Kitchen focus: Why great lighting is key to a successful design

KitchensFeatures Fri 22nd Sep 2023 by Sally Smith

Kitchen focus: Why great lighting is key to a successful design

Kitchen focus: Why great lighting is key to a successful design

Feature by Sally Smith | Fri 22nd Sep 2023

Sally is a freelance interiors journalist with over 10 years' experience, specialising in kitchens and bathrooms. She contributes to many of the national home and interiors publications, and has a background in both consumer and B2B PR. More

Layered lighting schemes using the latest innovative systems are a vital element in designing a contemporary look in the kitchen. Sally Smith finds out how to do it from the experts.

A ‘standout’ kitchen design must have a well thought out layered lighting scheme that includes integrated cabinet lighting, sophisticated illuminated overhead extraction, and stylish island lighting that fits seamlessly with the kitchen furniture, and – importantly – is easy for the client to use.

The H Line Madoc Henley Oak overhead sliding cabinet system from Masterclass, with integrated under cabinet LED strip lighting, provides uninterrupted task lighting, as well as creating soft ambient illumination

"A good lighting scheme is one that matches, enhances and complements the kitchen space, and layering lighting is a key design feature that must be considered by the kitchen designer. If a customer has an ultra-modern taste, strip lighting placed in line with the top of base units and under the kitchen island worktop works well. Subtle coloured lighting can help to differentiate between task and ambient lighting," explains Cassie Jones, brand manager at Masterclass Kitchens.

She adds: "Interior cabinet lighting is a particular focal point that customers love at the moment. All our cocktail cabinets and dressers, for example, hold either spotlights or strip lights, as does ‘The Lansbury’, our flagship corner pantry. Depending on customer preferences and logistical needs, they can operate them via a switch, infrared sensors, or a remote."

A successful kitchen lighting scheme needs to seamlessly integrate task, ambient, cabinet and shelf lighting to achieve an optimal blend of functionality, and a range of lighting scenes to suit the customers needs.

The Flex Light from Häfele is a silicon-based ribbon that can be bent to almost any angle and radius, as shown here with their Modu3 kitchen. It can be installed in plinths, shelving, handleless systems and AluSplash splashbacks. Designed in a variety of lengths in cool white and warm white

Häfele offers a specialised order service to retailers to cut, assemble, test, pack and ship lighting strips based on customers size and profile requirements ready for easy installation.

Jamie McLaren, business development manager for Lighting at Häfele UK, says: "Kitchen lighting must be well thought-out to ensure what’s included in a lighting plan is going to benefit the users. Studios should delve into the needs and lifestyles of their customers to understand what lighting features would suit them most."

Mclaren adds: "It’s important to ensure that a sophisticated lighting scheme isn’t disruptive when it comes to installation. Plug and play technology has made it easier than ever to fit clever kitchen lighting, and it’s suitable for all budgets, too. In many cases, you don’t even need a qualified electrician to fit it. Our Loox and Flex Lighting systems, for example, can be managed via an app – something that is familiar to anyone with a smartphone, so customers will see LED lighting as accessible and easy to use, rather than complicated."

Accent lighting is the ideal solution to highlight different features within a room, pendant lighting looks great over a kitchen table, island, while LED strip lighting can transform everything from plinths, handleless cabinets, worktops and splashbacks.

Ropunkt’s Industrial Style K black glass overhead unit is available with either a 20mm or 50mm Matt Black frame and smart-ready LED lighting as standard. The Loft Oak Industrial Style K black glass doors feature an industrial frame, chimney glass and Venice lighting to create a run of cabinetry, with functional but stylish task lighting

Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt, agrees: "Kitchen designers need to become lighting experts too – both decoratively and operatively. Leading manufacturers are supporting this with products that are reactive and practical so that LED options can ride the line between task and ambient lighting. We're finding that integrated smart lighting is really taking off as end users enjoy the freedom to control their home with their voice using personal virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri. Premium manufacturers have now made this process even easier by incorporating long-life, energy efficient smart-enabled LED lighting into glass cabinets as standard to enhance the overall look and feel of a kitchen space."

It’s vital to discuss lighting with the customer at the very beginning of a kitchen project to fully optimise the potential of task, ambient and overhead lighting to create an inviting atmosphere in the kitchen space.

Franke’s Mythos 90cm full light ceiling hood features a full panel with five levels of tunable white LED lighting to provide the optimal combination between a ceiling hood and a light fitting. It can be adjusted to create ambient or task lighting and is operated via a remote control

Jo Sargent, sales and marketing director at Franke UK, explains. "When advising customers on kitchen lighting, it's important for retailers and designers to highlight the role of extractor hoods within the overall lighting scheme. Extractors are more than a functional element in a kitchen design, particularly with islands being so prevalent now; they occupy a prime position over the island unit and provide a role in providing both task and ambient lighting.

"For example, our Mythos Full Light ceiling hood offers a combination of a ceiling hood and a light fitting. Its tunable white LED lighting with adjustable levels can be moved between ambient and task lighting as required, while at the same time providing powerful yet discreet extraction."

Customers will need at least three circuits and probably more for a larger open plan space. Lighting experts recommend having overhead ambient, task, and accent lighting on separate circuits to allow the customer to easily create different lighting scenes.

This kitchen designed by Multiliving by Scavolini provides the ultimate solution for task lighting installing energy efficient LED strip lighting under wall-mounted cabinetry illuminating the worktop beautifully

Brani Hadzhi, head of design at Multiliving by Scavolini, says: "Overhead lighting, such as ceiling-mounted or recessed fixtures, are essential for providing overall illumination and setting the tone of the space. However, it can create harsh shadows. Therefore, it is essential to have task lighting to illuminate specific work areas and ensure that customers have enough light to work efficiently without straining their eyes."

She adds: "The most popular type of task lighting is under-cabinet lighting, with energy-efficient LED strip lights illuminating the worktop below, providing better visibility for tasks. But importantly lighting needs to be versatile so it is a good idea to install pendant lights with dimmer switches. These allow people to adjust the brightness of the lights to create different moods depending on the occasion."

The newest generation of integrated cabinet and shelf lighting now come with gesture and voice control allowing the customer to easily manage a layered lighting scheme without the confusion of multiple switches.

Novy has developed a Designer Lighting Collection – a range of minimalist contemporary lighting products designed to complement its ceiling hoods and vented hobs that retailers can display and sell in their showrooms.

Novy’s pendant linear suspended lamp with top and base lighting designed for kitchen islands available from 90cm to 300cm widths shown with the Novy SHELF Pro that has smart sensors across the length of the shelf for the beam to be located where it is needed using gesture-controls

A growing trend is to illuminate island units as customers look to add customised design elements to their kitchens. HIMACS worked closely with Stuttgart-based furniture maker to achieve backlighting for this bespoke kitchen unit.

This backlit island from HIMACS is a stunning example of craftsmanship made from Emerald, a translucent material from their Lucent Collection. The counter’s lower inner structure comprises large steel tubes that can be seen when backlit, and a base made of powder-coated blue steel

Tags: kitchens, features, lighting, masterclass kitchens, häfele

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