Kitchen lighting ideas to brighten up your space

Interior designers say the most effective lighting for kitchens comes in four distinct layers blended together – task, ambient, accent and decorative lighting. Get this right and you’ll create a warm and inviting environment that is a practical workspace and entertaining area. 

So how can you recreate a designer look in your own kitchen? Here are our tips. 

Task lighting
Task lighting is the light that shines in the right places so you can see what you’re doing when cooking. If task lighting isn’t well placed, it can create shadows that make it difficult to see properly. 

The best places for task lighting are:
•    underneath overhead cabinets so your benchtops are illuminated
•    over the island where you do lots of chopping and recipe reading
•    in the pantry where you need to locate items at the back

Ambient lighting
Ambient lighting is often overlooked in a kitchen, and is the soft, indirect lighting that creates a warm, inviting glow in the room. With so many homes having an open plan kitchen, dining and living area, ambient lighting is an important factor. 

Ambient lighting will entice people into the kitchen when you’re entertaining, so they can have a glass of wine and eat some appetizers at the kitchen island. Flush-mounted ceiling fixtures and pendant lights are perfect examples of ambient lighting. 

Accent lighting
Accent lighting is used to specifically highlight an area of the kitchen, such as an artwork on the wall, a splash back withfeature tiles, or the inside of a cabinet. 

Internal cabinet lights, up-lighters and directional lights are all examples of accent lighting; they all serve the purpose of highlighting one feature of the kitchen. 

Decorative lighting
Decorative lighting, as the name suggests, is used to decorate your kitchen, and includes chandeliers, hanging pendants, eye-catching fixtures and recessed boxes. 

Decorative lighting should suit the size of your kitchen. A large kitchen can house a grand chandelier, while small kitchens will suit recess boxes better. Make sure the light bulb is always covered, and make sure the scale of the fixtures is right for your kitchen. 

Blending the layers
The key with kitchen lighting is to make the layers work together. It’s a common mistake for people to focus on task lighting only, and try to light their whole kitchen from one central ceiling light. 

Installing dimmers and switches allows you to control the light levels and change the mood and environment, and lets you have zones for food preparation and entertaining. 

You can read more about how to use lighting to change the look of your space here. 

For help with lighting your kitchen the right way, speak to one of our design consultants.

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