How to Light Your Kitchen

Perini Team

In Kitchen Posted

There are three different types of lighting categories that effectively work together to create the optimum experience in a new kitchen design: General, Task and Accent lights. Your lighting layout should never be overlooked during the process of designing a new kitchen as it will be paramount in just how efficient your newly renovated space will be. This quick guide to kitchen lighting solutions runs through these three key lighting layers as well as just how your selected colour temperature can affect the final outcome of your design.

General Lighting 

Providing your kitchen with overall illumination, general lighting in the home is also known as ambient lighting. These fixtures can include large, central pendant lights, wall lights or other lighting fixtures, a series of downlights or even track lighting. This is the first layer of light to focus on during the kitchen design process, ensuring that the space is effectively illuminated before moving on to more focused lighting solutions that will provide a spotlight over your key work zones.

kitchen lighting ideasThis luxurious Brighton kitchen renovation by Perini Renovations makes use of all three lighting layers for an effective and functional space. Ceiling downlights create a natural white ambient light, with LED strips installed beneath overhead cabinets acting as focused task lighting. The entire scheme is accented by a cluster of modern pendant lights, hung directly over the central island bench to complete the look.

Task Lighting

Relying on general or ambient lighting alone in a space that serves a function (in this case, the kitchen) can be problematic in that this sort of solution can potentially cause a shadow over your key work zones such as your worktop beneath overhead cabinets, as an example. This is where task lighting comes in to form the second layer of lighting you will want to include in your new kitchen design. Task lighting is a more focused form of lighting that is installed in key positions around your kitchen to highlight areas where specific tasks are normally performed. Task lighting can include strategically located downlights, focused track lighting, LED strip lighting or even smaller pendant lights or wall lights that are situated in key places to avoid any shadows being cast over working zones such as your kitchen benchtop or sink. 

Accent Lighting

The final layer of lighting in a kitchen design, accent lights are used to add an element of drama and ambiance to your space. These can include feature pendant lights over an island bench, LED strip lighting placed beneath your benchtop overhang as a feature, or downlights installed inside a cupboard with a glass door, creating a soft glow in the space. Accent lights work to create a statement in your new kitchen and can be used as a softer mood lighting solution that is especially effective in an open plan home design, where the living area, dining space and kitchen is all in the one large room. 

kitchen lightingA perfect combination of ambient, task and accent lighting solutions, this colourful and modern Collingwood kitchen design includes Tom Dixon’s fabulous Melt pendant lights as an accent over the large island benchtop.

Warm, Cool and Daylight Options

Once you’ve selected your three different kitchen lighting layers, you will also want to consider which colour temperature is best suited to your design. The term colour temperature refers to the actual colour tone of the light itself and whether it throws off more of a yellow, blue or white glow. Measured in Kelvin (K), colour temperatures will usually range from 2700 – 6500 K, with warmer (or yellow tinged) lights being on the lower end of the scale and cooler (blue tinged) lights being on the higher end.

kitchen lighting shadesHafele provides many different lighting solutions for the kitchen, from LED downlights and strip lighting, to door or sensor activated lighting solutions for installation inside a pantry or other cupboards. The chart above displays the difference between warmer and cooler lighting options as well as the more colourful lighting options available in their vast collection.

It is important to note that your selected light colour temperature will affect the final coluring of your chosen kitchen finishes (such as you splashback or benchtop materials) so it is important to test out samples of all your material selections in different lighting scenarios to make a more informed decision. Naturally, a warmer light will bathe your kitchen in a yellow hue whereas a cool lighting solution will create more of a blue tone throughout the space, changing the final appearance of your selected materials and finishes. If you are hoping to achieve more of a true colour palette in your kitchen design, opting for a daylight colour temperature will be the best option as this solution falls directly in between the warm and cool extremes, creating a much more natural looking tone in your home.

Lighting is a crucial element of your kitchen design that should never be overlooked during the design process. Once you are happy with your new design, take a minute to run through your floorplan, paying close attention to which areas you feel may need some added lighting and communicate your ideas with our team at Perini Renovations who will recommend the best lighting solutions to suit your needs and ensure a new space that is both beautiful and highly functional.