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Lighting is a specific and a complex branch in the world of interior design and architecture. It has many aspects and factors that vary for each of its purpose, place or room setting, and that is why it is very tricky and unrewarding to list general rules about its application.

The Right Lighting for Kitchens

Kitchens are one of those spaces which require special attention in lighting and functionality. In this posts, we’ll provide several tips about lighting these specific areas in the home.

The Kitchen’s Position

Before getting into the details about which type of lighting fixtures would be the best fit, interior designers first look up at the general floor plan area (whether in 3d or 2d drawing), to see the position of the kitchen in relation with the rest of the house or apartment.

If the kitchen is open spaced and integrated with the living room and the dining room, then the kitchen lighting should complement the rest of that area. True, kitchens do require more than one special type of lighting (as we’ll explain below), however, it needs to follow (or lead) the aesthetic and style of the whole area.

If the kitchen happens to be a separate space, lighting style can vary and be on its own.

integrated kitchen lighting

Integrated lights and simple pendant fixtures in the kitchen fit well in this open-space loft (by Worth Interiors)

Types of Lighting

Kitchens always require at least two types of lighting – above all, they are a functional space, and the lighting must be as well. One type is usually general, overall lighting, the other type is the focused lighting or task lighting. General lighting should be located over walkways, rendering generous light to them, the counters, sinks, and appliances.

Task lighting is what brings interest to many. Besides providing focus above the preparation area, it can also be the ambient light when the general light is off. For this purpose, task (focused) lighting should also be dimmable, like the under-cabinet lights.

Watermill Watermill Home Kitchen with a counter and white stools 07 Luxury interior

In contemporary and luxurious interiors, kitchen islands are almost always present and are often the preparation zone and the gather-around zone. Therefore, they require special attention to task lighting which will be both functional for food preparation and also create a focal point for quick gatherings.

Choosing Lighting Fixtures

Task light can be less visible by integrating it under the cabinets, thus leaving it to work sometimes as a subtle light if needed. Kitchens are often the heart of the home, so beautiful recessed lights or vintage pendant lamps above the kitchen island or in the center of the kitchen can significantly enrich the visual appeal of this area.

Color Temperature Range

After going through the position, the lighting scheme, and choosing the lighting fixtures, there is one final technical detail that can either beautifully round up the space, or mess the whole experience. The color temperature of the light source is what in the end gives that warm glow and sets the harmonious tone. Food preparation demands clear but a bit on-the-warmer side lighting, so avoid using cool LEDs or neon lights (a big no!). For kitchens, it is recommended to pick light sources that emit clear white light at around 4000 Kelvins. Anything above 4000 Kelvins will produce a colder, less inviting mood.


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