Kitchen lighting mistakes and how to avoid them

Kitchens can be challenging spaces to light.  In this post we look at the most common kitchen lighting mistakes and how to avoid them.

Soft lighting in a lovely Yorkshire country house kitchen

Kitchens need to be highly functional spaces, they’re often multi-functional; used for cooking, dining, entertaining.  So while good task lighting is essential we believe that great kitchen lighting should be functional, intimate, even glamorous. Poorly designed kitchen lighting can make the space bland and difficult to work in.  The kitchen sits at the heart of the home; let’s look at the kitchen lighting mistakes often made and how to avoid them.

Kitchen lighting mistakes #1 The grid of downlights

Perhaps more than any other room, there is a lot going on in a kitchen.  There might be different zones; food preparation, cooking, sitting and chilling, dining.  Delivering the right quantity and quality of light to each area is important so avoid mistake number 1: The Grid of Downlights. A grid of downlights is easy to draw but it’s about the worse thing you can do.  It will strip the character and shape from your space, you hamper your ability to zone the space but much worse it will inevitably put light in the wrong place.  This can lead to shadows over working areas, lights uncomfortably close to cupboards etc.  The key lesson to take from this is if you’ve not got your working plan for your kitchen design finalised, you’re not in a position to design your lighting.

Kitchen lighting mistakes #2  “Throwing the kitchen sink at it”

When there’s so much to light and people are afraid of underlighting their kitchens they can go over the top and light everything.  Lighting is best thought about in layers; task lighting, dining lighting, accent lighting pulling out the key features.  Light everything and you lose the character and shape of the kitchen space.  Think about the key zones in the kitchen, think about the key working, dining and entertaining areas, think about the key features and then light them.

Kitchen lighting mistakes #3 Using too few circuits

Zoning in the Kitchen and other linked spaces is vital.  It gives definition and helps create both good task lighting and intimate or entertaining areas as required.  Using too few circuits really hinders your ability to treat different zones differently leading to a much more bland design.

Kitchen lighting mistakes #4 Thinking all fittings are the same

This is a tricky one to get across in print because it’s only when you’re looking at the awful light given out by poor quality LED fittings that you might see it. The problem is that might be too late for your scheme. We believe the quality of fittings used in any scheme is really important but it’s doubly important in the kitchen  Accurate colour rendering and the quality of light will make a huge difference.  Whether you’re preparing food or eating, good quality and colour of light is essential. Good quality light means using good quality light fitings. All LED fittings are not created equal. Have a look at our “Cheap as Chips” article for more information

Kitchen lighting mistakes #5 Not putting a downstand on the kitchen units

This is more about joined-up thinking.  Good lighting is vital in kitchens and it should be considered as an integral element of the kitchen design.  Not using a downstand means that under-unit lighting is going to look unfinished.  If you want to underlight units then plan that into the unit design.

The common kitchen lighting mistakes can be avoided by early planning and real thought as to how the space is going to be used.  Click here to read more about Brilliant Lighting’s approach to Kitchen Lighting.  If you’d like more information, give us a call on 01845 525664.

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A selection of high quality downlights

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