ITHINK LIGHTING is one of the most un­der­val­ued el­e­ments in a home,” said in­te­rior de­signer and TV per­son­al­ity Sarah Richard­son when we met in a kitchen she de­signed at Toronto’s Mono­gram ap­pli­ance show­room.

“I tend to cook more by at­mo­spheric lighting and less by the over­all am­bi­ent lighting,” she says. “I couldn’t have a kitchen that didn’t have beau­ti­ful pen­dant lights.”

For counter top tasks, the de­signer favours LED strip lighting mounted un­der cab­i­nets. They’re sold in myr­iad op­tions – hard­wire to wire- less – so an easy upgrade.

There are no less than five light sources in the show­room kitchen, I note. “We have dif­fer­ent needs at dif­fer­ent times of the day,” she says. “Scrub­bing my kitchen at night – that’s dif­fer­ent than hav­ing a glass of wine and chat­ting with a friend.”

In ad­di­tion to lay­ered lighting, dim­mer switches help you to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent mood and char­ac­ter, Richard­son notes. “An elec­tri­cian will ask, ‘Where?’ And I’ll say, ‘Ev­ery­where!’”

Lighting can also cel­e­brate de­sign fea­tures. “If you’ve in­vested in the mar­ble back­splash, il­lu­mi­nate it!” Show off. Sarah says so. —Tara Losin­ski

A nod to nau­ti­cal, brass sconces are a func­tional style el­e­ment that also high­light a luxe mar­ble back­splash.

In­te­rior de­signer Sarah Richard­son

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