Kitchen Lighting – Ambient, Task, and Accent

While good lighting can enhance any room, it’s particularly helpful in the kitchen. Poor lighting can make it difficult to navigate or work in your kitchen. It can also be dangerous, especially if you’re using sharp utensils, handling portable appliances, or working near flames or hot surfaces. If you’re eating or entertaining in your kitchen, the right lighting can enhance the mood and make the experience even more enjoyable.

There are three main types of lighting to consider: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Combining these three types will give your kitchen the optimum illumination.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is also known as general lighting. It provides overall illumination to the room. Some ambient light can be gained naturally from the sunlight that shines through your windows, but overhead light is also important.

Flush and semi-flush mount lights are popular choices for overhead light. Flush mount lights are mounted to the ceiling, while semi-flush mount lights feature a small gap between the light and the ceiling. Recessed lights are also an option. These lights, also known as “can” lights, are located within openings in the ceiling. Track lighting is another way to go. In track lighting, light fixtures are placed along a track that’s mounted to the ceiling. These lights can be moved and adjusted.

Task lighting

Task lighting is more focused than ambient lighting. It provides direct illumination to areas where you’ll be working. In a kitchen, these areas include countertops, islands, and sinks.

Under-cabinet lights provide light to the countertop area. Puck lights, which are small round or oval light fixtures, are common under-cabinet lights. Recessed lights can also be used under cabinets.

Islands and tables also benefit from task lighting. One way to light these areas is with pendant lights. Pendant lights are ornamental fixtures that hang from the ceiling. They are typically suspended from the ceiling by chains, cords or other similar objects. They come in a large variety of shapes, designs, and colors, so they can add a decorative touch to your kitchen.

There are other kitchen areas where light can be directed as well. The sink can be illuminated by recessed lights, for example, and the range can be illuminated by a range hood.

Kitchen Lighting - Task Lighting - Stainless Steel Kitchen - Futuro Futuro Streamline Island Range Hood

Kitchen Lighting – Task Lighting – Stainless Steel Kitchen – Futuro Futuro Streamline Island Range Hood

Accent lighting

Accent lighting highlights specific items in your kitchen, such as artwork, plate collections, and plants. You can achieve this with track lighting by focusing the light fixtures on the items you’d like to spotlight. Accent lighting is also a great way to showcase a special backsplash. The following example is a close-up of a kitchen project by BeautifulRemodel.com, in which the polished stainless-steel tiles are glowing with the light of the undercabinet LED strip. The twin cylindrical “Jupiter” range hoods by Futuro Futuro illuminate the cooktop with 6 bright halogen lights. For a complete breakdown of this remodel, visit the post “Kitchen Design Case Study: Contemporary Kitchen with Zebra Wood Cabinetry“.

Kitchen Lighting - Accent Lighting - SV Kitchen by BeautifulRemodel

Kitchen Lighting – Accent Lighting – SV Kitchen by BeautifulRemodel

Some lighting arrangements can perform a mix of functions. Undercabinet light strips are a great way to accent the backsplash and countertop, but also dispel shadows under the cabinets, letting the chef use the entire counter space for storage, preparation, and cool-down. In the following photo, an LED lightstrip shows off the dramatic texture of the wallpaper, while illuminating the countertop and sink area. The Murano Collection “Snow” range hood by Futuro Futuro adds focused lighting for the cooktop, as well as casting a soft glow on the upper backsplash.

Kitchen Lighting - Task Lighting - Contemporary Kitchen - Futuro Futuro Murano Snow Range Hood

Kitchen Lighting – Task Lighting – Contemporary Kitchen – Futuro Futuro Murano Snow Range Hood

Your kitchen lighting can be further enhanced with a dimmer switch. When you’re cooking, you may want bright light that lets you clearly see what you’re doing. On the other hand, when you’re entertaining guests or relaxing in the kitchen, you may want softer light. With a dimmer switch, you’ll always have just the right amount of light in your kitchen.

Light plays a big role in how your kitchen looks and feels. With the right lighting, your kitchen will be safe, fun, and easy to use.

 
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Home Design Ideas: “Flying” Designer Shelves

While browsing some cool designer kitchens, we came across this little gem – a simple change to the shape of bookshelves that produces a dynamic effect, making what could have been a boring piece of furniture into a design statement that reminds one of a Formula 1 racecar.

Designer Shelves - Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves – Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

The Valcucine Riciclantica kitchen is a design-conscious as well as environmentally-conscious masterpiece of advanced technology and Italian design coming together. Valcucine kitchens are in the $ 30,000 – $ 50,000 neighborhood, but the effect of the shelves can be replicated using commonly available materials.

Designer Shelves - Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves – Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves - Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves – Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

This angle showcases the “flying” aspect of the designer shelves.

