When it comes to lighting fixtures for the kitchen, the choices can be downright mind boggling. You know you’d like a lighting layout that includes ambient, task, and accent lights, but which light fixtures are best for which? Well, in reality, a wide variety of light fixtures would work very well for any of those layers of light. Let’s look at the light fixtures most commonly used in kitchens and how they are best utilized.
These lights are installed directly into the ceiling and the fixtures are flush with the ceiling preserving a clean sense of openness in the space. The light from them is directed strait down so they can be used for task, ambient, or accent lighting. They also will need less cleaning because they are recessed into the ceiling. This and their practically invisible profile make them especially popular in kitchens today. Keep in mind that they will need to be installed roughly 6” into the ceiling, so you’ll need to be aware of plumbing, wiring and ceiling joists as these can interfere with installation. They also generate a lot of heat, so they can’t be installed in walls that cannot withstand it.
These fixtures have been around a long time and in older homes, they have often been used as the sole light in the room. They are lights installed directly onto the ceiling and are most commonly covered with a dome of glass or plastic. This makes them up and out of the way, but they will break up the visual plane of the ceiling. They are best used for ambient light.
Track lighting consists of a linear track to which lights can be attached. You may think of track lighting as very industrial, but designs for this kind of lighting have definitely evolved and are worth checking out. The tracks can be installed just about anywhere and the lights can be attached anywhere along the track and aimed in multiple directions, too, so this type of lighting is incredibly versatile. It is best used as accent lighting as well as task lighting. These tack halogen bulbs which can be pricey. It can be easy to think that you can install as many lights on the tracks as you wish, but you’ll need to be aware of your power draw.
Chandeliers are great design features for a kitchen when suspended over an island or a dining table. Suspended from the ceiling, they cast their light up and out so they are considered ambient light. They work best in large rooms with features that add balance to their large size. They are also a challenge to keep dust free and depending on their construction, can be delicate.
This type of lighting is beautifully integrated into the design elements of the architecture of the space. They can be mounted on a cove or a ledge or shelf and the light is directed up. They can be installed on a soffit or a cornice and so the light will be directed down. They can also be fixed behind a valance and the light will be directed both up and down. The indirect lighting of these types of fixtures can add wonderful dimension to the ambient lighting in your kitchen. Depending on the location, they can be challenging to keep free of dust.
These lights are suspended from the ceiling and come in a wide variety of styles from industrial to designs reminiscent of Tiffany. With their light focused straight down, they are great for lighting work areas and also add a fun element to the ambient light. As they do drop down from the ceiling, they are best in kitchens with high ceilings and will need regular dusting.
These are pretty self explanatory. They are lights mounted under cabinets in either a linear formation or in a single puck shaped light. They are great for task lighting for countertops and also add delightful dimension to the ambient lighting of the kitchen. Great for small spaces because they are installed beneath your cabinets and have virtually no visual footprint. They are a cinch to keep clean and are very popular choice.