Kitchen lighting: 6 ways to get the perfect vibe

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From washing up to entertaining, get the perfect vibe with kitchen lighting. Here’s our quick guide.

Down lights create an even spread of light across a kitchen

1. Creating ambience: Downlights

Creating an ambient space through lighting can be achieved by diffusing light evenly across your kitchen space – creating a calm and relaxing environment.

It might be tempting to use a cheap and cheerful centre ceiling light, however this can cast your body’s shadows over the workspace. An easy way to achieve an even light flow is through the use of downlights. Downlights are small recessed light fittings in the ceiling. You’ll have multiple lights across the room which helps to even out the light.

However you should consider how many you want. Too many will create a glary atmosphere, however too few and you will have uneven light and darker spots in the room. You should seek advice from your electrician who can advise on the best spots to fit a downlight.

LED strip lighting under cupboards and pendant task lights help with kitchen practicality

2. Practicality: Pendant lights

It’s all well and good creating an Instagram-worthy kitchen, but it still needs to be practical. Dark spots and shadows can food preparation difficult – you don’t want to be squinting or in shadow with sharp knives around.

Although downlights work well for creating an overall wash of light across the kitchen, you may still find there are still dark spots in food preparation areas, caused by the shadows of overhead cabinets. A good solution to this is LED strip lighting under kitchen cabinets and above work surfaces offering additional light.

Another good lighting solution is a task light. This is a pendant fixture that hangs down over a surface – particularly good for kitchen islands.

Another spot that often gets overlooked is the pantry. There’s nothing worse than rummaging through the back of the pantry not being able to tell if it’s cumin or cinnamon you’re reaching for. A simple fix is another LED strip in the pantry. 

If you have any alcoves or an unusual shaped kitchen space, an electrician will be able to provide any tips on other spots that might require additional light.

Sconce (wall lamps) are great for showing off features

3. Show off your features: Sconces, gimbals and LED strips

Accent lighting is the secret to that high-end feel. Use LED strip lighting above overhead cabinets, wine racks and splashbacks to provide the illusion of extra height and space. 

For artwork or any other focal piece, you can also use LED strip lights which will cast a small but dramatic shadow on the wall, showcasing your piece. Gimbals and sconces are fixtures that also work particularly well to highlight your artwork.

Gimbals are similar to a downlight, only they can be rotated to focus the light.

A sconce, also called a wall lamp, is a fixture that protrudes from the wall. Typically it directs the light upwards and therefore is perfect to sit beneath a focal point of a room.

If in doubt of the best fixture, speak to your kitchen designer or an electrician who can help you make the most of your space and features.

Don’t forget to your update your switches with a kitchen refurb

4. Finishing touches: Light switches

A little feature that often gets overlooked – the humble switch. 

Think about what you use the space for, as this will affect the brightness you need and the changing environments throughout the day. Naturally for preparing food or helping the kids with their homework, you’ll want a brighter light to see what you’re doing; however if you also use the same space for entertaining you might want to consider a dimmer switch so you can change the mood of the room from day to night. This will help the space feel like an entertaining space, and not just eating in the kitchen.

Also if you’ve recently invested in a sleek new kitchen refurb, an out-dated light switch will stand out like a sore thumb. A glass or touch screen switch could really be the finishing touch of a new kitchen.

LED bulbs are more energy efficient than tungsten or halogen

5. Energy efficiency: Switch to LED lights

If you haven’t switched to LED lights already you should consider doing so.

LEDs produce light through semi-conductors and not through a filament like traditional globes. Because of this they are more energy efficient than halogen and tungsten filament bulbs. They are more eco-friendly to produce and last longer too. As they emit less heat they are less of a fire risk and safer for your home.

They come in warm white if you want a cosier feel, or cool white if you want a bright fresh kitchen.

Install smart bulbs that can be controlled by Google Home, Alexa and other smart systems

6. Connect your lighting with your devices: Smart lights

The pièce de résistance to your new kitchen environment are smart globes. Imagine cosying down with a glass of red after a beautiful meal, and instead of interrupting the moment to get up to flick off the switch, you can simply dim the lights with your phone.  

There are also added benefits to smart lights, for example you can set timers through your phone so that they switch on when you are out, giving the illusion someone is home as a deterrent to intruders.  

Smart globes are (typically) LED globes that are WiFi or Bluetooth enabled, meaning you can connect them to your Google Home, Siri, Alexa or to their own apps. You can also connect them to your other “smart” gadgets for a truly connected home. 

If these are Bluetooth enabled you will need to have your phone in the radius of the light. Or if these are WiFi enabled you can choose to connect to your home router. Some smart globes and appliances require a special hub called a Zigbee, that plugs into your router and transmits the signals needed for your smart gadgets. 

Lighting is key to changing the atmosphere of a room, especially the kitchen. Whether you’re looking for a total refurb, or just want a small tweak that can make all the difference, have a chat with one of our experienced electricians who can offer consultancy on how to improve the lighting in your home.

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