Designer Shelves - Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves – Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

 

Designer Shelves - Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

Designer Shelves – Valcucine Riciclantica Laminate kitchen

The angled intersections create an interesting visual effect that also makes individual “nooks” just waiting to be populated by bric-a-brac and mementos reflecting the homeowner’s memories.

 
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Elements Of Design: Contemporary Shelving

In the dining area of this contemporary kitchen built by Greenbelt Homes in Austin, TX, the wine glasses are stored in a wall nook that places them within easy reach – and looks good doing it. A deceptively simple change to the traditional shelf layout results in an exciting, updated look that adds to the modernist appeal of this kitchen design.

Instead of running the shelves across the full width of the storage niche, they’re cut off before reaching the opposite wall, in alternate rows, producing a neat effect.

Contemporary Kitchen - Wineglass Storage

Contemporary Kitchen – Wineglass Storage

“Ethridge” project in Austin, TX, by Greenbelt Homes. View more projects & see contact information on Greenbelt’s Houzz profile.

 

 
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New Photos – Professional-Style “Master” Range Hood

The “Master” professional-style designer range hood model from the Italian manufacturer Futuro Futuro is a high-performance kitchen ventilation solution. The dual filters panels (1 horizontal + 1 vertical) create an extended capture area that’s perfect for high-volume cooking.

Like all other Futuro Futuro kitchen range hoods, the “Master” series hoods are made from highest-grade AISI 304 stainless steel, and feature advanced ventilation technology. The powerful yet quiet blower is mounted in the patented Futuro Futuro sound-absorbing chamber, which reduces vibration and noise. Multifunction electronic control panel provides access to convenient features such as delayed shut-off, filter cleaning reminder, and electronic reset. The integrated kitchen tool/towel rack adds to the convenience factor.

Cleaning and maintenance is easy, thanks to the high-grade stainless steel surfaces and lifetime grease filters that are dishwasher-safe.

The “Master” series wall-mount vent hoods are available in 36″ and 48″ widths, with optional 24-dish capacity matching dish rack (with independent lighting) to create a complete gourmet workstation.

“Master” series range hoods are available in the following versions:

Professional style range hood "Master"

Professional style range hood “Master”

The "Master" range hood is easily integrated into cabinetry

The “Master” range hood is easily integrated into cabinetry

 

 

 
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Fiber Cement could be your home’s new favorite siding

When it comes to picking the correct siding finish for your house it’s not always easy to get the correct balance between style, durability, maintenance and most of all affordability. When you pick materials such as wood, stone, brick, vinyl or stucco, then you may end up with only a few of the above options. The only way to achieve all four of these is to go with fiber cement, which is a mix of wood pulp and Portland cement that requires minimal upkeep. It is also rot-, fire- and termite-proof, unaffected by wind or cold, and has the option of a painted look resembling wood clapboards, shingles, stone or brick.

Fiber cement consists of four ingredients: wood pulp which improves the flexibility as well as the resilience, fly ash which acts as a filler, Portland cement which binds the ingredients that contain clay, iron, limestone and last but not least water which dissolves the wood pulp and activates as well as hardens the cement. On average the fiber cement will run you about $1.70 a square foot, which also will depend on the finish, overall size and where you purchased it. However, don’t think of this as an opportunity to do it yourself. It may weigh only about 2.5 pounds per square foot, but due to possible mishandling, it has a tendency to crack – not to mention the specialized tools you would need to cut it as well as nail it, therefore it would be best left to a professional.

fiber_cement_sidding

 

This type of material is very durable and outperforms many of its competitors in a vast range of climates. It is very popular in the western U.S. and areas that are prone to wildfires as insurance companies offer a discount for homes that use fiber cement because of its noncombustible nature, as well as it not being affected by the strong UV radiation if your home is set at a higher altitude. In the South, especially lowland places like New Orleans, termites and fungi may try to invade the dark, moist nooks and crannies of the house – but they will get no nourishment from fiber cement as opposed to other materials! On the East Coast it’s very humid, filled with salty air and accompanied by the bright sunlight. These are the constant challenges of the environment but these challenges have no effect on this particular siding. If it is attached correctly it can withstand wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. A little further north, in New England climates, fiber cement doesn’t become brittle in the cold weather, it easily withstands below-zero temperatures. There’s no need to worry about repairing cracks in the siding after each winter season – fiber cement lowers maintenance costs all year round, but especially in winter.

Fiber Cement siding is available in a stunning variety of textures, finishes, and colors. It can masquerade as wood shingles, complete with minute fiber textures and authentic color, or pretend to be classy stucco with subtle color variations, or imitate aluminum siding, right down to the groove styles. Here are just a few of the many available options:

Fiber Cement Varieties (from ConsolidatedGypsum.ca)

Fiber Cement Varieties (from ConsolidatedGypsum.ca)

 
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