Lighting the Kitchen – Be Practical with your Selection of Lights

Kitchen lighting has come a long way from the standard builder’s generic lighting fixtures. From the boxy fluorescent lights of the 1980’s and the canned lights of the 1990’s, there are plenty of style updates your kitchen may be begging for. Whether a homeowner is doing an entire renovation or just changing the lighting fixtures in their kitchen, the amount of style and actual function available in lighting products can make a huge impact on the overall look of your kitchen. The kitchen is traditionally one of the most used areas of a home and consequently should have features that help it to be adequately maximized which includes having sound functional lighting that also offers the ambiance you are seeking from your home. Finding and installing the right type of updated lighting will also be a great re-sale investment for your home.

Many homeowners may be stuck in the rut where they are trying to replace an existing fixture in their home and don’t know what they could possible put in its place because of the size or shape of the light. Others are trying to add more lighting but don’t know how to do so within the constraints of their kitchen. In any other room you would maybe add a lamp or two but that is certainly not as feasible with a kitchen. Because of the technical aspects of changing out a light many homeowners are inclined to contact an electrician, however, their skills do not generally help with design and style decisions. By consulting a lighting design specialist to help you with your lighting decisions, you should be able to obtain a professional opinion on not only good style features for lighting, but on the functional quality of various lighting products.

Trends to Consider

The difficulty with trendy lighting fixtures is that you are likely staring up at a trend of somebody’s decade and can’t believe that anyone would have ever found the giant box of fluorescent bulbs attractive let alone functional for cooking, entertaining and just plain eating. One way to be conservative with choosing a trend without going generic is to look at what builders are using in new build homes. Builders will purchase their products in large quantities and consequently you should see nearly the same lighting throughout their models.

While builders may not specialize in decorative variety, they do work with people who understand today’s current trends and what will appeal to buyers. The builder’s models will give you an idea of what is typical and allow you to be more custom or more conservative with your selection. In the least, it is a great place to start when you are a big overwhelmed by the options found at the home improvement store or lighting design studio.

The main overhead lighting is typically the focus for kitchen lighting projects, but there are also a number of other areas that would benefit from some added lighting. Homeowners may want to consider under cupboard lighting which will light the area between the bottoms of the cupboards to the countertop. This can be particularly beautiful with reflective countertops or backsplash tiles. There is also the potential for using lighting on top of cabinets that have display items or even within cupboards that have glass doors, allowing you to showcase china or other special items. Functional lighting above a sink or an island is almost always expected, but by adding additional lighting elements, you can easily enhance and personalize the look of your kitchen.

Where to Shop

When shopping for kitchen lighting fixtures, the home improvement store is a great standby, but it shouldn’t be your one and only stop. Many unique lighting options were not intended for kitchen design at all yet they are truly beautiful and actually offer functional value as well. Consider chandeliers that can change the mood quickly with a dimming switch. Or you can consult with a glass maker who can provide custom pendant lighting in the size, shape and color you might not be able to find readily available anywhere else.

There are also antique shops that specialize completely in lighting fixtures that can help you to complete an authentic look. Environmentally focused products are becoming routinely available in local stores but you can potentially find products that are not only created from recycled materials but actually have energy saving features as well. You may even be able to customize or update your lighting fixtures on your own with a little creativity. Sometimes by just adding a coat or spray paint to a dated wall sconce will suddenly change the look entirely. If you are reusing an old product or attempting to enhance the power function of a product, you should consult with a certified electrician prior to installing the light.

What to Consider

With kitchen lighting, style and function are understandably the main concerns. However, it is also how feasible the light fixture really is. Some homeowners may be considering lighting products that look great, but end up not being great options for a kitchen. A small chandelier with tiny lamp shades covering the bulbs may initially seem like a perfect option, but the fabric on the shades will be particularly prone to capturing dirt, oil and grease that are natural to a kitchen. A fixture should be able to hold up to the range of humidity, heat and high traffic use of a kitchen. Another thing to consider is installing long lasting bulbs. These may at first seem like an unnecessary, added expense, but, the frequency of use in the kitchen makes them worth the investment.

Lighting the kitchen is a way to change the personality of one of the most important rooms in your home. Selecting the right style of lighting products combined with choosing a functional fixture can be a difficult task which is all before you even got to the part where you are trying to install it. By consulting a professional you may be able to save time and money as well as be exposed to different lighting sources you would not have otherwise considered. By simply updating your kitchen lighting, you can easily add more function while creating a great new look and style to your kitchen.