When you remodel your kitchen, take advantage of the unique opportunity to upgrade the lighting. A cohesive lighting plan can transform your kitchen, especially if you have been making do with something less than adequate. When formulating your plan, think of lighting in ‘layers’ with different types of light in various locations.
NATURAL LIGHT—Not only will natural light lessen the need for electricity, but studies have shown that people exposed to more natural light tend to be happier and work more efficiently. So first of all, consider where to place your primary kitchen window and how large it might be. Also, see if it is feasible to add more windows and possibly multiple skylights or sun tunnels. Window coverings can make a big difference, too—endeavor to find a comfortable balance between privacy and light infiltration.
TASK LIGHTING—This category of lighting illuminates areas where you perform the wide variety of activities common in the modern kitchen. Evaluate where you will be doing your grocery unloading, recipe reading, cooking, doing dishes, or kibitzing and make sure there is plenty of task lighting in each area. Under-counter lights can provide that extra boost of kilowatts exactly where needed. And if you have an island or bar, think about pendant lamps which contribute not only to lighting but to the room’s décor as well.
AMBIENT LIGHTING—This soft, indirect light allows you to change the aesthetics of your kitchen with the touch of a button. Lights hidden on top of cabinets can bounce light off the ceiling and create a welcoming, diffuse glow. Installing a dimmer on these and the under-cabinet lighting allows you to easily control the room’s mood.