Kitchen Design Tip: Layer your Lighting

Kitchen Design

When contemplating the design of your dream kitchen, one of the more important aspects of the scheme should be lighting – as the kitchen is a space that often functions as the heart of a home. It’s here that you’ll be reviewing recipes, slicing, mixing, cooking, eating, helping with homework, and entertaining friends and family – in short; most of the vital activities of life take place in the kitchen!

That means it’s crucial that your lighting is both attractive and functional. It should both tie together each aspect of your kitchen and add function where it’s needed most.

Lighting design experts recommend layering your lighting sources. In this article we’ll explore what that means and how you can, if used properly, create the correct ambiance and added function to your new kitchen, using the following four distinct lighting layers.

Kitchen Lighting – Ambient Layer

This is the first and most basic of the four layers. As an overhead light source, ambient lighting fixtures serve the most functional of needs, giving general illumination to your space.  A designer well versed in lighting can help you select the ideal lighting plan for your space, ensuring that it is both tasteful and ties in with your design scheme. It is important that you consider the following:

1. Provides basic general light
2. Need not be overly embellished
3. Melds well with both traditional and modern décor

The ambient light layer is usually provided by overhead lighting and adds general light for most activities.

Kitchen Lighting – Task Layer

Most professional kitchen designers advise homeowners to pay special attention to this layer of lighting. Task lighting is intended to shine a bright radiance of light focusing on where you need it most. This may include areas such as above a kitchen island, near sinks, over the range, and under cabinets. The task layer is intended to compliment ambient lighting, giving you the illumination you need when conducting precise tasks like cleaning dishes, wielding kitchen knives, or judging the consistency of a sauce. Fixtures designed to give this type of light include:

1. Focused recessed lighting, such as can lights in the ceiling
2. Island lighting fixtures that are both tasteful and functional
3. Under-cabinet lighting, designed to stay cool with long use

Under cabinet task lighting provides bright light for working close up.

Kitchen Lighting – Focal Layer

Focal lighting is most commonly used to accentuate special interior design features. These can include kitchen islands, archways, pillars, and other unique aspects of your home especially the kitchen. It also functions to cast light on artifacts or chosen pieces of art to which you especially want to draw attention. Concepts for achieving a focused lighting concept include:

1. Pendant lights
2. Recessed LED fixtures
3. Concealed or directed lighting, using decorative covers
4. Multi-directional track lighting

Focal lighting like these overhead recessed LED lights is used for illuminating special design features such as this island with seating.

Kitchen Lighting – Decorative Layer

This particular lighting feature is not intended to be specifically functional but uses light fixtures as decoration – for their own inherent beauty.  It also functions to tie the design concept of your kitchen into a harmonious whole. While it may also be a functional aspect of your lighting concept, decorative lighting fixtures provide you with the ability to use light to enhance color, form, and function.  A design professional can you choose from a wide array of options that help define the style of your kitchen design.

Decorative lighting can add sophisticated accents and help define style and mood like in this Chicago condo kitchen remodel.

When considering lighting, there are so many options to consider. In order to maximize your lighting plan, it’s always wise to work with a team who knows their craft in every aspect.  Let the professional design staff at Drury Design help you plan your kitchen design, new home or remodel, with the appropriate lighting plan. Contact us here. 

Free Kitchen Design Guide

For more tips on choosing your new kitchen lighting and other aspects of your kitchen remodel, download our free kitchen design guide here.

Free kitchen design guide