Always remember that light is the first element of design; without it there is no color, form, or texture…Tom Farin is founder and President of Pegasus Associates.  Pegasus Associates Lighting

I hate to get on a rant this early in the game but I have to say something about lighting in your kitchen. IT MATTERS! Not just style and selection of a fixture that may hang over your island, sink or wherever but also what/how much lighting you do for general purposes. Please do not let anyone tell you that you do not need “so much” light in your kitchen…I am not saying it needs to be lit like an operating room but you need adequate light! All too often, (read here: like today) I get into “discussions” with another designer or architect on a project regarding how many cans/where they go/where they are switched/dimmers or no/ etc etc. Often there is spirited debate. The older I get the more light I need to have…but there is a trend amongst some designers to ignore what we actually do in a kitchen…which is cook and eat. And you need to be able to see to do both. So here is a few of my thoughts on this..and this is my opinion…well, I guess because it is my blog!

  • do not be afraid of recessed cans…you can use compact flourescents in them if you like…and there are those that will dim too… check out this site:Eartheasy
  • it’s ok to NOT put  recesses cans in a line…for pete’s sake! put them where you need them to light your workspace! Most people look at a plan from the top..and they look so nicey-nice all in a grid pattern…but guess what!? When in your kitchen….you do not walk around looking up! They do not need to be little soldiers lining up for duty in a straight line!
  • watch the crown projection on your tall and deep cabinetry…nothing says “amateur”  more than having the baffle of a recessed can too close to the crown molding
  • summing it up on cans…use them where needed, switch them differently for how you might use them, and put them on dimmers!
  • forget halogens for under the cabinet lighting..they are way too hot…use xenon or led or slimline flourescents..put them as close to the front of cabinet as possible and do not leave big “gaps” in a line..or you will have shadows
  • Now, with choosing pendants or accent lights…do not let this be an afterthought!  Do not let this be a last minute purchase at the local DIY store because you are too tired/too “over it all”/don’t have time too look/ blah blah blah…It is very important to the aesthetics of your kitchen to have a good looking pendant(s) or chandelier…Style counts! Make sure they are placed properly. Look for lights with some personality to tie into the overall “look” of the project. One of my favorite lines for more traditional  is ..Hubbardton Forge but they also have some cool modern looks as well

Next time, will talk about bath lighting as it is also often misunderstood!

Here are a couple of pix that illustrate why good lighting is important!

My client was a lighting nut! She found some of the best fixtures!