighting should serve a function. What good is the kitchen if you can’t see well enough to prepare your food or write down a new recipe?