The way we light our home environment, and specifically the kitchen, affects the functionality and atmosphere of the space. There is no such thing as an all-in-one light fixture when it comes to the planning of your kitchen lighting. Time and again it is the last thing considered in a kitchen design and the first thing cut from a budget. If your kitchen only has task lighting, you feel as if you have a spotlight on you at all times. On the other hand, if you only have ambient and accent lighting, you feel like you are cooking in the dark. The secret is finding the right blend by layering. For both functionality and decor, you must incorporate these four types of lighting, task-; accent-; ambient- and decorative lighting. Here is how you can combine all the types in your kitchen.

Task. This lighting illuminates the work spaces – wherever you are preparing food. If you have an island that doubles-up as the main preparation area, make use of white light either with down- or pendant lights. In the case your prep work takes place where wall cupboards are present, use a continuous LED strip or individual fixtures as an easy way to create task lighting underneath your wall cupboards.

Ambient. The ultimate purpose of ambient lighting is to make the navigation in the kitchen second nature – general lighting for walking around and identifying objects. The easiest and most affordable way to add ambient lighting is by setting a dimmer switch on your task lighting fixtures – diffused white light is, for most people, the best choice for ambient light in the kitchen.

Accent. This adds a dramatic flair to the overall look of your kitchen by placing attention on unique features. This can be accomplished by using track- or recessed lights fixtures on tile- or decorative features on the ceiling or walls; LED strips makes for great accent lights for floating shelves or underneath your floor cupboards or countertops; or downlights inside wall units with glass doors.

Decorative. This is the one-of-a-kind or centrepiece in a kitchen and the perfect way to set the theme (can really add to the overall aesthetic in a kitchen). Add rough iron chandeliers over the island in a country or rustic kitchen; or modern stainless steel pendant lights for an industrial feel.

Make your lighting multi-functional by combining all these types in order to give your kitchen greater functionality, interest, and likelihood that you will have sufficient lighting.

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