Your kitchen is one of the most versatile rooms in your home, and your needs for it vary throughout the week. Whether you’re simply making a cup of coffee before work or preparing a gourmet dinner for family and friends, you’ll need to have enough light to meet your needs.
Before you start planning the perfect lightscape for your kitchen, it’s important to know about the three key elements of lighting design. These are task, accent, and ambient lighting. In some areas, all three aren’t necessary, as we will discuss further.
Task lighting is a brighter light that is focused on a single area and its goal is to help you perform a certain task — these are perfect for highlighting countertops where you prepare food.
Accent lighting is often decorative and is focused on making an impression rather than providing true light. These are great options to put under cabinets or to shine on a piece of artwork.
Ambient lighting is the main source of light in the room. This will be the light that is generally controlled by the main light switch for your kitchen.
The island is one of the most used spots in the kitchen. You may use it for food preparation, dishes, entertaining guests, or eating casual meals. If you do a lot of food preparation on your island, you may need dedicated task lighting. However, if you invest in a high-quality fixture like a chandelier or several hanging pendants to illuminate the island, you will most likely accomplish the goals of task and ambient lighting in one fell swoop. While there are opportunities for accent lighting around the undersides of the island, it is not usually a place where much accent is needed.
If your ceilings are not high enough to support hanging fixtures, mounted lights can be used for a variety of ambient and accent applications. Southern Lights offers mounted lights for the ceiling or the walls, so you can find sconces, overhead lights, and more in our showroom! With thousands of options, you’ll be sure to find a low-profile mounted light that fits your kitchen’s style.
When you are in the market for a centerpiece light that will stand out and make a statement as well as provide essential storage, a pot rack fixture is just what you need! A hanging pot rack fixture not only acts as the ambient lighting for the room, but also as an accent piece that shows off your beautiful pots and pans. If your kitchen has an island, these pot rack fixtures work extremely well as the lighting above the island, allowing for work to be done and conversations to be had.
Do you have a small dinette or nook in your kitchen? These multi-purpose areas can benefit from all three elements of lighting — it just depends on how you plan to use the space. If you spend most of your family meals eating at a dinette or in a small kitchen nook, you will need some ambient lighting that will allow you to serve food, eat, and converse. If the nook is mostly reserved for work, homework, or reading, it may be best to have some bright hanging pendant lighting to serve the purpose of task lighting. However, if the dinette and nook are simply relaxing areas in the kitchen, some accent lighting could be just what you need to keep the space semi-hidden in shadow or to provide mood lighting.
If you are trying to make your kitchen stand out, some accent lighting with undercabinet lights will go a long way. If your cabinets hang far enough over your counters, these lights can also help to illuminate shadowy countertops with task lighting and make food preparation much more convenient. The team at Southern Lights has curated a helpful catalog that includes:
With all of these options, you can fit lighting under any cabinet, and help to illuminate your gleaming kitchen!
Much like mounted lights, recessed lighting will serve your lighting needs when you do not have quite enough space for an overhead chandelier or other hanging lights. While primarily focused on ambient lighting, you can find directional recessed fixtures in our catalog that will work wonderfully to give you the accent lighting you need on a piece of art or to illuminate your wine rack. Even though most recessed lighting fixtures are meant to remain mostly hidden, we have a large number of styles and colors that can subtly match the design scheme and layout of any kitchen!
Take advantage of your lightscape with customized lighting controls. Depending on what you’re doing, you probably don’t need every light on in the kitchen at once. If you’re walking in bleary-eyed in the morning for coffee, you probably don’t want to be blinded, and only may need a few accent lights on, or just a dimmed setting on your overhead pendants. While your main ambient fixture should have its own dedicated switch, the rest of your lighting around the kitchen can be put on dimmers, so you always have just as much light as you need.
You may also utilize smart lighting controls for your home so that you can control the lights directly from a control panel or from your connected devices like phones and tablets. These not only help to keep your light friendly at all times, but they can save you money on your energy bills by reducing the amount of electricity that is used at any time.
Ready to start creating the best lightscape for your kitchen? Prepare meals more easily, entertain your guests, and be able to finally relax in this multi-purpose room. Stop by the Southern Lights showroom in Minnesota today to take a look at all of our fixtures, chandeliers, and other options. Our staff will be delighted to help you find just the right option to meet your design needs. Can’t make it to the showroom? No problem! Our full catalog is available online, and you will be able to shop to your heart's content and have your new lighting fixtures delivered right to your door.