Whether you need a bit more light when reading your cookbook, or just want to avoid the harsh overhead lights for a quick kitchen chore, task lighting is one of the more useful lighting choices for your kitchen. Avoid some common lighting pitfalls to ensure your kitchen lights work for you, not against you.
Pitfall #1: Poor Under-Cabinet Placement
Under-cabinet lights are some of the most helpful lighting sources in the kitchen, but they can also be the most bothersome. Avoid the temptation to place a simple strip fixture beneath your cabinets in every dark area. This results in an overly bright light that either blinds you, or creates a harsh glare on the work surface.
Instead, install adjustable recessed lights beneath the cabinet. Place them to the rear of the work surface, not in the center or front, to prevent glare. If you're right handed, place the light on the left hand side. You can also install a light on either side of the work surface if you will need to work from both the left and right side of the space.
Pitfall #2: Not Enough Diffused Lighting Sources
Although recessed lighting and task lighting are useful, they can create pockets of harsh lighting interspersed with dimly lit areas. This can cause eye strain and the lighting is generally unpleasant to work in.
Combine recessed lights over task areas with diffuse lighting sources, such as wall sconces or standard ceiling fixtures. You can also place the task lights on a dimmer switch, so you can lower the brightness so it doesn't interfere with the diffuse lighting sources.
Pitfall #3: Rigid Lighting Patterns
Overhead recess lighting is especially useful over island work areas. These fixtures aim light directly onto your work surface where you need it most. Much light under-cabinet lights, a rigid pattern or over-use of the recessed lighting can result in glare or poorly aimed light.
Skip the rigid rows of lights and instead opt for only one or two well-placed recesses lights. Just like under-cabinet options, set them so the shine at an angle from the rear of the work surface and from the opposite side of the surface from where you normally work. If you have multiple recessed overhead lights, place them on separate switches so you can control the direction and the intensity of the light.
Pitfall #4: Fixed Light Sources
One of the greatest challenges with the standard "can" style of recessed lights is that they shine light in only one direction – straight down. It's well worth the expense to upgrade to an adjustable light fixture that allows you to manually or remotely change the direction of the bulb within the recessed fixture. Adjustable fixtures allow you to tweak the light orientation until it's just right for both your height and your personal preferences.
Putting in a bunch of specialty task lights in your kitchen improves the work area. If the ongoing costs is a concern, choosing fixtures that accept low-energy LED or fluorescent bulbs allows you to upgrade without any worries about increased power consumption. Contact companies like JF Electrical Contractors, Inc for more information.