How to properly design lighting for small kitchens – 3 recommendations from AQForm

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Preparing food is not the only function of a kitchen. Regardless of its size it is a place where we drink our morning coffee, organize get-togethers and read a book or a newspaper every once in a while. It is because of this that the lighting in a kitchen must be chosen very carefully. The lights in the kitchen should serve the needs and habits of its users while also taking into account the potential of the interior. What should therefore be taken into account when designing lighting for a kitchen?

1. Take care of the general lighting – as it determines the functionality of the room

Do you always add sugar to your coffee at the countertop, open milk in the light of the open fridge and check a yogurt’s best by date at the window? Do similar behavior patterns apply to you? It turns out that you may have a kitchen with inadequate lighting.

Properly picked lighting will save you time that you would have otherwise spent on numerous trips across the kitchen in the morning while in a hurry to get to work. Instead of yawning in a room with inadequate lighting, you will begin your day in a comfortable atmosphere.

General lighting in a kitchen should first and foremost provide soft light across the whole room, to achieve this it is best to choose light fixtures with a large lighting surface with diffusers. These types of lamps offer a very wide beam angle and provide diffused light. Because they do not create visible light spots on the floor, our attention is drawn to the things at the eye level instead of the light spots on the parquet.

In tight kitchens without access to the light from other rooms it is of utmost importance to take care when choosing the general lighting. In such kitchens light fixtures like the BLOS, MAXI RING and TRU families will provide an adequate amount of light.

Downlight or spotlight fixtures, for example the SQUARES mini family compatible with AR111 light sources, can also be used when designing kitchen lighting. In that case it is very important to choose light sources that provide a wide beam angle. By choosing such light sources the entire room can be evenly illuminated.

General lighting in a kitchen should provide comfort and allow the use of the entire room. In addition, reading names on product labels or newspaper articles should not tax the eyesight unnecessarily. However general lighting is not enough to provide practical illumination of work surfaces such as the countertop.

2. Illuminate the countertops and kitchen tables in order to see what you are working on

Do you like to prepare salads, tarts and cakes but you do not know why you suffer from backpain while working? Do you use high quality knifes but still have to check if the vegetables and fruits are cut correctly? This indicates a need for better countertop illumination.

In professional kitchens like those found in restaurants it is recommended for the countertops and other working surfaces to be illuminated with an illuminance of 500 lux. Although if you do not need surgical precision while cutting a carrot an illuminance of 300 lux will be perfectly adequate. However illuminance is not the only thing that matters.

It is equally important to get rid of the shadows created by the silhouette of the user. The general lighting which is usually provided by ceiling or hanging lamps mounted behind the user standing in front of the countertop naturally creates shadows that impede using the work surface. It is therefore worthwhile to ensure a mixed lighting setup. One solution is additional lighting under the cupboard. Such lighting will allow for additional work surface illumination and will break up the shadow cast by the silhouette of the user. It is important for such lighting to achieve an expected level of illuminance when working at the countertop.

Halogen light sources quickly reach high temperatures. It is important to keep this in mind because heat spreads and can therefore heat up the bottom of the cupboard while also being noticeably hot to the touch. LED and OLED light fixtures offer a solution to this problem by generating lower temperatures.

3. Remember about colour temperature – it determines the atmosphere in the kitchen

How to properly pick lighting for a kitchen? It would seem that the colour temperature does not matter for a kitchen. This, however, is a wrong assumption. Besides adequate illumination of the countertop a small kitchen requires carefully designed general lighting. Light fixtures best suited for this purpose have either a diffuser for softening the light or a wide beam angle. When picking lighting for a kitchen it is important to take into account that this room can serve more functions besides being a place for preparing meals.

  • If the kitchen is a central living space for the inhabitants, a warm family atmosphere will be easiest to achieve using light sources with warm colour temperatures (2700K, 3000K).
  • If the kitchen in your house is first and foremost a workspace then neutral colour temperature (4000K) will be the best choice, as high colour temperatures are commonly used in professional kitchens.
  • If the kitchen has a modern finish and you want to showcase the utilized glossy, chromed materials or white fronts then you may prefer to use light sources with colour temperature of 4000K.
  • On the other hand if you want your kitchen to sometimes be illuminated by cozy warm light while also being able to use cold colour temperature to concentrate and work effectively, then light fixtures with the Tunable-White option will be the perfect choice. Tunable-White variants allow for smooth colour temperature regulation. With light fixtures such as MAXI RING or BIG SIZE you can set the colour temperature to values between 2700K and 6500K at any time. What’s more – by choosing light fixtures with the AQsmart intelligent system – you can achieve this easily by using an application on you smartphone. It is important to note that the Tunable-White versions of light fixtures compatible with AQsmart can be programmed to „follow” the daytime colour temperature!

Lastly it is important to remember that cooking generates one of the worst types of dirt – oil mixed with dust. For this reason luminaires in a kitchen should be possibly resistant to. Light fixtures with increased ingress protection get a special mention here. It is overall easier to keep them clean because the dirt does not get inside them. It is best to choose light fixtures with compact cases – as a shape without numerous recesses is easier to clean. It is because of this that surface luminaires fair better in kitchens than suspended luminaires.

The kitchen can fulfill surprisingly many functions therefore its lighting is very important and should be wisely designed. A special level of care is needed for functional general lighting, task lighting at the countertops and the colour temperature, which will define the room atmosphere. Check which lamps and light fixtures will be the best fit for your kitchen – see available suggestions created by lighting specialists from AQForm Lighting Solutions.