When it comes to your kitchen remodel, lighting is one of the most impactful yet least considered elements. The kitchen is often a multi-functional space, home to food preparation, socializing, homework, and so much more, so understanding where function meets design is crucial in ensuring that your space will work well for you long term. To begin, it’s important to understand how lighting is layered and how it functions within a space. Here are the four main categories…
This is the lighting that sets the stage and provides the overall “mood” of the kitchen. Ambient lighting is the foundation for all other lighting choices. It’s usually softer, diffused, even, and covers all areas of the room. Typically this type of light comes in the form of wall-mounted can lights or recessed lighting. While recessed lighting hides the light fixture wherever it is installed, you may choose a less minimalistic look and want to go with a flush mount, where the decorative mount is visible. Regardless of style, ambient light is generally the main source of lighting for your kitchen, which sets the baseline for the feel of the room and all other lighting choices.
Task lighting is the more practical of lighting choices in your kitchen, often used to illuminate specific workspaces. Common areas for task lighting are over the countertops for preparing food, or inside a pantry closet so you can see what goods are stocked on the shelves. When picking task lighting, it’s important to think about how you will use the space the most. If you spend a lot of time preparing recipes, recessed lighting in the bottom of your upper cabinets could be a helpful choice. If you spend a lot of time at your kitchen island, installing task lighting above it can also be really helpful, especially if you add darker shades which can help focus that light into a specific spot. Take the time to think about what tasks you do most often and where you complete them so you know where a little extra lighting will aid you, and make sure to discuss it with the contractors/designers planning your remodel.
Accent lighting is generally where the fun begins to come in because it’s typically where you begin to play with design elements and fixtures instead of solely focusing on the function of lighting. Accent lighting adds depth and dimension to the environment and often tends to be the most eye-catching focal point of your design. This type of lighting can overlap and aid ambient lighting, but while ambient lighting fills up a room, accent lighting can also be used independently. Examples of these can be pendants or playful chandeliers.
Decorative lighting is completely different from the other 3 categories in that it doesn’t serve a function beyond being eye candy in the kitchen. It exists purely to add interest and fun to your space. You could choose to add colorful LED lighting around the base of your cabinets, a geometric light fixture, or an art installation that includes a lighting element within its design. This is a place for you to be really expressive and imprint your personality into the room. If you want to make a statement in your kitchen, this is where to do it.
The fun and often complicated thing about lighting is its flexibility. For example, accent lighting can be the main focal point and make a decorative statement within your kitchen. It can help support your ambient lighting or can be used for task lighting as well. You may also want to add more control to your design and lighting options by installing dimmers, for example. Considering what will work for you and your unique situation is an important part of the design process and one we talk through with our clients in detail.
If you’d like help piecing together your designs and are ready to start bringing your vision to life, we’re here to help! Contact us here to get started.