Archive for the ‘Kitchen Lighting’ Category


Hudson Valley Lighting Haverhill Pendant

Scenario: Brand new kitchen.

You chose the most beautiful counter top or island surface with lots of color and drama. You spent more on it than you spent on your first car. It is a dream.
So of course it would be a crying shame, if you could only fully enjoy the beautiful colors and feel of the exquisite materials during the daytime.

So, now the question is: How to light your kitchen surfaces.
For the work areas undercabinet lighting is a great way to light the counters. Pendant lights over the island add the light that is needed for food prep and meals.
Pendants add a atmosphere in comparison to using just recessed lights, and in rooms with high ceilings they bring the light down to a level where it is needed as task lighting.

Please note: You can find all the fixtures you need at Form + Function.

LBL Bonn Pendant-


If you are using good old Edison bulbs in the fixtures over your counter they have a warm tone of light (2700K, as in Kelvin, to be nerdy) that works well with warm colors. This type of light and this color temperature (the 2700K) is what we are all really familiar with. It has a warm tone, makes its surroundings look cozy, inviting, just like candlelight.
Incandescent lighting might, however, not quite have the punch to bring out the colors and pizzazz in your materials.

LBL Volo Pendant -

Halogen provides excellent task lighting and really brings out the sparkle in  granite and many other unique stone surfaces. The clean, white light offers illumination that just can’t be beat by incandescent or fluorescent lamps.
The drawback of halogen under cabinet lighting is the heat it produces. It might actually make the surfaces warm to the touch, not ideal for cooking and entertaining on a hot summer day and therefore most likely will increase the cooling cost.

Fluorescent under cabinet lights have a bad rep.
Most of us still remember the cheap garage lights that flickered and hummed, and made us look sickly.
If you haven’t changed out your fluorescent lights since those old days you are in for a surprise.
Recent advances in the technology of fluorescent lights have made this an excellent option.
The color temperature ranges have improved and so has the CRI (Color rendering index), which measures the the ability of a light source to reproduce colors.
What I like about fluorescent lighting is the even distribution of the light without hot spots. They don’t give off much heat and are energy-efficient.
I am, however, worried about the recycling aspect and the mercury they contain.
Fluorescent under cabinet lights can generally not be dimmed. I don’t see this as a huge turn-off. I’d just get the wattage needed for the workspace based on the distance from the bottom of the cabinet to the work surface and not worry about using them as mood lights. But that’s just me.

Xenon lights are very similar to halogen lights. They do not give off quite as much heat as halogen  but on the other hand they don’t provide quite as bright a light.
Xenon is a a good choice if you are not after the extra sparkle that halogen produces and don’t want the heat produced by halogen..
Another advantage is its longer lifespan. The average Xenon bulbs last 2-1/2 times longer than their halogen counterparts.
One last selling point for Xenon: Xenon bulbs do not require that special handling you are asked to use when you deal with halogen bulbs. It is sometimes tough enough to exchange those tiny bulbs. Now holding onto them with a tissue while contorting yourself under the cabinet light adds to the excitement. We have seen grown men cry!
Xenon bulbs are not this sensitive. You can eliminate that one obstacle from the procedure and just hold them with your bare hands. Yeah.
But, then there’s the sparkle……    Guess, you can’t have it all.

Cool, long lasting, super energy efficient. What is there not to love about LED?
When LED lighting was first introduced into the residential market cove and under cabinet lighting were some of the first applications it was used for.
Well, LED was obviously not where it is now, and the light output was not quite strong enough for other uses in the home. This has of course changed a lot just over the last few years.
LED has so much to offer. The main advantage is the incredible savings in energy and the long life of LED.
Unfortunately many manufacturers jumped on the LED bandwagon without going all the way with their design. A lot of inferior products have hit the market and we now see a lot of LED under cabinet lights with horrible color reproduction, hot spots where you see the reflection of the individual diodes on you counter top, multiple surface shadows, you name it.

But, there are also excellent choices out there like the Tech Lighting Illume. They are expensive, but worth every penny in the long run.

lease note: You can find all the fixtures you need at Form + Function.


The Kitchen as a Gathering Place for Friends


The Kitchen is today’s gathering place for friends and family.

At our house it seems always to be the place where everyone ends up while dinner is being prepared.
No matter how many deep, cozy armchairs the living room has to offer, or how inviting the deck is on a warm summer evening, everyone is leaning against the kitchen counters, glass in hand, making my last minute food preparation a very familiar (and comfortable) dance.

It’s just a fact: the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also usually the busiest room of the house.
Today’s multi-functional kitchen spaces are not only used for cooking, but also for visiting with friends, home work, reading the paper and just relaxing.

