Kitchen ideas: 6 ways to maximize the light

Genista Jurgens Genista Jurgens
Apartamento do Homem Moderno - Morar Mais por Menos Vitoria 2015, Cristiane Locatelli Arquitetos & Associados Cristiane Locatelli Arquitetos & Associados Modern Kitchen
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Good lighting is the key ingredient to making a kitchen great. Not only is it important that the chef sees what they are preparing and cooking, but lighting creates the whole atmosphere of the room. More than just a practical necessity, lighting is also a stylish addition. The type of bulbs you use, where you place the lights—how high, how angled, how many you have, the lampshades you use (if any), all of these are important decisions to make when installing lighting.

Of course, if you have natural light, you should maximise that—keep windows large and unobstructed. Sunlights are great for letting in more light if the walls don't allow it. So if you need to, install them (they will also add more ventilation). A combination of natural and artificial light is ideal, and today we have gathered six kitchens that have found the solution that works for them. What did they do and how did they do it? Time to learn some tips from the pros! 

1. No Dark Corners

Because we do so many different things in kitchens, you will usually need more than one type of lighting. We have areas for washing food, for cutting, preparing, and cooking. Add another area for eating, and yet another for food storage. All of these places will need to be well-lit. 

There are three types of lighting, and this colourful modern kitchen has all of them: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting. Task lighting is most useful for specific, detail, oriented activities, like cooking. By combining all different types, this kitchen has uniform and constant light; there are no corners left in the dark. Each area is controlled by separate switches, which means you can use each area as required. It means more versatility.   

2. Brighten Up Underneath

Berkshire Kitchen homify Kitchen

Berkshire Kitchen


Just like the previous kitchen, this design by kitchen planners MAPLE & GRAY has lighting installed underneath the cabinets, illuminating the whole workbench. Even with the ample natural light from the nearby window, more is needed to ensure all surfaces are bright enough. 

Professionals recommend to have at least one lightbulb per square meter for adequate working light. So install more bulbs than you think you need and you will probably have the right amount! Having the lightbulbs underneath the cabinetry, and instead of on the ceiling also eliminates shadows being projected onto the working area. 

3. Types Of Bulbs

The type of lightbulbs you use are as important as where you install them. LED lights for example, have a higher CRI (Colour Rendering Index), and lets you see colours more realistically than other bulbs. Use these in your kitchen and you will see the real colours of your food!

For lighting under cabinets, use Tungsten-halogen spotlights, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). They produce brighter, whiter light and last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Or try reflectorised incandescent bulbs which, because of their coating inside the bulb, direct the light in one direction instead of all around—perfect for kitchen tasks.  

4. Keeping On Track

More and more residential properties are installing commercial style lighting—like this kitchen by CERVERA SÁNCHEZ ARQUITECTOS. The benefits of having a track installed on the ceiling means you can have multiple bulbs in positions that can be adjusted at any time. Easily angled and tilted to focus on specific areas, track lighting keeps your options open. They have a clean and minimal aesthetic to suit many contemporary kitchens.  

5. Shine On The Inside

Another bright idea is lighting on the inside of cupboards, pantries and even draws. This stylish kitchen by GRANGE MÉXICO has subtle, chic lighting details in the high cupboards that you can easily try at home. The glass doors are ideal to show off this trend, and the silverware inside! 

Either by installing halogen lights, or fluorescent tubing along the inside of the cupboard, the effect is stunning. Lights inside drawers are connected to a motion sensor and only turn on when you open them. The same goes for the pantry, meaning the lightbulbs are glowing for longer.  

6. Clean And Crisp

Another kitchen that combines the three types of lighting (task, accent and ambient lighting), this one looks clean, tidy and professional. Lower lights hang over the kitchen island, coloured fluorescent tubing underneath the cupboards keeps the work bench bright and cheerful. And ceiling spotlights bathes the whole room in an constant and even light.  

You can see how lighting changes everything in a room. It can enlarge the space, it can separate spaces. With dimmers, it can make a kitchen dramatic and moody. It can brighten up dark cupboards, it can even make the colour of your food, your walls, and your surfaces look different. Consider your kitchen space carefully when installing light and remember the golden rule: illuminate every space; leave no dark corners. 

Looking for more kitchen inspiration? Here are 6 great ideas to make your kitchen really stand out from the rest.  

Let us know what lightbulbs you use in your own kitchen! What works best for you?

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