If there’s one room in your home that needs good lighting, it’s the kitchen. Not only does lighting help to show off your space’s best features, but it’s also a crucial element that can protect you from kitchen slip-ups and mishaps.
Different Types of Kitchen Lighting
In your kitchen, there should be two different types of illumination: general lighting and task lighting. General lighting, as the name implies, is for general purpose. This type of lighting will illuminate your entire space and almost always comes from overhead fixtures. General lighting washes the kitchen with light, allowing you to see the lay of the land.
Task lighting, meanwhile, has a particular purpose: to help illuminate the task at hand. These include desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting, and the like. Don’t underestimate the power of good task lighting! The last thing you want is to have an accident because you can’t see what you’re doing. Task lighting is specially designed for safety and utility, so it’s important to consider it when planning your kitchen’s layout.
So when it comes to choosing your kitchen’s lighting scheme, what are your options? For general lighting, there are three main categories. Let’s take a look at each.
The beauty of recessed lighting is that it blends seamlessly into your ceiling. The body of the lighting fixture lies under the surface of the ceiling. This way, the entire light is perfectly flush with the ceiling, and nothing but a sliver of bulb protrudes.
Recessed Lighting Pros and Cons
Pros: Recessed lighting looks smooth, clean, and minimal, and requires very little cleaning—on the surface, at least.
Cons: A bit like an iceberg, 90% of the fixture is inside the ceiling, which means you’ll need sufficient space to store it. Installation depends on the location of your ceiling joists, as well as the layout of your plumbing and wiring. Recessed lights also tend to have a narrower scope of illumination, so you’ll probably need several to light a space that could be lit by a single surface light.
As you might have guessed from the name, surface lighting sits on the surface of the ceiling. These fixtures range in size and can accommodate a range of bulbs, from single bulbs to long fluorescent tubes. You’ll often see ‘flush mount’ fixtures in kitchens, which are attached directly to the ceiling.
Surface Lighting Pros and Cons
Pros: Although recessed lighting was trendy for many years, surface lighting is having a renaissance. Homebuilders realized that surface lighting was both more efficient and more cost-effective for illuminating an ample space. Plus, surface lighting fixtures are easy to clean and maintain because all their parts are external.
Cons: Surface lights are a little more high-maintenance than recessed lights and will need more frequent cleaning. They also cause a visual break in the flow of the space, unlike recessed lights, which are out of the way. While we’re counting this as a con, many people like to use lighting as an intentional design element and may like how a fixture acts as a visual separator.
Pendant lighting is the elongated version of surface lighting and is very on-trend right now. You’ve probably seen this type of lighting in countless houses and on home reno shows. They’re attractive, stylish, and come in numerous designs and styles.
Pendant Lighting Pros and Cons
Pros: These fixtures bring the light closer to the areas that need the most illumination. This is a big plus for homes with high ceilings, where recessed and surface lighting would become diffused. These lights are atmospheric and eye-catching and can make an excellent design centerpiece.
Cons: This lighting style may not be as effective for lighting an entire space and may need to be paired with recessed or surface lighting to illuminate an entire kitchen adequately. Also, depending on the fixture’s length and where you place your pendant lights, they can get in the way of your everyday kitchen activity. These fixtures are usually best located over a permanent island or should be short enough that they don’t become a nuisance.
If you’re looking to fill your kitchen with light, J.T. McDermott is here to help. Whether you’re building new or simply renovating your beloved homestead, our passionate design-build team will create a lighting scheme that works for you. From general lighting to task lighting and beyond, McDermott knows how to light up any room so that you can enjoy the view. Connect with us today, and let’s get started!
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.