Kitchen lighting guide

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3 min readToday’s kitchen is more than just a place to cook – it’s a multi-functional space where we do everything from dine and socialise to catch up on emails. As a result, a smart kitchen lighting layout is a must. One that’s not only flexible, but shows off the kitchen’s very best features. Rather than a single light source, opt for a multi-layered lighting scheme that will take your kitchen from cooking and prep zone to entertaining zone at the flick of a switch.

Plan it out

The ideal time to plan kitchen lighting is when you’re building or renovating as wiring, fittings and switches can be positioned exactly where you’ll need them. Bear in mind that light switches need to be positioned at least 30cm from the sink and taps to prevent water from coming into contact with electricity.

If your kitchen layout isn’t due for an update any time soon and the lighting needs a boost, consider adding LED strip lighting – it’s versatile, energy efficient and easy to install in those hard-to-reach spots such as shelves, cupboards and cabinets.

 10 Sirius Cove Road, NSW. 10 Sirius Cove Road, NSW.

Task lighting

Safety is the top priority in areas where you’ll be cooking, chopping and washing up, so make sure these spots are properly fitted out with task lighting. Opt for strong, directional lighting in the form of downlights fitted on the ceiling, wall or beneath cabinets so that you can easily see what you’re doing. Always ensure light sources are positioned directly above or slightly in front of you to avoid casting shadows on your work surface.

Sick of hunting around in the corners of dark cupboards for that missing ingredient or cooking utensil? Sensor lighting inside the pantry and kitchen drawers that comes on automatically when you open the door or drawer will give you easy access and a full view of all the contents inside.

Ambient lighting

Whether it’s the glow of a trio of pendant lights above the island unit or a fabulous chandelier above the kitchen dining table, ambient light washes your kitchen with warm light and sets the mood for entertaining. Have them hooked up to dimmer switches so that you can control the amount of light emitted. For a fun touch that’s sure to be a conversation starter, you might wish to consider coloured lighting.

 238 Darling Street, Balmain, NSW. 238 Darling Street, Balmain, NSW.

Accent lighting

This is all about adding the ‘wow’ factor to your kitchen by highlighting its best features. Think downlights installed beneath shelves or inside a display cabinet to showcase your beloved collection of glassware; decorative wall sconces to highlight architectural features or a statement splash back; uplighters installed into the base of an island unit so that it appears to hover above the ground; or LED colour changeable back lighting as pictured below on an Italian Carrara marble splash back.

 115 Outlook Lane, Gisbourne, VIC. 115 Outlook Lane, Gisbourne, VIC.

For more ideas on kitchen lighting head to our Lust-worthy lighting for the home Pinterest board.

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Georgia Madden

Georgia Madden is a senior writer for Houzz Australia. She specialises in home renovations, design and decor trends. She is a freelance interiors journalist and writer and a regular contributor to House & Garden magazine and a number of interiors websites. Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum is her debut novel.

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