Expert Advice - Lighting up your kitchen - with Elizabeth Lowe

6 May 2020

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Lighting is one of the most crucial areas to get right in the kitchen.  It's where you're going to create your best meals and entertain family and friends so it needs to be well lit.  Even a really well designed kitchen can fall flat if it is not easy to use at night because of lack of lighting.

Kitchen lighting comes in a huge array of styles, designs and features.

When designing your new kitchen the types of light to consider are task lighting, ambiance lighting, feature lighting and natural light.   

Task lighting

In your cooking area, task lighting is vital. Whilst rangehood lights are really important for lighting up the cooking zone, LED strip lights underneath overhead cabinets can be used to light the whole working bench space. LED strip lighting is bright and can be used with a dimmer for an ambient glow after you've finished cooking. Using a sensor switch omits the need to touch a switch when hands are dirty. If you don't have overhead cabinets, ceiling downlights are a really great way of making sure there's plenty of light for preparation and cooking.

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In preparaton and task areas, use downlights or spotlights and make sure these are placed in front of where you'll be standing to avoid creating a shadow that will be difficult to work in.

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Ambiance lighting

Mood and ambient lighting are really important in the kitchen. Overhead lights at the kitchen island or breakfast bar can be a feature as well as adding ambiance to your space. Make sure they are dimmable, particularly in an open plan space so they can be turned down when the kitchen is not in use. LED strip lighting behind a splashback or underneath an island bench top are another way to achieve ambiance - especially when the room is also a dining and living space. 

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Feature lighting 

Add your personality statement to your new kitchen with feature lighting. The opportunities are endless - it can be a feature piece, a textural element or your favourite colour. You can even add a tech aspect to your kitchen lighting with smart lights that are able to be controlled from your phone! 

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Natural light

Natural light is one of the most crucial types of light to work into your space – but of course it's often one of the most difficult!  Here is an example where the homeowners used skylights to let that light shine down into an area that would have otherwise been quite dark.  It's also possible to borrow light from adjoining spaces by removing walls and opening up the living areas. Alternatively, if your ceilings are high adding a clerestory window may help.

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LEDs                      

The biggest change in recent years in lighting has been Technology.  With the introduction of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) the options for lighting up your new kitchen are almost endless. The energy efficient nature of LEDs allows them to produce brighter light than other types of bulbs while using less power. LEDs are ideal for use in the kitchen because they have very little heat emission, there are many colour choices including cool and warm whites, and just about any colour of the rainbow if that's your thing! LEDs are small and discreet and are therefore really easy to fit into cabinetry and underneath overhanging bench tops. Using LEDs means there's no swapping bulbs every couple of months and because they use low wattage, you'll save power too! There are many types of LED lighting including strip lighting, hanging, ceiling downlights and in-cabinet downlights.

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Thanks to Stefano Orlati for the images