Would you turn down the opportunity to remodel your kitchen (if it wasn’t quite so disruptive and expensive to do so or course)? Of course you would, but the world doesn’t work that way does it? Or does it – because the reality is that you can get the “effect” of a major overhaul without really doing (or spending) much at all.
So, now I’ve got your attention, let’s deal with a fundamental fact. Kitchen units don’t actually play that great a role in how a kitchen ultimately appears. Sorry (especially if you’ve recently blown a fortune on expensive kitchen units) but it’s true.
What actually makes the most difference is lighting. Don’t believe me? Check out any glossy magazine or visit any fancy showroom and the common theme is being very well lit (which, you will notice, is not at all the same as very brightly lit).
The thing is, poorly thought out lighting will completely take the gloss off even the very best kitchen units and counter tops, whereas a good lighting design can set off even cheap units and make a clear statement.
So what is the key to “good” kitchen lighting design? Well at its most simple, it is simply about distributing the lighting among numerous separate light sources. So if you want task lighting on the counter, for example, then install under-cabinet lighting dedicated to that purpose, right where it’s needed and with its own switch, rather than try and make do using the main ambient light fittings.
The problem with implementing this kind of design using conventional light bulbs (such as halogen lamps) is that it is both expensive to run and generates a great deal of heat. Neither of which is desirable in a kitchen, which is typically the most used room in the house.
Of course, the heat from the light bulbs and the cost to run them represent two sides of the same story. And the moral of this particular story is that traditional incandescent lighting is hopelessly inefficient, with something like 90% of the electricity consumed being converted directly into heat. And, as anyone who has ever installed halogen lamps will testify, we are talking serious scorch marking and fire starting temperatures here. But fortunately there is nowadays an excellent alternative…
Lighting based on light emitting diodes (LED) converts electricity directly into light, which means they can deliver the same level of light as conventional light bulbs with next to no waste heat and using just one tenth the electricity. Yes, you read that correctly – it costs about ten times less to run!
And where implementing kitchen lighting ideas is concerned these days, low operating temperatures and low running costs are where it’s at. Now you can install as many lights as you want without getting concerned about fire risks or worrying about the electricity bill. Which means of course that finally you can implement a really good lighting design.
Because not only is LED kitchen lighting safe and very cheap to run, it is also extremely easy to install and suitable for many different applications. There are LED fittings that replace G4 halogen capsules (for display cabinets and such like), LED light strips which are really effective beneath cabinets, and of course spot lights for recessed ceiling down lights and tracks.