Kitchen lighting ideas – to set the scene for cooking, eating and entertaining

Cleverly planned illumination that will bring your kitchen out of the shadows.

The kitchen’s primary function may still be cooking, but it increasingly serves as one of the main entertaining spaces in the home. The right kitchen lighting can deliver several levels of brightness, make a space feel larger and dramatically alter the mood and feel of a room. Investing in a scheme that provides both effective task lighting and creates the perfect ambience is essential.

‘Often, lighting can be the last thing considered in kitchen design,’ says Andrew Hall, managing director of Woodstock Furniture, ‘however, for a kitchen to look its best and function well, the space must be lit properly.’ Experts agree that the best time to install a new lighting scheme is way back at the planning stage, as you are signing off your kitchen drawings. Leave it until later and it becomes an afterthought with limited possibilities.

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There are three main types of lighting: task, mood and feature, and the most successful kitchen schemes include all three. Task lights are the brightest and target the working areas such as preparation surfaces, cooker and sink, while mood lighting, which is soft and diffused, is used to create ambience. Feature lighting can refer to the fitting itself, which makes  a statement whether it is on or off, or  to something interesting, such as a colour-changing system, in-cupboard illumination or plinth-level lighting, which adds an extra dimension but is not essential. ‘Always opt for more light sources rather than brighter ones, and set decorative and mood lighting on dimmers, so they can be adjusted with ease,’ advises Giovanni Corrado of Baroncelli, 

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However adventurous you would like to be with your scheme, it’s crucial to establish your budget early. As a general rule, John Cullen,, recommends spending as much on your  kitchen’s lighting as you do on the flooring.