Homeowners building or remodeling their kitchens can choose from a variety of kitchen lighting fixtures. Knowing the pros and cons of each may help in the decision making process.
Also known as can lights because of their cylindrical shape, recessed lighting is set into the void between the ceiling and attic or floor above. The lighted open end of the cylinder is flush with the ceiling. Recessed lighting can provide a broad beam of light. Use multiple lights spaced over work and dining areas for optimal benefit.
Pro: Can provide a wide beam of light.
Con: The bulb is visible and can be bothersome if lying down.
Flush lighting is attached to the ceiling and includes lighting immediately beneath the ceiling (sometimes called surface lights), hanging lights where the light is suspended from a flush-mount, and track lightning.
Surface light fixtures set immediately beneath the ceiling and may have one or more bulbs that are covered with a domed shade up to 12 inches tall; or the surface light may be a rectangular box that projects about 6 inches from the ceiling and uses fluorescent tube bulbs.
Hanging lights include chandeliers and pendants. A chandelier will have multiple lights and a pendant light will have a single light. Both lighting fixtures are suspended by a chain or cord from a flush ceiling mount. In most instances, the bulbs of chandeliers point upward while the bulbs of pendants point downward.
Track lights consist of a bar in a straight or wavy line from which lights are attached. The lights can be located anywhere along the track to provide light where it is most needed. The lights can also be angled to direct a beam of light to a desired point of interest or work area.
Pro: Flush lighting can be an inexpensive way to illuminate a kitchen.
Con: Flush lighting can cause shadows. For instance, when someone is facing the cabinets with the light source above/behind them, they will cast a shadow on the countertop work area.
Lighting can be added to the underside, inside or top of cabinets. The lighting may be single points of lights, flexible LED strips, or fluorescent tube lighting in shallow boxes.
Pro: Under cabinet lights illuminate countertop work areas where overhead lighting may not reach. Lighting inside glass door cabinets can illuminate crystal or decorative china. Lighting on top of cabinets can provide sufficient night time lighting.
Con: Halogen lights are hot; a cooler alternative, xenon, is available but is more expensive. The lighting system also requires a power pack, adding to the high cost of cabinet lighting.
A small lamp that matches the décor of the kitchen can be used to illuminate under cabinet areas.
Pro: The lamps can be inexpensive and as simple as an electric candle with shade.
Con: The light display is limited.