Both nature and artificial lighting has being played such an important role for the kitchen design in the recent years not just for functionalities but also aesthetic and wellness as well. A well-lit kitchen always appears more pleasant to you no matter how simple it is. There are several ways to bring in more nature light into a kitchen space such as having new windows at the location that can be exposed to the most of the light during a day, enlarging windows and doors, making windows and doors as high as possible to close to the ceilings to bounce back more light, installing sky lights, etc.The lighter and high sheen paints also can reflect more light back to the room. The same rule applies for the countertops. But there is always a catch because the too shining and polished surfaces will create a lot of glares. We just need to be more mindful when we take consider of all of the design elements. There are 5 pillars of kitchen lighting design—task lighting, accent lighting , general lighting and ambient lighting and decorative lighting.Today we are going to focus on one of the pillars of lighting design –ambient lighting.
Ambient lighting really is the primary source of light for rooms. It serves as the foundation of all the lighting of a room, improving not only the look but the sense of warmth and space. The five main categories of ambient lighting as the term applies to kitchens are: recessed lighting, Chandeliers, pendants, island lights and wall or flush-mounted lighting fixtures. A good lighting plan for kitchens should involve balancing the amount of light; you don’t want to try to illuminate every corner of the kitchen, nor do you want to leave other areas in shadows.
The key to ambient lighting is to provide a consistent light layer, and any recessed lighting should work in concert with the other lighting choices. When laying out recessed lighting in a kitchen, you’ll want to focus on areas that aren’t covered by other fixtures like pucks or undercabinet lighting. For a galley-style kitchen or walkways created by an island, a single row of appropriately spaced recessed lights will complement the other fixtures. Well-powered flush-mounts can be equally effective if you choose locations that provide even lighting throughout the space.
Recessed lighting can help fill in the gaps for general kitchen lighting. When choosing recessed lights, take the beam spread and measurements of the space into account. If you have an eight foot ceiling and an island that is four feet wide, you will need a beam spread to match. To avoid reflected glare on shiny countertops, it’s best to avoid direct downlights; cross-illumination can help in this case.
If you have existing cans, LED retrofit trim kits and/or retrofit LEDs bulbs are a great option; they come in a wide variety and are easy to install. Be sure to select an LED bulb that will fit the recessed can.
While they may seem more expensive at initial purchase, they outlast incandescent lamps by 15 times (i.e. 30,000 hours compared to 2,000 hours).
Chandeliers and Island Lights
Size does matter when it comes to finding the right chandelier to hang in a home. A large room can swallow a small chandelier and create an unbalanced space. A chandelier that is too large risks overpowering the space. A good rule of thumb as far as dimensions is as follows: Use a fixture that is 12” narrower than the width of the table or island you are lighting. The bottom of a chandelier over a dining table or kitchen island should hang 30 to 32 inches above the top of the table or island. No one wants to be staring into the light source. If you are hanging the chandelier on an open floor, the chandelier’s bottom should be seven (7) feet away from the floor. Island lights are a more linear version of a chandelier, so the same rule applies as far as dimensions.
Pendant lights are ideally placed directly above sinks, standalone islands or work areas, dining or kitchen tables, and other hubs of activity. You should avoid placing them directly above appliances with their own built-in lighting, such as stove ranges or refrigerators. To minimize glare, make sure to mount the pendant no closer than two-and-a-half feet from the surface it’s lighting. When hanging pendants over a kitchen island, the distance between the bottom of the pendant lights and the countertop should generally be between 30″-36″. A basic rule of thumb is to use approximately 25% of the length of the island to find the right sized pendant and factor in that there should be 24″ between the pendants which will dictate how many to install.
Wall or Flush-Mounted
As an alternative to recessed lights,ceiling flush mounts offer decorative ambient lighting in a kitchen. Similar to flush-mounted ceiling lights are ceiling semi-flush lights, which project up to 18 inches from the ceiling. For decorative statements in kitchens with lower ceilings, semi-flush ceiling lights can take the place of a decorative chandelier. For general illumination, flush-mounted ceiling fixtures are an excellent solution. The best types shine light in all directions, including up toward the ceiling. To determine the size of the flush-mounted fixture, use this rule of thumb: in feet, add together the width and length of the room then convert this sum to inches. This will give you the approximate width of the flush-mount size. As an alternative to recessed lights, ceiling flush mounts offer decorative ambient lighting in a kitchen. Similar to flush-mounted ceiling lights are ceiling semi-flush lights, which project up to 18 inches from the ceiling. For decorative statements in kitchens with lower ceilings, semi-flush ceiling lights can take the place of a decorative chandelier.
Ambient: Opt for bulbs with a color temperature of 3500K to 4100K to ensure that floors and work surfaces are lit with a neutral, true white light.
Incandescent, LED, and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for the kitchen come in one of three color temperatures that describe the color characteristics of the light the bulb emits. There’s Soft White (2700K to 3000 Kelvins (K)), Cool White/Bright White (3500K to 4100K), and Daylight (5000K to 6500K). The higher the bulb temperature, the cooler (i.e., bluer) the light it emits; the lower the temperature, the warmer (i.e., more amber) the light. Choose the color temperature best suited for the function of the fixture.
Dimmer switches add much desired flexibility to any lighting design. In the kitchen, these handy gadgets grant you the ability to turn up the light while preparing food and during the after dinner cleanup, and soften the lights a bit during the meal and later in the evening when activity diminishes. Just make sure to choose the right dimmers that are compatible to the LED bulbs.
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