Reviving the Past... Designing the Future

Lighting is an important aspect of kitchen design.

Lighting your new space so you can comfortably see and work, is a important aspect of kitchen design. Recessed down lights are currently the most desirable source of general lighting in kitchens and bathrooms for their architectural appeal and even light distribution. While one down light may be all that is needed in a shower stall, in pathways and other public areas, multiple down lights may be required to evenly light the area without shadows. General area illumination is accomplished using open reflector or baffle trims and incandescent bulbs. Energy savings can be found using Compact Fluorescent (CFL) down lights and under Title 24 of the UBC in California, florescent lighting is required in kitchens and bathrooms. As a general rule, you can start your selection with a down light style commonly used for that room type and then make a change to another style if a compatible wattage and performance is available from an alternate selection. Visually intensive tasks require both quantity and quality illumination. Therefore, down lights should be oriented directly over the work area and in front of you. Down lights placed above or behind you will cast undesirable shadows over the work area.

Task Lighting is an energy efficient way to place extra light where you need it most. By improving the light on surfaces you work, read or eat at, you can maximize safety and comfort without increasing the total amount of fixtures needed in the ceiling to light the space. Task areas should have two times the amount of light as the general use areas. I recommend using low profile florescent light strips for under cabinet task lighting. Halogen or LED lighting are available for under cabinet lights but these are more suited for accent lighting to display your new tile backsplash or granite countertops.

Wall washing is a technique used to light vertical surfaces evenly. When done properly, it can make a room appear larger and more inviting. Wall washing is also helpful to reduce the appearance of textured surfaces by diminishing shadows from the ridges. In order to stand out, the wall should have at least 50% more light than the ambient lighting in the room. Use double the watts per square foot to illuminate the wall that you are using to illuminate the general space.