Kitchen floor plans are always unique, besides no one uses your kitchen the way you do. The technique of layering light applies: overhead fixtures combine with recessed lighting, under-cabinet lighting and natural lighting to give you the level of light that works in your kitchen. Here’s a look at kitchen lighting basics.
1. Every kitchen needs recessed lighting placed over the front edge of kitchen counters so your lighting doesn’t throw your own shadow into your tasks. Recessed lighting is a priority!
2. You’ll need under-cabinet lighting, too, because it scatters light forward toward your hands. We like the slim fixtures that tuck up under the cabinets and cast light evenly across the counter. Choose fixtures with a built in dimmer switch. Change the light level for a house party or for a night-light on long winter evenings.
3. Have a breakfast bar, island or table in your kitchen? Consider pendants, and more than one. Pendants come in every imaginable style: contemporary metals, colorful Italian glass, Mid-century modern, Mission, or Vintage Industrial with its Edison bulbs. Retrofitting a space with pendants? Consider a multisystem fixture for the ultimate in flexibility
4. Add small recessed can lights over the breakfast bar or table. Recessed light is useful and it shows off your pendants or chandelier. (We have thousands of pendants and Certified Lighting Specialists with years of experience helping customers like you to identify the look you’re after. Incorporating good lighting that also makes a statement? That’s what we do.)
5. Not everyone has the luxury of a kitchen table. Got one? Make it a place you want to spend time with a chandelier. Years ago on a home tour we spotted a sensational vintage-looking crystal chandelier lighting the breakfast table in the kitchen of a very contemporary Madison home. It was a showstopper. We love tailored drum shade fixtures, along with up-cycled industrial, and mid-century modern “chandeliers.” It’s YOUR home so put your personal imprint on it.
6. A quick word on proportion as you browse our online shopping experience: Typically a chandelier is hung 28-32” above the tabletop. And it’s best to locate it one foot in from the edge of the table to avoid hitting your head. What’s the right height of the fixture itself? Our rule of thumb is 2.5 to 3” for each foot of ceiling height. An eight-foot ceiling prefers a chandelier that’s 20-24 inches in height. How about the diameter? Add the height and width of your room together and treat the sum as inches. A 15 x 18 foot dining room would look great with a chandelier that’s 33” in diameter.
Now that you know the “rules” remember the pirate’s code. They’re not actually rules, more like guidelines, really. An example of “the code?” If you’re lucky enough to have a big farm kitchen with a worktable in the center, consider using multiple chandeliers for lighting. Two chandeliers over a worktable or long, rectangular dining table has a “why not?” attitude that can be very appealing.