Tips & tricks for layering lighting in your kitchen

Your kitchen has a lot of jobs. It’s a cooking space, an entertainment centre and sometimes even a fine dining restaurant. That’s why interior designers know that functional and fashionable kitchen lighting is best served up in layers. Layered lighting is the only way to achieve the perfect balance of ambient, task and accent light!

Ambient

Layered lighting begins with ambient light to illuminate an entire space with bright and even light for everyday living. Ambient kitchen lighting can be achieved through wall mounted fixtures, pendant lighting, recessed lighting or track lights.

Make it work for you: Before you choose a source, make use of natural light and go from there. For example, if your kitchen is south facing with large windows, a single large linen pendant will probably provide enough ambient light. However, if you have only one small window, amplify what little natural light there is with light colours and lots of recessed lighting.

It’s also useful to consider whether you prefer warm or cool ambient light. If you’re not sure, look to your décor for clues! If you’re drawn to warm colours, or your kitchen is traditional, you may be drawn to lighting that mimics incandescent or candlelight. If your kitchen is a light and modern space, cool light might be right for you.

Layered lighting begins with ambient light to illuminate an entire space with bright and even light for everyday living. © leicht.com

Layered lighting begins with ambient light to illuminate an entire space with bright and even light for everyday living. © leicht.com

Task

Task lighting allows you to perform specific tasks with extra visibility, without glare or shadow. In the kitchen, tasks like cooking and food preparation can be illuminated with track lighting, pendant lighting and under cabinet lighting.

Make it work for you: Good task lighting is all about placement! Did you know that this lighting is best placed beside the task area, rather than over it? Furthermore, the lighting should be adjusted so that it focuses downwards and doesn’t shine in anyone’s eyes.

If your kitchen is south facing with large windows, a single large linen pendant will probably provide enough ambient light. © leicht.com

If your kitchen is south facing with large windows, a single large linen pendant will probably provide enough ambient light. © leicht.com

If you’re not in the market for built in task lighting, consider table-top or desk lamps in the kitchen. A traditional banker lamp looks charming in an eclectic or rustic kitchen design. An ultra-modern steel LED model would fit effortlessly in an integrated kitchen.

Accent

The final layered lighting ingredient adds visual interest, and even drama, to a space through strategically placed fixtures. To effectively draw the eye to specific areas of the kitchen accent lighting should be at least 3-times as bright as the ambient light. Recessed, track or wall mounted fixtures are the most typical forms of accent lighting.

Make it work for you: An innovative new way to highlight a feature, is to use uplighting. Not only will it draw attention to your desired focal point, but will create a soft halo effect. However, if you’re a serial redecorator, try track lighting as you can easily change the direction of the light direction.

Task lighting allows you to perform specific tasks with extra visibility, without glare or shadow. © leicht.com

Task lighting allows you to perform specific tasks with extra visibility, without glare or shadow. © leicht.com