An es­sen­tial decor layer

Suzanne Frost speaks to an ex­pert about cook­ing up the best light­ing scheme for your kitchen

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

PLAN­NING kitchen light­ing is as im­por­tant to designing and re­mod­elling a kitchen as pick­ing out the cab­i­netry and ap­pli­ances; how­ever, it is one as­pect that is of­ten over­looked.

Says Melissa David­son from The Light­ing Ware­house: “The kitchen of to­day is of­ten the busiest room in the home — it is where we cook, eat, so­cialise, and of­ten work. The fact that this room has be­come a mul­ti­func­tional space is clearly re­flected in how mod­ern de­signs of­ten in­cor­po­rate some kind of open-plan lay­out be­tween the kitchen and the liv­ing ar­eas.

“In line with this new and evolv­ing trend, the light­ing de­sign in a kitchen is very im­por­tant as it needs to ac­com­mo­date var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties and func­tions in both an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing and a func­tional man­ner.”

Where, his­tor­i­cally, home­own­ers might have used one sin­gle flu­o­res­cent to try to light up their whole kitchen, there are ac­tu­ally a num­ber of var­i­ous types of light­ing that can be used to light a kitchen, in­clud­ing flu­o­res­cent tub­ing, un­der-cabi­net, cabi­net down­light­ing, re­cessed, pen­dant, chan­de­lier and wire sys­tem light­ing. These can be di­vided into four broad cat­e­gories or lay­ers of light­ing, which in­clude task, am­bi­ent, ac­cent and dec­o­ra­tive light­ing.

“The big­gest mis­take most peo­ple make is try­ing to light their en­tire kitchen with one cen­trally placed fix­ture with­out con­sid­er­ing the size of the kitchen and or the dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions of light­ing in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of their kitchen. Al­though a suc­cess­ful kitchen light­ing de­sign need not be com­plex, it should be lay­ered in or­der to cre­ate a warm and invit­ing space that can func­tion as a cook­ing area, a prac­ti­cal workspace and an ap­peal­ing en­ter­tain­ment area,” ex­plains David­son.

A fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ment in any kitchen, task light­ing, as its name im­plies, aids in all the tasks that get done in the kitchen, such as cut­ting, cook­ing, read­ing and mov­ing from one place to the other. The place­ment of task light­ing needs to be care­fully planned to avoid un­wanted shad­ows on your workspace.

“Key lo­ca­tions for task light­ing in­clude un­der­neath and over­head cab­i­nets, over the is­land, over the hob or sink, above the kitchen ta­ble — in fact, any­where you will be chop­ping, slic­ing, cook­ing, wash­ing up, mix­ing, eat­ing or read­ing. The pantry is an­other place that re­quires bright, fo­cused light — here a novel idea is to in­stall some kind of sen­sor light that switches on when­ever the door is opened or, for big­ger pantries, when­ever some­body walks in,” ex­plains David­son.

She says that un­der-cabi­net and un­der-counter light­ing are great choices, as they pro­vide bright task light­ing, but the ac­tual light fit­ting is out of sight.

Am­bi­ent light can be de­scribed as the gen­eral, over­all light that fills in shad­ows, re­duces con­trast and lights ver­ti­cal sur­faces to make the space feel lighter, airier and more invit­ing. “This par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory of light­ing is of­ten over­looked in the kitchen, but it is es­sen­tial as it makes the space more al­lur­ing and cre­ates a more so­cia­ble am­bi­ence — it soft­ens lines and shad­ows and gives a room an ap­peal­ing warm glow,” ex­plains David­son.

She says that to­day’s kitchens are an in­te­gral part of the en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, and as such, the light­ing needs to at­tract peo­ple into the space and mak­ing them feel warm and wel­come. Ideal fit­tings for am­bi­ent light­ing in­clude flush-mounted ceil­ing fix­tures, pen­dant light fit­tings, and ad­justable wire sys­tem light­ing.

As the kitchen is be­ing in­creas­ingly used for ca­sual en­ter­tain­ing, so is ac­cent light­ing be­com­ing a pro­gres­sively more pop­u­lar ad­di­tion to light­ing de­signs.

Es­sen­tially, ac­cent light­ing is used to give a space a third di­men­sion by il­lu­mi­nat­ing var­i­ous fo­cal fea­tures that we would like peo­ple to no­tice or ad­mire, such as art­work, in­ter­est­ing ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail­ing, or a mo­saic splash­back, for ex­am­ple. “Light­ing that is in­stalled in­side glass cab­i­nets to il­lu­mi­nate col­lec­tions of china or glass­ware is an­other great source of ac­cent light­ing,” notes David­son. Wire sys­tem light­ing, up- lighters, direc­tional eye­ball lights and wall sconces are all great sources of ac­cent light­ing.

Nowa­days, you can add LED globes and re­duce the heat buildup, while sav­ing on your elec­tric­ity bill as well.

“Dec­o­ra­tive light­ing is the prover­bial cherry on top — it is the light fit­ting that ev­ery­body will no­tice; one that will tie in and com­ple­ment the over­all decor style of the kitchen,” says David­son. She notes that it is es­sen­tial that the scale of the fit­ting you have cho­sen is right for the space: “As such, size and pro­por­tion are crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions. What is nice about choos­ing dec­o­ra­tive fit­tings how­ever, is that you can re­ally have fun and choose a fit­ting more for its aes­thetic ap­peal than for its func­tion­al­ity.” Great choices for dec­o­ra­tive light­ing in­clude chan­de­liers, hang­ing pen­dants and any other eye-catch­ing fit­tings.

David­son says that the un­der­ly­ing con­cept of any lay­ered light­ing de­sign, is to en­sure that you have a va­ri­ety of light­ing op­tions avail­able at your fin­ger­tips: “The eas­i­est way to en­sure this is to use mul­ti­ple switches for each layer of light­ing for bet­ter con­trol — what­ever you do, do not put all the light­ing on one switch.

“Also, you can use dim­mer switches to con­trol and help stage dif­fer­ent types of light­ing ef­fects for dif­fer­ent types of oc­ca­sions by low­er­ing or bright­en­ing the lights.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.