The kitchen isn’t just the place where you cook a meal, it’s also where the whole family gathers to talk, study, eat, and just hang out. So, it makes sense that you’ll want your kitchen design to incorporate the appropriate lighting for all of these activities. There are three types of lighting that are typically used to properly illuminate the rooms of your home. Using all three types in your kitchen, can really have a powerful impact on the brightness and functionality.

Ambient Lighting

The first type of lighting, and probably the most familiar, is ambient lighting. This is usually the first switch you hit upon entering a room and should evenly illuminate the bulk of the room. Ambient lighting can be made up of both natural and artificial light sources, with natural light playing a bigger role in today’s more sustainable home designs.

Examples of ambient lighting in the kitchen include:

*Recessed lights
*Overhead fixtures
*Track lighting
*Light from windows or skylights

Task or Layered Lighting

Task or layered lighting is extra lighting dedicated to brightening work areas, so you can perform intricate daily tasks more easily. It is controlled separately from the ambient lighting, with switches situated near these work areas.

Examples of task or layered lighting in the kitchen include:

*Recessed can lights shining directly on the edge of counters so no shadows are cast
*Under-cabinet lighting to illuminate the rest of the countertop
*Pendant lighting above a peninsula or island
A chandelier over a table
*A light over the sink

Task or layered lighting is crucial in the kitchen because it enhances the functionality and is generally helpful.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is a decorative type of lighting and more subtle than the other types.  It’s purpose is to highlight the actual design of the kitchen rather than serve as lighting to work by.  

Accent lighting is often used to:

*Accent or illuminate parts of the kitchen you want to call attention to, ie: different colored toe kick lights.
*Assist with the overall look and feel of the room, by calling attention to itself, like boldly colored art glass pendants.

This type of lighting is usually meant to stand out or make a statement. While ambient and task lighting may fade into the background, providing illumination and little else, accent lighting is a focal point or an intricate part of the design. A large chandelier or ornamental art piece made of lights, for example, is something that instantly attracts attention when you enter the room. These types of lights are essential to making sure the look and feel you desire, is attained. It is a good idea to get these decisions finalized prior to the completion of the project as it can be difficult or problematic to switch pendants out, for instance, if one weighs a lot more than another.

Illuminate Your Kitchen

Proper lighting has a powerful effect on your finished kitchen design. It makes your kitchen both functional and attractive. Try to incorporate all three types of lighting to really accentuate your personal kitchen design.

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David Hecht Kitchens