Open Kitchen concept, as seen in Boligmagasin. Photo: Lisbett Wedendahl

The kitchen asks for effective lighting at a fairly bright level for tasks as well as decorative lighting to create an inviting, livable space.

Just like in any other living space it is important to create multiple layers of light in the kitchen. Task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting will together create the inviting atmosphere you want.
Try to think about the general feel of your home and continue the color temperature from other areas of the house into the kitchen.

Recessed incandescent downlights can assure even illumination of the kitchen.

Space recessed lights 4’ – 6’ on center and allow about 2.5 – 3 watt per square ft. as a general rule of thumb.

With fluorescent recessed lights allow about 1 – 1.5 watt per square ft.

Tech Lighting Powell Street Pendant

Kitchen counters and other work areas need to be well lit and free of shadows.
Fluorescent or low voltage undercabinet lighting strips provide effective task lighting. If at all possible mount the lights at the front edge of the cabinet.
The lights should, however, be shielded so that you don’t look into bright lights while sitting at the breakfast or dining table.
Fluorescent lighting fixtures are well suited because they are efficient, providing most light for the least cost. They do not put out much heat and they create an even light, and with the newer electronic ballasts, they do not flicker or hum anymore!

Kitchen as seen on Freshome

LED undercabinet lights are very popular now and it’s easy to see why: Super slim in profile LED strips or puck lights can virtually disappear while providing sufficient light for a kitchen counter.
The light quality is improving at a brisk pace, so that there is hope on the horizon that they will soon not only be the most energy conscious choice, but the aesthetic choice as well.

Tech Lighting Fore Pendant in Kitchen by CG&S Design Build

Decorative pendant lights are great for lighting an island  while adding your personal style to the decor.
Depending on the size of the island, two or three pendant lights are usually sufficient.  A dimmer switch allows for bright task lighting for food preparation or homework, while allowing the lights to be lowered for atmosphere.

A Scandinavian Kitchen seen on FresHome

Low voltage lighting illuminates decorative objects and surfaces with a crisp light that can bring out the full range of colors.
Over shiny, black marble surfaces they will create drama, but be aware: they can also create glare.

If you are lighting a kitchen island with a very reflective surface and this is your primary work area, you might want to choose a fixture where the low voltage bulb does not shine directly onto the work area, or even choose a softer light source, like an incandescent or fluorescent fixture.

Pelham Pendant from Hudson Valley Lighting

Please note: Pendant lights over the island should hang just above eye level when you are standing. This allows you to see your guests comfortably. Choose fixtures with decorative bulbs that are meant to show or with diffusers that soften the glare of a naked bulb.

The sink needs good lighting. It is after all the most used area in the kitchen. Recessed downlights or pendants work well if there are no overhead cabinets for undercabinet lighting.

The built-in lighting in the range hood should accommodate at least a 60W bulb.

Two crystal chandeliers as surprise glam elements in a kitchen

A breakfast area is also frequently used for reading, so good overhead light is a must.
Here the decor determines the style: from chandeliers to high-tech flexible track lighting with colorful pendants the choice is yours.

As with dining tables, the light over the breakfast table should hang approximately 30″ above the table so you can see under it when seated and it yet hangs low enough to embrace the area with a warm, inviting glow.

If your kitchen and dining area are within the same open area it is important to have the kitchen lights on a dimmer, so you can focus the eyes on the beautiful dining table and away from the pots and pans used to prepare the dinner.

In a contemporary kitchen, a low voltage monorail with a variety of track heads and colorful glass mini-pendants can curve through the work and dining areas without interruption of design.
The spots can highlight decorative features in the kitchen like a collection of colorful canisters on top of the cabinets at the same time as they provide general, ambient light.

Good general lighting is needed for all casual activities. It permits comfortable clean-up and easy view into drawers. Recessed downlights or fluorescent lighting are good choices.

Flos Fucsia pendant in striking kitchen via

Find some great Kitchen Lighting solutions here. Courtesy of Kichler Lighting.

The days of the single dim overhead kitchen lighting fixture are over!

As with all home lighting, it is important to create multiple layers of light.

Task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting will together create an inviting, livable space.

The ambient layeris the general overhead lighting in a room. Since it usually doesn’t provide sufficient light for specific tasks it is supplemented with other types of lighting, like undercabinet lighting and a pendant over the sink or breakfast nook.

Ambient light by itself can be dull and uninteresting. It provides light, but that’s about it.

Layers of Light work wonders in a Kitchen

It is amazing how the right lighting can bring out the beautiful colors of a countertop, the textures and colors of the tiles or the richness of the wood of your kitchen cabinets.

