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How to Choose between Kitchen Lighting Options

by Susanne Clemenz

Charming pendant lights. Track lights that curve and flow. Handsome ceiling lights. Rope lights. It's difficult to choose when creating kitchen lighting plans. And in a big kitchen with a generous budget, why not select a few options?

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Remember that lighting for kitchens should be more task-oriented than any other room in the home. Make sure you accommodate both function and fashion:

Define Your Kitchen Lighting Plans and Tasks

  1. General lighting: You may want a fixture that creates overall light when you're not cooking. This can be a ceiling light, a ceiling fan light, or a task light that is switched both at the task area and where you enter or leave the room.
  2. Food preparation and cooking: Light should fall on the work surface in front of you, not from behind you where it casts shadows on your work. Each section of the prep area should be switched separately--counter tops, island, and stove.
  3. Food cleanup area: Choose a beautiful light over your sink. Locate sink, dishwasher, and dinnerware storage near each other to minimize work.
  4. Pantries: A ceiling light is fine for walk-ins. Built-in pantries may need a recessed light that can be focused on the shelves.
  5. Display cabinets: For china and stemware cabinets with glass doors, use glass shelves and interior mini rope or puck lights.

Visualize your overall kitchen lighting plans to make sure they're not too complicated. Simplify the look by using one or two fashionable light fixtures while keeping others in a sleeker, unified design. Shop around online and at local lighting stores.

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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