Kitchen lighting - what are your options?

Here's a scary fact for you - us Britons will each spend, on average, three years in the kitchen through our lifetimes. That's a lot of time and even more cooking, so it's important that you're working in a well-lit environment. However, when it comes to kitchen lighting, there are more options than you can shake your wooden spoon at. With that in mind and to help you along the way, here's a run-down of your choices...

Ceiling lights

This may sound obvious, but in an age where design and technology advances by the second, good old ceiling lights can get left behind. Don't forget them, though, as they will act as your main source of overall light. You can either opt for spotlights dotted across the ceiling, one main central light (with one bulb) or a central light that boasts many bulbs. Spotlights would work well for a larger kitchen that needs light in many places, whilst a smaller kitchen would benefit from a central source.

Under-cabinet lights

Under-cabinet lighting provides a great way to keep your worktops well-lit and also create a soft glow throughout your kitchen area. If you have people over and don't fancy having the harsh light of a ceiling fixture, turning just your under-cabinet lights on can make for a cosy ambiance. You can affix similar lights to back splash areas, too. The actual lights you use will depend on your personal taste. You could opt for a florescent or non-florescent strip light, an LED strip light, LED ropes, round lights or small spotlights. Florescent lights can prove a little harsh and LEDs may require a separate power source, so if it's convenience you're' after, round or spotlights would work best.

Monorail lights

Stylish and functional, monorail systems can create a great centrepiece for a kitchen and provide soft, yet targeted light. They're great for kitchens boasting a modern style and because they are installed via stand-offs, it doesn't matter if your ceiling isn't smooth or level. They are usually low-voltage, too, making them energy efficient. Plus, you can sometimes add more lights to the frame down the line, if you feel you aren't getting enough light in the kitchen.

Cabinet lights

If your kitchen has a lot of dark nooks and crannies, cabinet lights might work well for you. These are small, usually LED-based lights that activate when the door to a cupboard or cabinet is opened. This means they don't use too much energy, but allow you to find what you need easily and quickly. Or, if you have glass-faced cabinets that house special china, crystal or the like, you can use in-cupboard lighting to highlight your wares. This can create a great focal point and help you show off your prizes possessions. Again, they're a source of soft light; perfect for when guests come over.

Lamps

Of course, you can always opt to complement your built-in lighting with regular lamps. These can take up precious worktop space in the kitchen, however if you have a larger kitchen anyway, this won't be an issue. Try finding lamps that suit your existing décor and use energy-saving bulbs to limit the impact the lamps have on your kitchen's electric use - some models can guzzle energy.

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