Lighting Up Your Kitchen

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ December 31, 2009

From energy-saving bulbs to recessed fixtures to pendants, there are nearly limitless solutions for putting light where you need it most in the kitchen. Lighting can be decorative, completing a theme or decor, or it can be functional, brightening up workstations and cook centers in your kitchen. There are even ways you can combine elegance, form, and utility.

Sconce lighting may not be the best overall solution for utility, but it certainly can add color, glass, and metal touches and fill the kitchen with indirect radiance. Sconces may look just right straddling a a country or farm sink. Pendant lighting adds charm and can highlight a small dinette, food preparation area, or can complement task lighting.

Lighting and Kitchen Safety

If you're remodeling, plot out your work stations, storage areas, and serving center to build a lighting scheme that layers different light sources where you need them. Under-cabinet lighting can accent the decor or create a bright, functional work area on the countertops.

Doors, windows, and skylights should all figure in when you're constructing a lighting plan. You can combine natural light and task lighting fixtures for a warm balance. Recessed fixtures with low-energy halogen bulbs can help you exploit well-aimed arcs of light for an overall effect.

Above all, you should have adequate task lighting to prevent shadows or dark regions where you may be using cutlery or appliances. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends a combination of task and general lighting for kitchen safety. Even if you can see the floor in adequate light, you may want to install slip-resistant flooring.

Look over our review of lighting trends.

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