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Choosing Functional And Decorative Kitchen Lighting

Aug 17, 2007
The kitchen is among the most important areas of a house, it is not just the place for cooking or eating, it also becomes the center for social and administrative matters. As such, the kitchen is known to consume a lot of electricity for lighting, and it is thus important to install good lighting in this room to ensure productivity and efficiency.

Lighting a kitchen involves three important goals - to create a lighting scheme that encourages productivity, to choose the appropriate types of lamps for energy efficiency, and to install the right lighting controls for efficient light management. These three elements are quite essential for ensuring the kitchen is well lighted.

Good lighting design is essential for kitchen productivity. Here are some tips for kitchen lighting:

1. Use fluorescent lights for most of the kitchen - fluorescent lamps are very efficient lighting fixtures. They consume less energy than incandescent lamps and they provide more lighting coverage. A kitchen needs ample light for long periods and thus it would benefit from the energy efficiency and the large light output that fluorescent lamps can provide.

2. Begin by installing lighting on work areas - work areas need the most light and it would be economical to concentrate lighting on these spots. Mount large fluorescent lights under cabinets so that they can provide light directly to the counters. Some cabinets however may not be able to accommodate fluorescent lights, they need some space to hide the lamps. You can have a carpenter add a few more inches to the cabinet's face frame so that the lamps can hide easily behind them.

Normally, T-8 lamps are narrow enough to fit in most cabinets, but if the spaces are more cramped, you might need to get a T-5 lamp. You can also use recessed lights over the counters to illuminate them during kitchen tasks.

3. Install general background lighting once all the work areas are done - having good task lights in the kitchen, you probably would not need general background lighting, but it would still be good to have one if you still have money left. Again, fluorescent lights are best for this purpose as they provide good coverage. You would only need one or two large lamps installed in the ceiling, and perhaps with reflectors to increase the lighting range.

4. Use incandescent lights sparingly - incandescent lamps are very inefficient, especially for functional lighting in the kitchen. An incandescent lamp uses only 10 percent of energy for lighting, and the rest it uses for heat production. Thus it is not advisable to use incandescent lamps in the kitchen, where light is needed all the time. They should only be used as accent lights.

While halogen lamps may be more efficient compared to incandescent lamps, they are still not good for kitchen lighting. Light form halogen lamps are too focused, and one would need a lot to achieve good coverage. They may be good, however, for lighting specific spots for certain tasks in the kitchen.

5. Use several light switches - It is important to be able to control which light you would want to turn on at a particular time. Thus it would be good to have different switches for different lights on the kitchen. Have at least a switch for general lighting and then another one for task lighting.

6. Use dimmers for incandescent and halogen lamps - these lamps are known for their inefficiency in energy use, and thus it would be advisable to use dimmers for them to control their energy consumption. It is not recommended to use dimmers for fluorescent lamps as they are quite expensive and can easily damage the lamps.

7. Figure out which light is best serve as night lights - you would need to have some light on through the night in case you need to go to the kitchen late. A fluorescent lamp under the cabinet by the sink might be good for this purpose.

Lighting is an essential component of kitchen design. Good lighting can encourage productivity and efficiency in this very important part of the home. With a good lighting design not only can you ensure a pleasing kitchen that is easy to work on, but you can ensure that your electricity bills would not go beyond your budget.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://www.a-kitchen-decorating-idea.com where you can get more kitchen decorating ideas and learn more about choosing kitchen lighting.
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