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CONDUIT 1: Home Lighting - Lighting for the Kitchen

10-04-2015

Writing for The Conduit

The Conduit is a local free magazine produced in Sherborne and features all things Sherbornian.
A short series of articles produced for local consumption, but - thanks to the all-reaching internet - available to everyone.

Here's the text:

Welcome to a new series of articles talking about lighting for the home. For the next few months I’ll be taking a look at those rooms where lighting most often goes astray. This month: the Kitchen.

 It doesn't matter whether you're turning out gourmet offerings or TV dinners on a tray – your kitchen is a workshop and you need to be able to see what you're doing. Of course, it may also be your pride and joy and the centre of your family and social universe, so there’s a bit more to it than just satisfying the practicalities.

For the most part, we light our homes from a decorative standpoint and hope that some practical use comes out of it once that stray button needs to be sewn back on. And if we can't see to thread he needle, it’s simply a case of moving closer to a table lamp, or shifting the lamp closer to us. In this way, we muddle through. Kitchens are rarely so forgiving, and that is why it’s the functionality that matters. I always ask that clients bear that in mind in your kitchen planning; let the fancy stuff come afterwards.

So - keep it simple; whether you’re peeling and chopping, kneading and rolling or opening a bag of crisps, you want to be able to see what you’re doing. One of the biggest lighting disasters of recent years has been the indiscriminate use of downlights. Peppering the ceiling, they often achieve nothing more than highlighting the floor behind you – leaving you in deep shadow. That’s not how it’s meant to work; light should always fall between you and the things that you're working on (with that very sharp knife!). And that’s why I’m a great believer in under-cupboard lighting above worktops or lighting in the ceiling if there’s nothing above the worktop.

Island units and peninsula units are very popular and present their own issues. There’s a risk here that the decorative imperative takes over and you choose a very nice pendant fixture that looks very nice in the showroom or on the website. But please remember that these mid-floor units might still have a job to do. I suggest that you hold back on your decorative styling until you know what the lighting is being asked to do. Then, with luck, you’ll be able to match functional lighting with a very nice decorative fixture – and everyone will be happy. But you’ll be the happiest because you can now see to de-seed that pepper.

On the other hand, if your kitchen is of the 'galley' variety, then you may struggle to find room for more than one or two fixtures. In which case, make sure that you go for a fixture that splashes its light all around the room, reflecting off as many light-coloured surfaces as you can create, so generally making itself as effective as possible. And don't feel obliged to have the fixture in the centre of the ceiling. If your kitchen layout is such that you work all around the room, then a central location may be the most practical, but many kitchens work with one run of work surface - so why not give your lighting pattern some emphasis by moving the lighting to that side - it won’t mean that the other side of the room ends up being plunged into darkness; it’ll just mean that you get the best of the working illumination.

Click below to read the article in the magazine itself.

 

 

 

And if you'd like to read more about lighting for the Kitchen, please visit my Home Lighting Consultant blog pages HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Bullock Lighting Design
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