When considering the most suitable kitchen design that entirely meets your needs and dreams, apart for functionality and aesthetics, you have to think of lighting also, do not make lighting an afterthought, a 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.
Since lighting in the kitchen area needs to be powerful enough to both cover the entire kitchen area and illuminate small, specific zones, such as the food preparation zone, it should be efficient and multi – functional.
• Recessed lighting
If placed almost directly over counter and island zones to avoid creating shadows, recessed lighting is a great idea for task lighting; when carefully placed, it could also be used as a source of general lighting.
• Hanging fixtures
Pendants and mini pendants/and sometimes even decorative chandeliers/ could be dropped practically anywhere – over the island or the table, for task lighting as well as for more general illumination; apart from being a versatile source of illumination, pendants add style and elegance to the décor.
• Undercabinet lighting
Try undercabinet lighting, it creates an illusion of space and your small kitchen looks larger and more attractive; generally, it proves to be highly efficient in small kitchens – lights counter surfaces when necessary and contributes to energy saving; make your choice between strip and mini-track lights; you can also choose that type of light you like most – fluorescent, halogen or xenon fixtures, just to mention that xenon lighting offers the same clean bright light as halogen, but without the heat.
• Track lighting
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, adjustable – 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.
• Accent lighting
Use spotlights, wall sconces or up lights for accent lighting to accentuate your special home objects – architectural elements, decorative accessories, a piece of artwork hung on the wall behind the table, a tile backsplash over the sink. A great idea is 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.
• Decorative lighting
Consider decorative lighting, an eye – catching chandelier or a pendant/often grouped in twos or threes/ brings sophistication and colour 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.
Some more tips:
Consider using separate dimmers and switches; since they are the most economical way to co-ordinate lighting levels, this gives you the flexibility of reducing lighting during very sunny days for example which saves you money on your energy bill; locate switches in convenient locations, 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.
Do not forget, when it comes to electricity, safety should be of top priority! 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.
Even the finest cabinetry and countertops look dull and unappealing when 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, as to make your kitchen a functional and comfortable place and enhance its décor.
It is your kitchen; make your choices to transform the small kitchen into a beautiful kitchen, a stylish hub of all household activities.
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