If you’ve been working towards remodeling your kitchen, you might’ve heard time and again that lighting is key. More specifically, the combination of strategically placed ambient, task and accent lighting can really breathe life into your kitchen space. Without much prior knowledge or experience, it may sound somewhat complicated, but with a little bit of research, you’ll find that implementing all three lighting sources in your kitchen is much simpler than you’ve imagined.
The Three Lighting Sources
Ambient lighting is the main light source for your kitchen. This is most often in the form of several recessed lights placed in the kitchen’s ceiling. However – and this is especially true if you have a large kitchen and/or high ceilings – ambient lighting is simply not enough.
Because ambient lights tend to be located at quite a distance from where the kitchen’s main tasks are taking place, it is usually necessary to place a few additional light sources closer to the main work areas, especially the stove, sink, and surrounding countertops. This task lighting allows for safer and more efficient cooking.
The last lighting element – accent lighting – serves to highlight the design features that really make your kitchen space pop. Whether it’s color, line, texture, or even just a unique decorative element, accent lighting accentuates the subtle design features that combine to create the overall aesthetic that you’re looking for. The following kitchens show that the right lighting combination fuses fashion and function to easily take any space to an entirely new level.
LED Under Cabinet Lighting
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This modern kitchen features a gorgeous and unique combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Cool white recessed lights serve as the ambient light source, but using these lights on their own would not provide enough illumination for working and navigating around the kitchen space, nor does it do any justice to the kitchen’s aesthetic.
LED under-cabinet lighting accentuates the beautiful blue tile backsplash, making an otherwise ignored design feature brighter and more vibrant.The LED lights also provide much-needed task lighting to the work spaces underneath the cabinets that the recessed lighting just can’t reach.
The yellow glow of the pendant lights above the kitchen island picks up the natural warm orange tones of the Shaker cabinets, but also provides an interesting contrast to the cool blues of the backsplash. The subtle yet colorful interplay between cool and warm creates an intriguing and welcoming space, perfect for the sociable, cosmopolitan homeowner who loves entertaining friends.
LED Countertop Lighting
Though this cannot be said for most kitchens, the lighting may very well be the main attraction of this kitchen’s design. It manages to use a multitude of light sources without necessarily being over the top.
While the conventional overhead light fixtures and hanging pendant lights could probably be enough to illuminate this simple transitional kitchen design, the addition of LED lights takes this kitchen’s aesthetic to an entirely new level. LED light strips placed both underneath the countertops and above the toe kick help to creates the cool illusion that the cabinets and countertops are suspended in air.
Above-cabinet, inner-cabinet and recessed spot lighting help to round out the space by ensuring that no dark shadows exist. This unique, almost futuristic take on kitchen lighting takes what could be an otherwise boring kitchen space and adds a great amount of visual interest.
Kitchen Cabinet Lighting
While many spaces tend to want to embrace a warmer, more homely lighting scheme, this white and grey kitchen fully embraces the soft coolness of white light. Though not pictured, recessed lighting probably acts as the foundational ambient lighting for this space.
Under-cabinet lights can provide illumination for any tasks that occur in these spaces, especially on the countertops surrounding the stove. However, these lights also accentuate the texture and complementary white and gray hues of the two different backsplash styles.
Inner-cabinet lights help to accentuate the cabinet’s decorative items, but it also helps to add more depth to the space. Finally, the two large, eye-catching light fixtures above the island help to bring together both the lighting and stylistic elements of the rest of the kitchen.
Under Cabinet Lighting
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As is most popular, this traditional kitchen design also uses recessed lighting as the ambient light source. Because of the stacked and staggered nature of the kitchen cabinets, the recessed lighting is not enough to illuminate the areas where most of the work will be taking place.
To compensate, under-cabinet task lighting stretches across the entire run of cabinets, including beneath the valance above the sink. This under-cabinet lighting also does double duty as accent lighting, highlighting the subtle colors and texture of the stone backsplash.
Glass doors and inner-cabinet accent lighting draws the eye up towards the smaller top cabinets, which not only highlights carefully-placed decorative items, but also brings attention to the intricate detailing of the kitchen cabinets.
This kitchen’s pièce de résistance is the large wrought iron pendant light fixture above the kitchen island. While it functions as task lighting for any activities that take place on the kitchen island, it also serves the aesthetic purpose of being a decorative item all on its own. The combination of all of these lighting sources brings together and elevates the exquisite details of this traditional kitchen.
Lighting For A Dark Kitchen
This dark kitchen again has the same three lighting elements – ambient, accent and task lighting – though they’re represented somewhat differently in this space. First and foremost, the ambient lighting for this kitchen actually comes from multiple sources – a handful of recessed lights, a number of track lights, and a large skylight in the center of the ceiling. Homeowners often forget that natural lighting from windows and skylights is also important – even if it’s just during the daytime.
Task lighting above the stove and in the form of pendant lighting above the two-tiered countertop help to make cooking safer. The soft accent lights in the wall cabinets almost fade into the background while providing the last touch of necessary illumination in what is a decidedly dark space.