Kitchen Light­ing De­sign Guide

So of­ten kitchen light­ing is an af­ter­thought, but planned and de­signed well, a light­ing scheme can trans­form a new kitchen. Daisy Jef­fery speaks to the ex­perts to find out what you need to con­sider

Homebuilding & Renovating - - Contents -

We re­veal how to get your light­ing scheme right in this key room

The kitchen or kitchen diner is so of­ten the hub of our homes these days, and as such, a good light­ing scheme is re­ally im­por­tant. Of all the rooms in the house, it per­haps sees the most var­ied ac­tiv­i­ties. Think of the tasks you may un­der­take in your kitchen diner – pre­par­ing din­ner, work­ing at the break­fast bar, cosy din­ners at the din­ing ta­ble – and you’ll be­gin to see why get­ting the right light­ing in the right places can re­ally help make this space a suc­cess.

In order to get your kitchen light­ing right, the key is to plan as early as pos­si­ble, and to work out where your kitchen units and fur­ni­ture will be go­ing. The lay­out of your kitchen is vi­tal to planning your light­ing scheme, as Re­becca Hutchi­son of John Cullen Light­ing ex­plains: “You’re go­ing to want your lights over work­tops and not walk­ways. If you’re planning a kitchen diner, you don’t want the din­ing ta­ble where there isn’t go­ing to be any light. You need to know the height of your units too and whether you’re go­ing to want to light these spa­ces from above.”

With a lit­tle for­ward-think­ing, you’ll also be able to plan in dif­fer­ent lay­ers of light: task, ac­cent and am­bi­ent (gen­eral) light­ing. Prac­ti­cal task light­ing in the form of down­lights and un­der-unit lights, for in­stance, are well placed

above work­tops in order to il­lu­mi­nate task ar­eas. If you’re de­sign­ing your kitchen to in­clude an is­land or ta­ble then you might con­sider pen­dants both as a fo­cal point and to fo­cus a soft glow on the ta­ble. While LED strips un­der break­fast bars, over wall units or il­lu­mi­nat­ing shelves can then pro­vide ac­cent light­ing, high­light­ing these fea­tures while bring­ing a warm back­light to cre­ate at­mos­phere in the evening. Fi­nally, wall and ta­ble lights are a good means of pro­vid­ing gen­eral (or am­bi­ent) light­ing

A good light­ing scheme is not just about choos­ing the right type of light­ing for the right spot — do con­sider how the colour of your LEDS will im­pact your scheme, too. The colour tem­per­a­ture of LEDS is mea­sured in kelvins (or K) — day­light mea­sures around 6,000-6,500 kelvins; con­versely, can­de­light mea­sures about 1,800 kelvins. While you may want your LEDS to give off ‘cool white’ light above task ar­eas, ‘warm white’ is much more re­lax­ing for din­ing ar­eas.

“The most ver­sa­tile colour for kitchen light­ing is 2,700 kelvins, which gives off a slightly warm light that is creamy enough to have on dur­ing the day but is still a com­fort­able warm light for even­ings,” adds Re­becca Hutchi­son. “For lights within shelv­ing units, you would most likely have these on of an evening for at­mos­phere and so you’d more than likely se­lect strips with ex­tra warmth and go for 2,400 kelvins.”

Fi­nally, a good light­ing scheme is all about bal­ance — if your scheme looks too busy on a light­ing plan then that’s be­cause it prob­a­bly is. “The most com­mon mis­take is to punc­ture the ceil­ing with too many down­lights — for an av­er­age-size room (4 x 4m) six down­lighters is ad­e­quate. More than 10 can be ex­ces­sive and not en­ergy ef­fi­cient,” says elec­tri­cian Dar­ryl Ber­tie. “I have seen ob­scene amounts of down­lights in kitchens, liv­ing rooms and bed­rooms. It’s tempt­ing at the light­ing de­sign stage to over­com­pen­sate and worry about the lack of work­ing light, par­tic­u­larly in kitchens. I de­sign the lay­out of down­lights in a room to give a max­i­mum flood of light to cover the floor area.”

Spec­i­fy­ing track or mono­rail light­ing can be a cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive; you’ll be able to po­si­tion lights on the track to tar­get the key ar­eas you want to il­lu­mi­nate. Such a so­lu­tion also means you will not need to punc­ture mul­ti­ple holes in the ceil­ing.

Who will Over­see the Work?

Your kitchen light­ing could fall to var­i­ous par­ties to man­age, de­pend­ing on your bud­get, spec­i­fi­ca­tion and will­ing­ness to spread the work­load. You might want to en­gage a light­ing de­signer to over­see work, how­ever some kitchen com­pa­nies will of­fer this ser­vice as part of a pack­age or added ex­tra. “For ele­ments such as in-cab­i­net light­ing, it very much de­pends on how you brief your kitchen sup­plier as to who is re­spon­si­ble for in­stalling this,” says Re­becca Hutchi­son of John Cullen Light­ing. “It’s worth not­ing though that if this is pro­vided and in­stalled by your kitchen sup­plier, you might not have the same colour of light as the rest of the light­ing in the room — whereas if you spec­ify all of your light­ing from the same place then the warmth and bright­ness will be con­sis­tent and you’ll end up with a bet­ter re­sult.” Al­ter­na­tively you could work with your elec­tri­cian who will be able to carry out the work on your be­half — you may even be able to take on some of the work your­self (for in­stance, chas­ing out walls) if your elec­tri­cian is happy to sign it off. If you’re tak­ing on any elec­tri­cal work on a DIY ba­sis, you’ll need to be aware of what you can and can’t do. Part L of the Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions re­quires 75% of light­ing in the new homes to be en­ergy ef­fi­cient, and if you add LED down­lights and strip lights in the kitchen, this is go­ing to take up a good pro­por­tion of

State­ment pen­dant light Un­like prac­ti­cal down­lights, pen­dants are a great way of adding in­ter­est to your kitchen, and looks most ef­fec­tive when placed above a kitchen is­land or above a din­ing ta­ble — help­ing to zone the sep­a­rate ar­eas within a kitchen to

Ceilng light­ing Po­si­tion­ing down­lights within the ceil­ing of­fers prac­ti­cal light­ing from above, which can be used to il­lu­mi­nate work­tops and kitchen is­lands. While it might be tempt­ing to add lots of down­lights to en­sure the space is ad­e­quately lit, inst

That per­cent­age.

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