One of the first elements to consider when planning a lighting scheme for the kitchen is what type of lighting you need and in which area. There are three different types of lighting – ambient (overhead lighting) task specific (shines on certain work stations) and mood lighting (which focuses on a feature such as glassware).
The type of light – warm or cold – is also important. The bulb choice is actually just as important as the light fitting. For example, if your colour scheme consists of greys and whites, putting in a warm light can make the bench look quite yellow.
When thinking about the style of light fittings, an important consideration is the location of the kitchen within the house and whether it’s enclosed or open plan. If you have an open plan kitchen, it will be important to blend (or contrast) the lighting with the rest of the dining or living room or outdoor space, and to consider the style of the rest of your home to ensure the lighting scheme will complement this.
Thinking about practicality, an important element to consider is cleaning. Kitchens attract oil, dust and dirt, all of which show up clearly on lights. Lights that are easily accessed and easy to clean are important, though are not often a consideration for many people at the outset.
A number of the decisions homeowners make in selecting a lighting scheme depends on the individual kitchen. However, some things always work well. If you have ceilings that are a standard 9ft and a single height, regular down lights or oyster lights that sit flush with the ceiling look great. With higher ceilings, something I particularly like is a row of three pendants, or even a cluster of pendants. These don’t have to be uniform, but can be different colours and textures, and hung at different heights, to create a beautiful kitchen feature.
Finally, have fun and think creatively! Ambient light doesn’t have to be static for example – it could be a floor lamp with a timber or steel base, in a style in keeping with the rest of the kitchen. I’ve seen some fantastic kitchens with floor lamps that can be moved around the kitchen as need dictates.