Lighting is an important part of any kitchen. Actually, given how visually-centred we are as human beings, it’s safe to say appropriate lighting is essential in any room.

First let’s lay down the universal principles.

Keep in mind that the modern kitchen isn’t just about preparing food. It is also for entertaining guests, so the lighting shouldn’t be overly bright. A dimmer is beneficial, allowing you to tweak the lighting based on the situation.

You’ll want the colour of the light to be ambient and friendly whilst being practical and appropriate.

You also don’t want the light fixture to block any existing natural light. Natural light has a beautiful effect, particularly in kitchens. Placing fixtures where they will block it may ruin the ambience, whether for cooking or for entertaining.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to a few lighting specifics.

For placement, you need to remember the three levels. You’ve got downlights (recessed lights), under-cabinet strip lighting, and hanging lights. Warm, golden tones are good as bulb colour temperature. You’ll want LEDs for strip lights and incandescent ones to hang most of the time.

Downlights are usually used for general illumination. However, they can also help reduce glare and shadow.

Downlights are also used in places like walkways, or in the gap between island and sink. This gives you good lighting wherever you need it, even if you’re not near the primary light source.

For under-cabinet lighting, LED is a good choice because it stays coolin positions where is can be closely mounted to other things. They’re also unlikely to be shining in anyone’s eyes since they are normally focused downwards.

Placing them anywhere that allows them to stand out as the main light sources is ideal. For instance under, or where necessary, within cabinets.

Hanging or pendant lights are usually placed over islands or dining areas. You’ll want these to be warmer andcosier to suit the atmosphere. They’re not meant to provide as much illumination as recessed ceiling fixtures, so you have to find a balance between light and stylistic elements.

If your kitchen happens to have a lot of light, that’s great! All you need to add is accent lighting. You might use LED strip lights in the back of shelves, for instance.

Another possibility is to use lighting fixtures as a back-up. The kitchen might not be well-lit all the time, such as in the evenings. In such a case, lights can be placed to supplement natural lighting so you can still see clearly, even if the sun isn’t cooperating.

When it comes to mistakes, there’s one that is far too common: having too many lights.

Too many cooks spoil the broth. Too many lights on the ceiling can ruin a kitchen. Usually, you only want to have one hanging fixture, and a few smaller ones in strategic locations. Two competing lights above can feel cluttered and messy, and may not even add that much illumination. Don’t forget the importance of practicality along the way.

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