Tips to Enhance Design Through Better Lighting

Tips to Enhance Design Through Better Lighting

Effective lighting achieves maximum lighting impact without detracting from the kitchen or bath that's being illuminated. And the proper lighting is a primary concern for designers, since it determines how a project is perceived by a client, as well as how well the room will work functionally.

According to The Kitchen Idea Book by Joanne Bouknight, from The Taunton Press, the way a kitchen is lit at any hour of the day or night makes a tremendous difference in how easy it is to cook, serve, eat, clean up, and socialize in which is what the client is really interested in. 

Likewise, in the bath, lighting can make a huge difference in everything from safety issues to grooming tasks to mood. For instance, lighting placed on either side of the sink, rather than directly over it, can prevent shadows on the face, while mood lighting can help create a more spa-like atmosphere.

According to Bouknight, a variety of light sources and controls will allow for a variety of uses.

Below, Bouknight offers tips, trends and options, for more effective use of lighting:

  • General Lighting provides light for the entire space, from ceiling-mounted fixtures, recessed-can fixtures, pendant lighting or even track lighting a handy method of providing task, general or accent lighting that is coming back into fashion with a variety of attractive fixtures. Good task lighting may provide enough general lighting by itself, but it's advantageous to have more than one type of fixture.
  • Task Lighting should provide about three-quarters of the light in a kitchen. Such lighting works best if it's positioned in front of the user, so that the user's body doesn't make a shadow over the workspace. This can best be accomplished by under-cabinet lighting, which can be low-voltage halogen "puck" lights or track lights. Using incandescent lighting behind a lip at the outer edge of the cabinet will minimize glare and better hide the fixture.
  • Under-cabinet Lighting can be supplemented by recessed-can ceiling fixtures. A less expensive and cooler way to light a countertop is by using slimline fluorescent fixtures, with warm-white bulbs.
  • Accent Lighting is optional, but it can add drama to a kitchen, and even serve alone when task and general lighting has been switched off. Glass-door cabinets are perfect for low-voltage accent lights. Indirect lighting above wall cabinets can wash the wall and
    ceiling, and be strong enough to provide general lighting.
  • Island or Table Lighting can be achieved with general or task lighting, and is handled by recessed or surface-mounted ceiling fixtures or by pendant lights. If the pendant light has a translucent shade or is open at the top, it will add light to the ceiling.