Appropriate choice of kitchen lighting depends on the space layout, individual pieces of furniture and, naturally, on the requirements of the user of the space, i.e. on you.
In general, lighting should consist of several independent parts:
1. Diffuse*) lighting of the space as a whole,
2. Task lighting – i.e. workspace lighting,
3. Design lighting.
Wherever it is likely that you will chop and slice food or read recipes, the workspace should be provided with diffuse*) light. This helps to avoid shadows and, especially, reflections from metal tools. The ideal location is below eye level, in the furniture structure, which prevents users from looking directly at the light source as much as possible, even when comfortably leaning against the worktop with a glass of wine.
Design luminaires should attract attention and correspond with the character of the space. Their use is suitable for layouts with a kitchen island or a bar. If any guests in your home eventually gather in the kitchen, consider additional lighting in the form of a table lamp or a floor lamp to complete the intimate atmosphere. Luminaire dimming should be a natural feature in such a case.
However, this doesn’t exhaust all the possibilities of kitchen lighting. If you want to raise your kitchen to a more luxurious level, you can add indirect lighting above the cabinets, light the bracket bases or overlaps of stand-up cabinets, or install interior lighting of glass showcases. A practical thing is lighting of drawers and deeper cabinets, which is activated automatically when opened.
The icing on the cake, which exceeds the common perception of the kitchen space, is to use accent (spot) lighting. It should only be used if you want to light, for example, a work of art hanging on the wall above the bar or if you have unique pieces of Venetian glass or Chinese porcelain on a shelf. But make sure to avoid the possibility of glare when looking directly into the luminaire.
The architect’s final advice? Choose a kitchen style in which you will feel comfortable and in which you will want to spend time. Then interconnect the main elements of the space, including luminaires, with a single colour or material. Discuss the more technical elements or the suitability of using specific luminaires with an expert, and you can’t go wrong.
*) lighting by linear, in this case ideally inbuilt or surface-mounted luminaires – a counterpart to spot lighting
Tereza Sehnalová / Lighting Architect