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Let there be light
Lighting in the kitchen is just as important as in any other room to set the right mood. More so, in fact, as you need decent light to be able to cook, prepare food and clean up afterwards properly. Here are some ideas for creating the perfect lighting design that enables productivity while ensuring the perfect ambiance.
Use light where it is required to illuminate tasks, such as chopping vegetables or washing up – focus it on worktops, the cooker, the sink etc., rather than playing about with fancy wall lights that simply throw shadows onto the walls. This will help you set the scene for an effective working kitchen. As well as having decent overhead lighting, think about having smaller lights placed in unobtrusive, yet well-used places, such as under wall-mounted cupboards or around the cooker.
Kitchen lighting doesn’t have to be dull. Look for intricate vintage shades, or beautiful twisted sculptures that can incorporate a light source. Place a row of lights under an island unit to make it look ethereal, or fix up-lights to the top of cabinets, so long as you have enough space, to add interest right at the top of the room. Have you thought about using coloured light bulbs, or placing lights near stained glass for a pretty rainbow effect?
Add different kinds of light sources to create ‘layers’ and a more three-dimensional feel. As well as overhead lights, add some table lamps and some strip lighting under cupboards to increase the interest and offer additional options for different levels of light. Candles look beautiful along the windowsill or on a shelf too. Angle spotlights towards interesting pictures or pretty spice or flour jars to highlight them in the room. Place lights inside glass-fronted cabinets to show off the contents inside.
If your kitchen has large windows or French doors, use this to your advantage too and keep them as clear from clutter as you can to allow the natural; light to come in. If you feel like it, you can switch curtains and blinds over, according to the season. A light, organza blind will make a lovely summer window dressing, while a heavier, linen curtains will keep the room feeling cosy as the colder weather sets in. To take even greater advantage of any windows or doors, position a mirror directly opposite them so that the light from outside is reflected back into the room.
For kitchens on a budget, consider using LED light bulbs, as these can now produce just as much light as their traditional counterparts, but for far fewer Watts at a time. If you can, attach your kitchen lights to an automatic timer so that they switch off after a time, and are not left blazing all night by mistake.