Kitchen Lighting : How to light your kitchen

More than the heart of your home, your kitchen is the one space where every aspect of life happens.  Chatting with friends and family, kids doing homework, organising the details of your life – and of course, cooking your meals.  With the right lighting, your kitchen becomes more than just a functional area in your home, it becomes the central hub for your lifestyle.

This week, we’re sharing some tips on how to use lighting to your best advantage in the kitchen – hitting all the right notes with the right light.

Layer your LIGHT.

We talk about layered light at lot at MINT and that’s because it allows us to craft the perfect light at the simple flick of a switch. Transforming a room by simply changing where the light is coming from and what it is doing.  We talk in lighting design about light existing in three distinct variations. Layering light uses a minimum of two approaches, sometimes all three.

Task Lighting – The most obvious in your kitchen, and with considered placement of your light fittings, it’s super easy to achieve. We’ve all been in kitchens where the standard layout of down-lights places them over the walkways of the kitchen instead of over the bench.  We’ve all stood at a bench trying to do something and been stymied by shadows.  The fix here is simple, get those lights over your bench and not over the space between the bench and the cupboards!  Quality strip lighting in your joinery will supplement your task lighting beautifully. The trick to finding quality here is ensuring you have strip that is CRI90+ and has 120 LED chips per meter for beautiful, uniform light.

Ambient (General) Lighting – This layer is completely neglected in homes where down-lights are the sole source of illumination.  To create ambient light, we need to use light fittings that are not directional, and by that we mean fittings that fill the room with light, turning the room into the light source.  Quality LED lighting allows us to craft magnificent ambient lighting in a room, from the smallest imaginable light fittings, ensuring that the lighting is not the feature in the room, but is working for the overall design and function of the room.

Accent Lighting – Is all about highlighting features in a room. Maybe it’s artworks on the wall in your open plan kitchen and living or maybe it’s the light fitting itself. A beautiful pendant or cluster of pendants can add drama to a room or can soften it and create a welcoming glow. Using pendants strategically to draw your eye and finish off your interior decoration is an art, but finding the perfect pendant for you is deeply personal. You’ve got to fall in love with your decorative lighting, then your heart will sing every time you look at it.

Get your lighting colour RIGHT

We’ve been talking a lot lately with professional Kitchen designers and unearthing some of the problems they face with getting the right lighting into their designs. As Melbourne based lighting designers, we stand firm behind the notion of always using warm white 3000K light in homes as it enhances the welcoming mood in your home.  There are of course different schools of thought when it comes to colour temperature and that’s always most evident when we look to the Northern States in Australia.  The difference between cooler climates desiring warm light and warmer climates desiring cool light is obvious when you think about it, but often overlooked in the design process.  There is also a viable argument for using a crisp, high quality 4000K neutral white in a kitchen when a design is strongly minimal with only blacks, whites and greys in the colour palette.  The key when it comes to colour is understanding what you really want to see, and how you want to feel and then making the right choice for you and your home.

Don’t forget the DARK corners

Pantries and cupboards and commonly overlooked for lighting, with the assumption apparently being that if you have 6 diffuse down-lights in a kitchen then everything is perfectly lit. Often however, pantries have corners in them, a perfect place for things to hide.  Adding a little light to your pantry or cupboards ensures that you never lose that wooden spoon again – and also means you don’t need as much light generally, keeping your ceilings clear and clean.

Use LESS for MORE.

Energy efficiency is at the forefront of all our minds, especially in Winter when the heater is pushing up our bills.  It’s easy to be energy efficient in your home – in fact at MINT, we regularly design homes that are brilliantly illuminated which come in under 3W/M2.  The trick is to strategically place efficient lights throughout your home to focus on lighting up the things and areas you want to see. We always use LED these days, providing you select from quality suppliers, the light is unsurpassed! The spaces in between will look after themselves.  Lighting this way brings texture, shade and brilliant brightness to your home, in all the places you need it.

With the right advice, you can transform your kitchen into a beautiful, functionally sustainable space that meets your every need, be it the heart of the party or a quiet place to cook your dinner.