Kitchen Lighting: Shed Some Light with Four Types

The four basic types of lighting and why you should plan to use them all in your kitchen.

The home’s kitchen is activity central. To look its best and function well, all areas need to be properly lit. A common mistake is relying on one ceiling-mounted fixture to illuminate the entire room. Every kitchen lighting plan should incorporate the following four types of lighting:

Four Different Types of Kitchen Lighting


1. Ambient Lighting

Also called general lighting, ambient lighting provides the kitchen’s overall illumination. It is meant to create a comfortable brightness level, welcoming friends and family into the room and enabling you to move around safely. Examples of general lighting include ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures and recessed or track lights that direct light downwards.

2. Task Lighting

Task lighting is targeted to a particular area and helps you perform a specific task such as meal preparation, paperwork or hobbies. Recessed lights mounted on the underside of upper cabinets illuminate countertops. Pendant lighting fixtures are a great choice for over a kitchen table or island.

Kitchen Lighting: Shed Some Light with the Four Types

3. Accent Lighting

Also called highlighting, accent lighting uses concentrated light to draw attention to a particular area. Accent lighting is often created using track, recessed or wall-mounted fixtures to spotlight art, collectibles or architectural features.

Kitchen Lighting: Shed Some Light with the Four Types

4. Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting goes beyond function and adds personality to the kitchen. For example, chandeliers can set the theme for the entire room’s décor. The possibilities for decorative lighting are as vast as your imagination.

Kitchen Lighting: Shed Some Light with the Four Types

Keep It Bright or Dim the Lights

Consider wiring lighting fixtures separately and including dimmers when possible to allow you to vary the light level as needed. When cooking, cleaning or reading, bright light makes the task easier. Dimmed light can add depth and ambiance to your space, and dimming is an easy way to save energy costs.

Plan Ahead and Consider a Designer

The proper combination of lighting makes your kitchen aesthetically pleasing and functional. A professional designer will study the room’s layout and elements of the design such as ceiling height, natural light and surface finishes to determine the best types and placement of fixtures for your kitchen.

In conclusion, no single light source can provide all of the necessary light for a kitchen. A well-lit kitchen combines the four different types of lighting. Separate dimmers ensure the correct amount of light for each task and occasion. An experienced designer knows the latest lighting trends, technology and options, and can help create a kitchen lighting plan for your needs and design.

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