Many say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Not only is it space where meals are created- it’s where friends, families and loved ones meet to nourish their bodies and discuss their days.

Now, imagine the value of the kitchen if you were to remodel it. Whether your budget range is small or large, or you’re replacing the backsplash or gutting the whole kitchen; these immediate changes can make a dynamic impact.

Let’s chat about the subject of lighting. As the kitchen is the hub of the home, it’s surprising that lighting becomes such an afterthought when remodeling the space. We’ve found that lighting is one of the most frequently ignored design features! In actuality, lighting should be an integral and focused design piece. Lighting is an essential part of the remodeling process, as it adds layers, depth, and function to a kitchen. 

Join us as we take an ILLUMINATED journey through the layers of lighting possibilities for your kitchen. 

For now, let’s take into three primary types of lighting: 

  • Ambient
  • Task
  • Accent

Good lighting design is a dance between science, engineering, and art.  While there is no right way to light a kitchen, there are many ineffective ways to go about it.  There is an interplay between light and finishes that sets an ambiance that is as unique as each individual person.

Ambient Lighting – Base Lighting

As indicated by the name, this is the general lighting in a room. 

Ambient lighting fixtures include:

  • Chandeliers
  • Track Lighting
  • Pendant Lights 
  • Ceiling Lights

Many kitchens and most other rooms are often designed with only ambient light.  When one relies only on ambient light, sometimes space can appear dull or dark. Think of ambient lighting as the base lighting of your home.

Task Lighting – The 2nd Layer

Task lighting is for….You guessed it, specific tasks. When your using a sharp knife in the kitchen, added light is needed so you can avoid accidents.  

Task lighting fixtures include:

  • Under the countertop lights
  • Vent hood lighting 
  • Ceiling light over a sink

Most vent hoods will provide task lighting for the cooktop. Careful placement of ceiling lights can provide task lighting in their immediate downcast. 

Note: A common mistake is to place lights too far back from the work area causing a shadow.

Lighting placed under the upper cabinets can contribute to task lighting on the countertop.  You will like your kitchen much more if you can see what you are doing as you cook and clean.  It is important to know that we need a great deal more light as we age. It is estimated that a 60-year-old needs three times more light than a 20-year-old does.

Accent Lighting – 3rd Layer

Get CREATIVE! Accent lighting sets the atmosphere and mood in a room.  It can also highlight certain features in your kitchen or conceal unpleasant design elements. 

Accent lighting fixtures include:

  • Wall sconces
  • Can lights & uplights
  • Ceiling lights
  • Inside cabinet lights

Accent lighting can be provided by placing lights above, in, or under cabinets. It can be lighting directed onto a piece of artwork.

Natural Lighting

Of course, the ideal light is natural.  It requires its own considerations such as direction and shading. An unobstructed eastern or western window can cause unwanted glare in the morning or afternoon respectively. Here in the Brazos Valley, that can lead to excessive heat gain.

People love skylights and solar tubes, however, they can provide excessive heat gain. While placing them on north sloping roofs will help some, the reduction of heat is not great.

 Remodeling is a great time to consider enlarging or adding well-placed windows in the kitchen. This often means eliminating some upper cabinets. While getting rid of cabinet space is never a desired outcome the reward can be worth it. Upper cabinets are shallow and don’t provide a great deal of storage so that lost storage can often be picked up elsewhere.  Large windows that connect the kitchen to the great outdoors can make the space much more cheerful.

 Now that you have enlarged or added a window, you want to be mindful of what you place outside that window.  Let your windows frame a beautiful setting. A bird feeder can provide wonder to the drudgery of washing the dishes. A flowering bush can perfume the air that comes in through that window when opened.

Lastly, don’t let the final decisions and the multitude of options overwhelm you! Your way is the best way and we’d love to offer our guidance + expertise to help you along the way.  Take a look at one of our recent kitchen remodels.

 If you’re ready to dive in now, schedule a meeting with us today! We’d love to help you begin the process of upgrading your kitchen-  the sacred and most lived-in space of your home. Thanks for reading!