When we think about lighting, both inside and outside our homes, usually the goal is to use lighting that makes everything look good.
What’s more important is to make it even.
Since the kitchen tends to be a busy area where much socialization takes place, even lighting is particularly important. Universal Design seeks to eliminate shadows and glare, both of which tend to interfere with sight and can put you a little off balance.
It does this by incorporating three kinds of lighting. Direct lighting is the overhead lights that illuminate large areas. Task lighting is found beneath cabinets and is very specific. Accent lighting is in various locations and the most subtle of the three.
Depending on how you use your lights means you can make your kitchen daylight bright, soft and romantic…or some combination in between.
The goal is to avoid shadows that hide an open cabinet door or countertop that sticks out. Just like shadows, glare is just as dangerous because it also overwhelms the eye and impairs vision. Even lighting is the best way to create the atmosphere you want and still be safe.
For direct lighting you’ll need overhead lights like pendants and/or recessed ceiling lights. Task lighting includes lights mounted under the counter to fully illuminate food preparation. Accent lighting comes from either wall sconces or the rising popularity of cabinet toe-kick lighting - both of which complement the other two. Toe-kick lights also delineate the juncture of cabinets to the floor.
Dimmer switches are the best way to adjust the amount of lighting for different activities. While toe-kick lighting is usually on or off, dimmer switches adjust general and task lighting to produce the amount of light you want.
So have some fun using your lights to create the kitchen that suits your mood.