All rooms should have 3 types of lighting – ambient, task, and accent. In this article and a few to follow we’ll look at a few projects – one per article – and talk about how the 3 types of lighting were achieved in each project.
In this Washington, DC kitchen, above, there are 2 sources of ambient light – daylight and cans recessed into the ceiling with flood lamps. Copious daylight streams in from windows and doors placed on 2 adjacent walls and indirectly through the entryway. Few if any artificial lights are needed during the day. When night comes, the recessed lights are operated by 4 different switches so that you can light only the areas in which you’re working. All the recessed lights are also on dimmers so you can create mood lighting or limit the amount of light as needed. Further, these recessed lights are dimmable fluorescents – savings lots of money and energy over incandescent when operated.
Task lighting is provided by undercabinet lights – mounted near the front of all wall cabinets. We used xenon lights for the undercabinet lights which don’t burn as hot as halogen lights. Since this kitchen was remodeled, you can also buy many different types of LED undercabinet lights which don’t burn hot and are very energy efficient. The outer rows of recessed lights are positioned to provide task lighting as well as ambient lighting. They are just outside the upper cabinets but inside the base cabinets so that they shine directly onto the countertops in front of anyone working at the counters. If they were placed further into the room, they would create shadows on the countertop since they would be shining from behind individuals working at the counters. The hood vent also has LED task lights that illuminate the cooktop.
The accent lighting comes from two custom chandeliers – one over the breakfast table and one over the dining table in the adjacent room. These chandeliers are also outfitted with fluorescent lamps.
With the right mix of lighting you can work more efficiently, feel better, and also create different moods as appropriate to your activities.
All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build