Design Trends : Lighting

Lighting is a 19th century invention! – The dimmer was invented in the 1960’s!

Things are speeding up.

We talk about lighting in almost every kitchen or bathroom we design. There are four main questions. Where the lighting should be placed, what type of lighting should it be and how much is necessary and last what are the aesthetics. You can add a fifth question which is how much natural light can be expected and how can it be improved upon or regulated.

Where the lighting should be placed

In kitchens we are often focused on tasks and task lighting. If you are cleaning shrimp at the sink you need a down light to see what you are doing. If you are preparing a dish at the countertop you need under cabinet lighting or a spot light on the ceiling which is within 6” of the wall cabinets. Think about it anything further back just lights the back of your head, which blocks the light. If your family is eating at the kitchen island you need down lights or pendants above to illuminate the general area.

What type of light is a more complex question?

Under cabinet lighting is often described as cool or warm. Warm is 2700 to 3500 kelvin and cool is 3500 to 5000 kelvin. Kelvin is the color temperature of the light. You simply need to see it to understand it. Generally for complimenting wood, copper, and warm colored back splash tile warm kelvin 2700 to 3500 works best. When highlighting glass, cool colored tiles, or grayish metals then cool kelvin 3500 to 5000 works best. BUT in the end it is what allows you to see best and what you like the most.

How much is necessary?

This is an even more complex question and harder to demonstrate. Do you need eight recessed lights or six? Should there be one under cabinet puck light every 18” or 30”. Is two pendants enough or should it be four. Well that depends on the lumens and foot-candles of each light. The amount of illumination each light casts on a given surface.

Each of these questions can be answered to some degree by your Signature Kitchens Additions & Baths designer. To some degree beyond the degree we rely on our electricians, supply houses and the manufacturers to answer your questions.

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