Thursday, 2 August 2007

Kitchen Lighting

I WROTE recently about the benefits of kitchen islands.

The popularity of the kitchen island has been a good indication of how modern and up-to-date a home is. And estate agents/realtors will tell you that a well-done kitchen island in a smart kitchen is a big asset when it comes to selling your home.

The person primarily responsible for preparing the meals, finds a separate area with adequate counter space that is designed exclusively for creating meals, an attractive feature when considering the kitchen and dining area layout. However, while the kitchen island is appealing, a poorly lit island can make it next to useless.

Keep in mind that preparing a meal involves multi-tasking, detailed work and cleanliness. Without the right kind of lighting these tasks can be very difficult if not impossible.

If you buy a home with a kitchen island you may need to consider some renovations, particularly in the area of effective lighting.

The best kitchen island lighting will incorporate both functional light as well as aesthetic light. This means that kitchen island lighting should have appropriate task lighting and ambient lighting.
These two principles apply to basically every interior space of your home. For most kitchen islands, multiple pendant configurations are the most popular and the most effective in providing full, adequate lighting for the food preparation area. Generally, these multiple pendants are available in three, four, six and eight pendant sets.

Most kitchen islands are laid out in a rectangular pattern, which makes them appropriate for one of the multiple pendant configurations, listed above.

Another option is a large Tiffany style pendant fixture, which would be centred over the island. While Tiffany lighting is definitely an option to consider, the vast majority of kitchen islands use multiple pendants with soft, diffused lighting to avoid spotlighting and glare.
Most lighting for kitchen islands would be considered task lighting.

This type of lighting should provide bright, but not harsh lighting and as mentioned above, the entire food preparation area should be evenly lit with no shadows or “dead” spots. Dimmer switches are frequently installed and allow brighter lighting when preparing meals and more subdued lighting when serving and eating.

Some homeowners opt for track lighting, which offers multi-purpose lighting, which is more hidden than the other two options previously mentioned. LED track lighting, which can become somewhat expensive, offers the option of changing lighting to alter the mood and create just the right ambience. In the long run, LEDs provide maximum energy savings, long lamp life and are easily adaptable to different lighting schemes.

Given the right layout, fluorescent tube lights can serve as another option because of their ability to provide bright lighting to large areas. The old standby of incandescent lighting is a possibility, particularly if you have ceiling mounts. Incandescent lighting can be made more energy efficient with the use of low-voltage bulbs to reduce glare.

Finally, recessed lighting is also a viable option though not nearly as popular as the other types of lighting mentioned earlier in this article. Recessed lighting usually takes somewhat more planning and labor to install, but they can provide a very desirable effect.

In today’s market, the homeowner has the advantage of being able to select from a wide variety of styles. Consider the basic style and d├ęcor of your home and then decide if you want your kitchen lighting to be modern or have a rich or even ornate look. Again, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Finally, don’t forget accent lighting to highlight objects in the room that you would like to draw attention to but be careful not to overdo it.

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