Kitchens have become the main gathering place in many homes. Families congregate to eat, work, and talk. Entertaining has become more informal where guests are involved in the meal-making process instead of waiting in the living room.
The way it was……………
Today’s homeowners are much more-informed about how lighting affects their environments than they were thirty years ago. Back then, a single fixture in the center of the space was the accepted way to light a kitchen. Twenty years ago, track lighting came into vogue and was considered to be the answer to all lighting problems.
Now the limitations of track lighting are apparent, especially in lighting kitchens. Typically, a run of track is located down the center of the kitchen area, while the fixtures are directed towards cabinets and countertops. The main problem of this lighting is shadowing; the moment people walk in-between the light and the task area, they block the light and cast shadows onto the work surfaces. Another problem is glare; most track fixtures are not adequately baffled to shield the brightness of the lamp. (Lamp is the technical term for bulb).
Another aesthetic concern is that track lighting lowers the ceiling visually which makes the room seem more cramped.
The choice of lighting fixtures for the kitchen is affected by many factors. Not only do such variables as ceiling height, natural light availability, and location of work surfaces determine the placement or amount of light the homeowner will require, but there are other considerations to help make educated choices. Here is checklist.
The darker the finished surfaces are, the more light absorptive they become. An all white kitchen is going to require dramatically less light than a kitchen with dark wood cabinets.
A highly polished counter top acts just like a mirror. Any under cabinet lighting will shadow its reflection. All that one will see is lighting hardware, and not the beautiful polished granite surface.
If the end design includes brick work or stucco, one might choose to show off the textural quality of those surfaces. This is accomplished by directing light at an acute angle to the textured surface.
Floor plans are more open now. Guests will flow from the living room to the kitchen to the dining room. The kitchen should be just as inviting as the rest of the house. Make sure that there is enough ambient light in the kitchen. This softens the lines on people’s faces and creates a warm, inviting glow.
The warm end of the color spectrum works well with incandescent light, but cooler colors are affected by the amber quality of incandescent light. Blues turn green and reds can turn orange.
Windows that let wonderful light stream in during the day while showing off landscapes will become black reflective holes at night, unless some thought is given to exterior lighting.
Even if there is enough space above the sloped ceiling to install recessed fixtures, special care must be taken to select fixtures that don’t glare into people’s eyes.
A pot rack may look just perfect over that center island on the plan, but makes lighting the work surface difficult as the pots and pans will cast shadows.
Make sure that the switches end up on the unhinged side of door. Otherwise, people will have to reach around the back of the door in order to turn on the light.
Often kitchens are laid out with appliances such as refrigerators and microwave ovens fitting flush to the wall. Make sure regressed receptacles are specified. Otherwise, additional space will be required to allow for the dimension of the cord and plug.
If a computer is going to be used, make sure a dedicated circuit is provided. This helps avoid voltage drop and subsequent memory loss.
The clearer the concept of how one desires the kitchen to look and how one wants it to function, the easier it is for the homeowner and design team to create a space that suite the needs of those living in the space.