The clocks went forward weeks ago, spring has just about sprung and sunlight streams through the windows for longer and longer each day (or so we like to hope).
A well designed kitchen will use the natural light in your space to bring out and accentuate the best bits, but as this is the room that tends to be used from dawn until well after dusk, it is crucial to get the lighting absolutely right. It is pointless to spend hours deliberating over intricate design and materials that complement and contrast if the beautiful overall effect is lost as soon as the sun goes down and the fluorescent strip light goes on.
The lighting of any living space falls into three categories: task, ambient and mood. As the kitchen is a space for creating, socialising and relaxing, all three of these types of lighting are equally as important. The trick is to combine them to create a solution that is both functional and atmospheric.
Your workspace will require task lighting to enable you to see what you are doing. You should be able to direct this kind of light in front of you so you won’t cast a shadow onto what you are doing.
Ambient lighting, done properly, should look as if there are no lights turned on. It is soft, unobtrusive and creates a backdrop for the other types of lighting you use. Without good ambient lighting, your task lighting would seem bright and stark.
Where you can really get creative is with mood lighting. This type of lighting, is in the large part decorative. It serves very little purpose and would never be seen in a restaurant kitchen. But in a home kitchen mood lighting enables you to create atmosphere and personality. It turns your kitchen from a functional room into a beautiful living space. Unique and artistic pendant lights and lamps as well as carefully positioned spots are perfect for this type of lighting.
Examples of these types of lights, created by local artists and craftspeople are on display at my showroom at The Old Chapel. You can see how the unique pieces work in the context of the kitchen design and are complemented by the other types of lighting used.