Kitchen Task Lighting

Kitchen Task Lighting

There are three basic types of lighting to incorporate in most rooms:
1)  Ambient lighting
2)  Accent lighting
3)  Task lighting

Ambient lighting

is the first layer of lighting. It is the general, overall light in a room. Most often, ambient light comes from a single ceiling-mounted fixture or a few recessed can lights.

Accent lighting

is just what it sounds like. It is used to accent or draw attention to a particular object, like a sculpture or painting, or a china display cabinet.

Task lighting

is specific lighting in an area of the room where tasks are to be performed. For example, you may keep a lamp beside your reading chair. Task lighting provides better illumination than general lighting. One of the most important places for task lighting is in the kitchen. Whether you’re chopping vegetables near the sink or stuffing a turkey at the island, proper lighting is essential. Though task lighting seems utilitarian and tedious, it can seamlessly fit into any style and add to the beauty of your kitchen.

There is plenty of task lighting in this Keidel kitchen. First, the homeowner selected under cabinet lighting to illuminate the countertops. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, under cabinet lighting is perfect for eliminating dark shadows in food preparation areas. Itquickly and easily brightens countertops and is available in a variety of choices, including fluorescents, low-voltage linear systems, and several types of LED systems.   Two main factors determine good lighting for countertops: the illuminance level and uniformity. For kitchen countertops, the recommended level of illuminance is around 500 lux. Uniformity is just the evenness of the light and is essential to prevent eye strain. When installing under cabinet fixtures, place them at the front of the cabinet and not against the wall. This will distribute the light more evenly.

The second kind of task lighting in this kitchen is found above the island. Pendants are extremely popular for their versatility and practicality. In this kitchen, the pendants provide task lighting over the sink. They’re also good sources of additional light when eating at the bar.   Installing pendants isn’t complicated for a seasoned electrician. A good rule of thumb is to install one pendant for every two feet of counter space. According to the American Lighting Association, you should “mount each pendant so that the bottom of the shade is approximately 66″ above the floor.” Of course, a lighting designer might recommend something different for your specific space.

The third area of task lighting is slightly more subtle than the others. It can be found above the cooktop as part of the range hood. Many manufacturers offer hoods with halogen or LED lights to illuminate cooking surfaces.

Another great kitchen task lighting option is track lighting. As shown in the kitchen above, track lighting is suspended from the ceiling. Individual light heads are fitted onto tracks, allowing adjustable positioning and movement. Track lighting works well in modern kitchens, but can look great in transitional and traditional spaces too. Take a look at some of the great examples on Houzz:

Traditional Kitchen by Washington Design-Build FirmsLandis Architects / Builders

Traditional Kitchen by West Chester Architects & DesignersArcher & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

These are our favorite types of task lighting for the kitchen. What are yours? Let us know in the comments section, or tell us on Facebook & Twitter!