There is no more important design element in a new kitchen than efficient kitchen lighting. You don’t want to go to all the trouble of redoing the space and find you’re still working in shadows or glare, right? Selecting the best lights for your Madison WI kitchen combines your décor style with assigned functions. Lighting makes the space comfortable to work in and attractive at the same time.
Overhead lighting always gets the immediate attention but don’t undervalue specialty lights – under cabinet lighting is a hot trend. Ceiling lights provide an overall illumination but don’t light workspaces.
As you work with your interior designer, consider the kitchen lighting challenge in tiers – like floors in a high-rise building. Plan to light each level to get the most from style and function. You’ll want lights to brighten countertops beneath cabinets, over sinks and above cooktops. In addition consider lights that set a mood and provide a natural ambiance. There’s a lot to consider.
5 Levels Of Efficient Kitchen Lighting
A hard-working kitchen is easily divided into five zones for lighting:
- The Work Zone
- A ‘Vision’ Zone
- Accent Zone
- Impact Zone
- “Fun” Zone
The Work Zone is where you do most of the work – food prep, cooking, cleaning up, etc. Lights on this area direct their illumination directly upon the task at hand. After you’ve spend hours creating an efficient work space adding lights that allow you to make the most of it is important, right? Included in this level are pendant lights above the sink and kitchen island. The hottest trend in Work Zone lighting puts high-beam lights under your cabinets. We’ll go into more detail on these important options later.
The Vision Zone features light fixtures that illuminate large areas. They exist so you can “see where you’re going.” They set the stage for the room and provide the ambient light needed for moving around and using the space. Included here are recessed lighting in the ceiling – common “can” fixtures and track lighting for example – plus a variety of hanging fixtures. Many decorative fixtures using the new “old-fashioned” bulbs fit this mix. Any well-placed lights that help you safely, efficiently navigation through the kitchen fit this level.
Include and Accent Zone to highlight your style and bring out the “feeling” in the room. Accent lights make the kitchen inviting and comfortable. Because modern kitchens are the hub of family activity, these fixtures have taken on great importance. Included at this level are illumination inside cabinets, chandeliers and designer sconces and pendants. While they all add to the overall light in the room, the main purpose is to draw attention to the décor and design features.
Design Excitement Through Kitchen Lights
The last two levels of light application not only provide illumination to the room, they provide excitement and mood.
Kitchen designers agree that natural light from outdoors is the ultimate mood lighting – it changes by the hour. An Impact Zone level of lighting provides similar appeal. With the right selection you provide bright clear lighting for preparing meals or doing homework. The same fixtures with accessories like dimmer switches provide a soft, welcoming glow for entertaining and “just hanging out.”
Spending too much time in the kitchen used to be a big complaint – that’s what led to the development of all the appliances we take for granted today. In the 21st century spending time in the kitchen isn’t a chore. It’s a comfortable place where families gather. That leads to including a “Fun” Zone in your kitchen lighting plan. Thanks to modern styling and attention to homeowner demands, lighting-makers provide dozens of unique and stylish fixtures for any décor. If you want to recreate an industrial loft, there are warehouse-style lights. The popular farmhouse kitchen houses a host of old-style lanterns and sconces. Applying modern technology to custom styles brings out the creativity in any kitchen.
Under Cabinet Lighting – Popular, Productive
Among the hardest working modern light fixtures are dozens of creations you rarely see. They’re hidden from view beneath your kitchen cabinets. Including under cabinet fixtures adds to the efficiency of your counter space while providing a unique accent at the same time. When you need them as task lighting, they’re available. Combined with the room’s accent pieces they add drama and mood.
Lights mounted beneath cabinets are available in traditional fluorescent, incandescent and LED formats. Each has its pros and cons. Consider:
- Fluorescent fixtures – least expensive, cool to the touch. Provide a “cool” colored light. Rarely dimmable.
- Incandescent lights – including Xenon bulbs, provide a warmer glow and are usually dimmable.
- LED fixtures – the latest technology and the most energy-efficient. Can be hard-wired to electrical system, plugged into outlets or battery-powered. LEDs give off little heat, they have a long lifespan and are dimmable.
Efficient Kitchen Lighting For The Ages
If you visit one of the many lighting stores in the Madison area, or peruse the Internet, you’ll see hundreds of fixtures, large and small, available to light your kitchen. Developing a comprehensive lighting scheme as you plan a renovation takes into account all the needs of your family. Don’t forget the needs of a changing lifestyle, too. Are you expecting to stay in your home as your family matures? Adding enough lights now to accommodate increased demands is a cost-efficient move. As we age our eyes require more light. As the old saying goes, “we aren’t getting any younger.” Planning ahead makes sense, right?
Not every kitchen renovation needs a total change in lighting for all the five levels. Natural light from windows and skylights makes a big difference. The key is balance. The goal of your remodel, based upon the character of your home, your lifestyle and your vision for the future sets the stage. After you tap all the resources for ideas and inspiration, call us at 608-825-4500, or use email and we’ll share our expertise. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling excels at creating unique kitchens. Put our years of experience and skilled craftsmen to work installing the most efficient kitchen lighting for your Madison WI home.