Current Trends - Kitchen Lighting

Posted on September 01, 2017

Contemporary kitchen lighting schemes are designed to be easy on the eyes—both flattering and fit for the task. A well-lit yet stylish kitchen forgos the unflattering glare casts by an overhead light in favor of a more nuanced approach. The sophisticated kitchen layers ambient, task and accent light.

A flip of the switch lays down the first layer, and coats the entire kitchen in ambient light. Ambient light is the light that streams in through the kitchen window. Pendants or chandeliers, recessed lights and sconces fill in when the sun’s common light starts to run scarce.

Artificial ambient light mimics natural omnidirectional light. Position multiple sources of ambient light at varying heights to evenly envelop the entire kitchen, otherwise the lighting scheme in the kitchen won’t feel natural.

Multiple sources of ambient light provide an additional benefit as well. Once the cooking’s done, individual lights can be adjusted to create a relaxing atmosphere. An after-dinner dimmer further enhances the adaptability of the lighting scheme in the kitchen.

The second layer traces the contours of specific tasks. Task lighting is focused light. Under-cabinet lights are charged with illuminating the cutting boards on the countertop. Under-cabinet lighting systems employ miniaturized track lights or tiny recessed lights. Sans wire, light strips and surface-mounted light discs, also known as pucks, can be pressed into service.

The third layer is the pièce de résistance. While task lighting lights what you need to see, accent lighting lights what you want to see. And because we’re conceptualizing light as layers, there’s overlap. A pendant hanging above the kitchen island helps you read a recipe, but overnight contributes to a sense of repose. Accent lighting can backlight an ornate glass mosaic backsplash or be as simple as a candle glowing on a bar top. Accent light is discriminate light, and when combined with ambient light adds depth and dimension to sophisticated kitchens.