Kitchen Lighting Feedback

donjc451March 28, 2013

Building a new home and would appreciate any feedback on the lighting design and kitchen layout.

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Assuming the ceiling symbols are recessed light fixtures, there are too many over the passages where they would light the floor or the tops of the heads of the occupants and they are on the same switch as the task/counter lights. The ones over the sink should be centered on the sink.

If the 3 over the island are downlights instead of pendants you probably only need 2.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:16AM
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Renovator*, yes the circles are recessed lights except over the island which will be pendants. I understand your comments about lighting the heads of occupants but where would the general lighting for the kitchen come from if you removed them? Also, the idea with the lights over the Sink is to center the lights over the length of the counter that contains the sink, if I center a light over the sink it seems like I would also need to have a light on either side of it which seems like overkill?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:56AM
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We have a similar size island and have two pendant lights and with appropriate bulbs, they give us plenty of light to work from.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:55AM
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The general light in a room should come from reflected light from the task and wall lights not lights directed to the floor (unless there is a special rug there like in an entry hall).

The problem with your plan is that there is so little work counter and wall space.

A sink should have a light on each side of it so your head will not cast a shadow on what you are working on. The same would be true of other work spaces.

If you must light the floor put those lights on a separate switch and dimmer so they can be adjusted to a lower level than the task lights.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Agree with Renovator re: recessed lighting in the kitchen. Also, the sconce lighting (interior/exterior) the door/window placement feel off to me. I can see you are centering lighting to open wall spaces vs. the off-center doors/window (assuming the window matches the doors). I personally like to flank objects vs. centering to open wall spaces.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Musings, I have actually centered the triple door in the opening and centered the sconces in a later plan but I still have the sconces centered between the door and the next surface. It just seems to make sense to center them, I guess your suggesting setting the sconces close but an equal distance to the adjacent walls?

I agree with lighting objects and not people but I don't know how else to light the kitchen without cans in the middle of the room. I will put them on a separate dimmable circuit though.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I think this guide has good information.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to layout recessed lighting

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 9:42PM
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If you centered the three French doors, centering the sconces works. I personally prefer to flank with sconces, but having them a little further away would leave you room for window treatment/panels if that's in your plan.

Layering the lighting (task, ambient, etc.) in your kitchen will help give you coverage and soften the shadows. The under-counter lighting is good. I would consider replacing three recessed lights with two pendants over the island. Definitely put lighting on dimmer switches. Also, I would put the task lighting and the general lighting on their own switches, and place the task lighting where you need it (i.e. flanking the sink per Reno's suggestion). I might also consider removing the recessed light between the range and island depending on the lighting specs, distance to island prep area, etc. If you are prepping on that island, you don't want a light shining on your head. I would also have the sconces on a separate switch from the chandelier/hanging fixture (assuming that's what that is with the three-way switch).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:57PM
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An electrician will almost always try to light a room evenly; an architect will almost never try to do that but instead try to use light to feature certain aspects and elements of the space.

In some ways a kitchen is easy and in others it is difficult. Obviously the primary light should fall on the work surfaces and I like to use small rather than large diameter recessed fixtures with focused PAR, MR16 or LED spot lamps rather than R lamps, deeply recessed rather than shallow and closer together than what the guides recommend. This approach is more expensive but good lighting is never inexpensive and a kitchen is the most demanding space in the house especially in an open plan house.

The difficulty comes with how to light counters with wall cabinets immediately above them without creating a "scalloped" light effect on the cabinets and a shadow at the back of the counter or lighting the tops of the heads of the occupants and casting shadows on the work at hand.

Often I either raise the cabinets 6 in. and/or pull the counter out 6 in. and put a shelf on top of the backsplash. In rare cases a homeowner won't mind the scalloped effect and is willing to use under-cabinet lighting at all cabinets. If you use a wide beam flood, it doesn't look so bad but it doesn't photograph well and it's all about the photos for me (just kidding; it's really all about the money).

As for the passages between the counters there is usually more than enough light that spills over the edges of the counters and/or reflects off of the cabinets to light the floor so I only add a fixture there when the space gets large like at the corners of the room or near a door, a pantry or a refrigerator but it helps to use an adjustable type to be able to direct the light where it looks best.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:06AM
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