Remodeling a Kitchen: Tips and Tricks for Lighting

When remodeling a kitchen, one of the last thoughts that often crosses a homeowner's mind is where to put all of the light fixtures. Sure, there are new cabinets to be chosen, countertops to be discussed and of course, let's not forget the flooring; but what about the lights? A kitchen is just more than fancy European cabinets. It is a place where families meet, cook meals and perhaps even do some homework. Fortunately, determining the placement for light fixtures and creating ideal kitchen lighting is surprisingly easy.
General Kitchen Lighting
Every kitchen should have some general overhead illumination. This typically means one or more ceiling fixtures, depending on the size of the kitchen.
However, this should not be the only type of fixture in the entire kitchen. Overhead lighting can become overpowering and may not work for all of the various tasks you perform in your kitchen. So it's important to layer your lighting when remodeling.
Task Lighting
In the kitchen, you are often performing any number of tasks: working at the stove, cutting up food at the counter or perhaps baking at the island. In these instances, overhead kitchen lighting typically does not tend to be enough.
Pendant lights are idea for over kitchen islands or over sinks. For other areas, such as working at a countertop, it may be ideal to have some under cabinet lighting. You may also consider using track illumination, which can be beneficial to have a few track heads pointing toward the stove or into cabinets.
Accent Lighting
Though a kitchen is mostly a place of getting things done, it is still a room that you should enjoy. It is a room that also needs to be decorated in a way that you consider tasteful. As such, there should be some accent lighting.
Unfortunately, accent lighting tends to be the most overlooked when it comes to choosing kitchen lighting. Types of accent lighting could be used in interior cabinet, on cabinets that have glass doors, which helps to illuminate wedding china or other heirloom pieces; wall sconces or recessed lights to brighten up corners of the rooms.
Indirect Lighting
Indirect lighting, also referred to as ambient lighting, helps to soften the overall ambiance in the room. It's ideal for passing through the kitchen when not in use. It is also ideal for creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for having hors d'oeuvres before a friendly gathering.
It can become confusing, however, when it comes to choosing the right fixtures. Typically you can choose to use pendant lights, track lighting or wall sconces that diffuse illumination rather than point the light upward or downward.
These fixtures of course, are what make it somewhat confusing. What is the difference between wall sconces that are used for accent lighting and wall sconces that are used for indirect lighting? Fortunately, the answer is simple: indirect lighting is meant to soften the room and the harsh lights that may occur; whereas accent lighting is meant to accent the room. Once you see each type in use in a kitchen lighting scheme, it's easier to understand the subtle differences.

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