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Kitchen Lighting Guide: How to light your kitchen

Kitchen pendants

Getting your kitchen lighting right is crucial to creating your perfect home. The kitchen is the heart of the home, taking on the dual role of functional work centre and social hub. Whether you are using it to eat, entertain, socialise, relax, work, cook or clean, there a number of kitchen lighting options that can help you make the most of your space.

One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to light their kitchen with just one main, central light. Kitchen lighting should be layered and there are four types of lighting that you can use in your kitchen - general lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and ambient lighting. Ideally you should try to incorporate all four to get the best effect.

Kitchen general lighting (sometimes known as decorative lighting)

All kitchens require a main ceiling-mounted fitting with a broad beam to illuminate the whole room.

The design of the light you choose depends on the style that you are going for but generally includes ceiling pendants, fluorescent lights, downlights or spotlights. Downlights are perfect for kitchens with low ceilings while pendants are better suited to those with high ceilings. Spotlights are more flexible in that they can be positioned to direct light specifically to areas that you require it.

Have a look at the different types of general lighting for your kitchen in the Scotlight Direct online superstore to see what design will fit best with your kitchen.

Kitchen task lighting

Under shelf lights

Task lighting is used to help you perform your daily tasks in the kitchen.

This might mean illuminating the work surfaces or the cooker top, for example. One of the main purposes of task lighting is to improve visibility and ensure your safety in the kitchen, making sure that when you use potentially dangerous equipment like knives, graters, gas hobs, kettles and chemicals you can see exactly what you are doing.

Under-cabinet task lights come in a variety of designs such as LEDs, low voltage and linear fluorescent and can also be used to create ambience if switched on without the main general light, for example.

Kitchen accent lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features or areas in your kitchen and, along with ambient lights, are often the main mood-setters in the room.

Strategically placed lights can be used to accentuate or even create a feature out of pretty much anything - your cherished crystal glasses or lovely China tea set, for example, or pictures or photographs, or an exposed brick wall or wooden beams.

Ambient lighting

Kitchen spotlights

Ambient lighting, as the name suggests, creates the ambience in the room.

The general idea is that the fittings themselves should not be seen, but instead emit a glow from a recessed position, behind, above or below something, which creates depth and stunning effects in the room.

Ambient kitchen lighting should also contrast with the rest of the lighting in the room. One good idea is to use LED strips above cabinets and cupboards which shine light onto the ceiling which is then bounced back to create a wonderful glowing effect. Try to think of interesting areas in your kitchen where this effect would work!

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