How to choose kitchen lighting
29th October 2021
The kitchen is the hub of our home lives, so it’s important to consider lighting within your kitchen design. At Middleton, we regularly work with our client’s lighting designer, interior designers and architects to get this just right. Here are a few things to consider when planning the lighting of your new kitchen.
It’s important that fixtures are discreet to avoid the ‘runway’ effect that can sometimes happen when spotlights are used in the kitchen. We also recommend to fit any ambient lights on a dimmer switch so that the lighting can be adjusted at different times of the day to suit your home.
With spotlights, simple, high-quality fittings will drop back and provide a subtle effect. We recommend clients also bear in mind the orientation of the room when choosing lamps for any spotlights. LED lamps have options for warm, cool or neutral light. If your room is north-facing, a warmer lamp will help create softness within the space.
Consider spotlight positioning when above worktops, so as not to create a shadow when you are using the counter space. We would normally suggest placing lights around 40cm from the wall so they shine light downwards, without casting a shadow.
The kitchen is often one of the most hard-working spaces in the house and good lighting design can be used to create zones for many purposes. Consider what you will be doing in each area of the kitchen and design the lighting scheme to set the scene.
When work for the day is done, gentle lighting from within the chimney breast or wall lights help to create atmosphere and warmth. Picture lights are useful to highlight artwork and create ambience in the space. Picture lights also help to create different zones and can be used to change the mood of the space at different times of the day.
Pendant lights are useful over an island to light the countertops directly. Also, task lighting over worktop areas can be helpful in the most used areas of the kitchen. The type of shade chosen will have an effect on the distribution of light. A solid shade is the best choice when a concentrated light is required. For more diffuse lighting, consider a glass shade that allows light to spread further.
Lighting within cabinets can be useful, particularly in large larder armoires or in cabinets used to display crockery or glassware. We use an innovative LED system to light the interiors of our cabinets from behind the doorstop to create a consistent level of lighting. Using the LED system prevents light from being lost as it might be from an overhead position at the top of the cabinet, for example by being blocked by shelves. It also creates a striking aesthetic in glazed cabinets, or those used to display precious items.
Style of light fitting
The material of the light fitting is key when creating the kitchen palette. More traditional light fittings in brass finishes can complement other finishes in the kitchen. With a more contemporary space, light fittings tend to be bolder and become part of the architecture of the space. Whatever the style of your space, we recommend discreet, design-classic light fittings, so as not to dominate the cabinetry.
The height of your ceilings have an influence on the type of light fitting that will suit your space. With pendant lights, the balance between the length of flex and size of shade is key. With a low ceiling, a short flex and large shade can look out of proportion and likewise with a high ceiling the length of flex needs to be considered. When using pendant lights over the top of an island, it’s also important to consider where they will finish, as the light shouldn’t obstruct the person working on the island.
It is useful to get some advice from a lighting designer, particularly for large spaces . We regularly collaborate with lighting designers on our projects to create the perfect backdrop to your new kitchen. The kitchen is such an important space in the home and, with its many functions, kitchen lighting is key to the success of the design.