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Kitchen Lighting Design: 6 Common Mistakes & Tips To Avoid Them

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    Lighting design plays such an important part in the overall interior design of your home or business. We’re going to cover a few common mistakes when it comes to kitchen lighting design and discuss tips on what you can do to avoid them.


    Omitting Task Lights In Your Kitchen Lighting Design

    Problem: It is a struggle when it comes to seeing properly in your kitchen. Omitting task lights in the kitchen area can make it very difficult to see what you’re doing during day to day kitchen duties. On the other hand, you don’t want the lighting to be too bright either. You may find yourself squinting during food prep or blocking a bright light during a conversation with a friend.

    Pro Tip: Get rid of the squinting and headaches. Simply follow the three levels of light for kitchen lighting design: down lights (recessed), under-cabinet lighting, and hanging (pendant) lighting.


    Task Lighting: Down Lights, Recessed Lighting, Can Lights

    • There’s no need to go over-kill with the recessed lighting, as you only need enough for general room illumination and strategically placed areas, such as over the sink.
    • Opt for more warmer bulb color temperatures and keep the size of your space in mind. (Wattages will depend on the space.)


    Task Lighting: Under The Cabinet, Countertop Lighting

    • Countertop task lighting (under the cabinets) are very nice because they’re hidden from view, yet directly pointed at your counter space.
    • Opt for LED strips, as they are slightly cooler than incandescent.


    Task Lighting: Hanging Lighting, Pendant Lights

    • Kitchen islands or dining areas are great places for pendant lighting. The color and style of these lights can effectively set the mood for the space.
    • Depending on what the space is used for (eating and/or food prep), you will also want to keep the type of bulb and cover/shade in mind as well.


    Too Many Recessed Lights In The Kitchen

    Problem: You have 30 can lights in your ceiling, but still struggle to see the dinner on the table.

    Pro Tip: Less can be more. Using the entire surface of your ceiling as a can light grid isn’t always as effective as it may seem. This also depends on the size of your space, however recessed lighting (typically) does not allow sufficient light on vertical services such as the surrounding walls. Therefore, you’ll have many lights, but your kitchen may still feel like a bat cave.

    Problem: You have no clue how to choose the bulbs for recessed lighting.

    Pro Tip: Familiarize yourself with which light bulb size your fixtures take as well as the array of bulb options you have at your disposal. Some choose energy efficient bulbs that tend to be more expensive, whereas some just want more affordable ones.


    Not Adding Dimmer Switches

    Problem: Your kitchen lighting design is WAY too bright, or very dim.

    Pro Tip: Make it a rule of thumb to almost always install dimmers in every room—especially your kitchen. Being in a room that’s too bright or not bright enough (especially when you’re dining) is uncomfortable and can be downright irritating. Having dimmer switches allows you to have more control over the lighting in every room. Dimmers save you money, have less impact on the environment, and work perfectly with recessed lights, accent lighting, pendants, ceiling fans, and chandeliers.


    You’re Relying On One Light Source

    Problem: There is only one ceiling light to illuminate your entire kitchen.

    Pro Tip: Use a layering technique in the lighting scheme for your kitchen lighting design. The layering technique has four different layers, which include ambient, task, focal, and decorative layers. Keeping this technique in mind, strategically place additional light sources throughout your kitchen wherever you see fit.

    Custom Lighting: Layering Technique

    • Ambient layer: overhead lighting in the room
    • Task layer: lighting for accent purposes
    • Focal Layer: highlights objects and focal points in the room
    • Decorative layer: enhances overall design


    Forgetting About Your Natural Light Source

    Problem: A piece of furniture or curtains are blocking the natural light source in your kitchen.

    Pro Tip: Use natural light as your starting point, then supplement your space with additional light fixtures. Purchase blinds or curtains that can easily open to give you full access to as much natural light as possible. A very beautiful (and slightly more expensive option) is to add skylights.


    Food Prep & Beyond

    Kitchen lighting serves a purpose beyond food prep. Oftentimes, your kitchen is the gathering place to entertain friends and family or even hold business meetings. Keeping these tips in mind when designing or redesigning your kitchen will have you well on your way to a more inviting, more beautiful space.

    As always—let us know if we can help you with any electrical needs you may have. Our professional team of electricians have been helping our neighbors in Raleigh, NC and the surrounding area with lighting design and other electrical services for over 18 years.

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