Recessed lights are a great way to add ambient light to a kitchen.
They have a much cleaner look than surface mounted fixtures and are also a lot less susceptible to grease and moisture from cooking.

It is a common mistake just space recessed lights evenly throughout the space. Recessed lights can be positioned so that they highlight beautiful wood cabinets or kitchen countertops while providing general light.

Task lighting helps making the kitchen a functional workplace.

Kitchen counters and other work areas need to be well lit and free of shadows. Fluorescent or low voltage undercabinet lighting strips provide effective task lighting.

Fluorescent lighting fixtures are well suited because they are efficient, providing more lumens per watt. They do not put out much heat and they create an even light, and with the newer electronic ballasts, they do not flicker or hum anymore!

Kichler Pella Pendant Low voltage lighting dims more easily and lights decorative objects and surfaces dramatically. They bring out the full spectrum of colors of your beautiful granite counters.
Be aware: over shiny, black surfaces they will create drama, but: they can also give off a lot of glare if not positioned or shielded properly.

An important little point to pay attention to is the use of low voltage pendants in a kitchen that is REALLY used for cooking. Cooking grease and low voltage connections don’t mix well. With a downdraft range without a hood I found out the hard way! But moving the fixture just a few feet away from the cooktop took care of the problem.

In our showroom we have several LED strips on display. They all have beautifully slim profiles and provide an amazing amount of light with very few watts.
Please note that there is a huge difference between cheap LED strips or pucks and the quality brands we carry, like Tech Lighting,  WAC, Kichler and American Lighting.

A friend of mine just proudly showed off her Western style kitchen with beautiful cabinetry, but once she turned on the in-cabinet puck lights, she had bought for $6.95 at a local hardware store the entire place took on a sickly hue.

I’m all for saving energy, but not for the cheap shortcuts that don’t do the job they promise to do.  -  Lette Birn, owner of Form + Function.
LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” It is a lighting technology that is extremely energy-efficient and long-lasting.
The initial cost is more expensive than incandescent, but the light bulbs last over 60,000 hours. That’s nearly seven years of continuous, cool-burning light.

With lots of serious research going into this sector products are improving practically on a daily basis and there are already LED lights out there with a pretty good color quality for residential use.

Undercabinet Lights by Kichler Lighting

Accent Lighting adds dimension and depth to the space. A very effective way of adding accent light is installing small fixtures inside your glass cabinets to spotlight your favorite china, bowl collection, or delicate glassware.

You can also highlight artwork or beautiful tile work with spotlighs, like off a track or monorail.  As a bonus this will give you added accent light for the entire room.

Bendable Monorail lighting, which is a modern twist on traditional track lighting allows you attach different individual lights to one long, curving track. You can easily combine ambient, focal and decorative lights on a monorail. Direct the beams of track heads to highlight your collection of beautiful baskets on top of your kitchen cabinets or some colorful prints on the wall.

Drop a couple of pendant over your kitchen island and the sink to provide task lighting as well as a cheerful splash of color.

Even though recessed lights do a nice job of illuminating a space there is something special about mid-level task lighting. Bringing light down to your level with a pendant or even a chandelier adds not only much-needed direct task light, but interest and charm to the entire room.

Track lighting is often used in kitchens, but usually it is being asked to do too many tasks at once and therefore ends up failing miserably at all of them.
The most common mistake is that the track is positioned wrong, in the center of the space. This way, when the track heads are aimed at the kitchen work surfaces, you inevitably have the light in your back, creating a shadow on the kitchen counter.

If track is to be used as task lighting for a kitchen counter it should be placed approximately 40” away from the cabinets.

The days of the single dim overhead kitchen lighting fixture are over! A
As with all home lighting, it is important to create multiple layers of light.

Task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting will together create an inviting, livable space.

Kitchen Lighting by Day and by Night

How much light is needed in a kitchen?

It depends on the size. If it’s less than 100 square feet, a 2-light decorative fluorescent fixture is fine.

Larger kitchens up to 250 feet will need a 4-light fluorescent fixture. Over 250 square feet will need 4-light plus additional supplemental lighting.

Undercabinet lighting is always appropriate for task lighting of work surfaces. (Courtesy of Kichler Lighting.)


Hubbardton Forge 18-768 pendant via


Warm Contemporary Kitchen via Boligmagasin


Unique Kitchen Design via Apartmenttherapy Daniel Lowe HouseTour


Exposed Bulb Fixtures in Kitchen via


Kitchen with warehouse pendants via Apartmenttherapy

Hudson Valley Lighting Haverhill pendant via


Kitchen with Vintage Warehouse Shade

Kitchen as seen on the blog Full House