Kitchen Remodel Tips: How to Get Your Lighting Right

As you prepare to tackle your kitchen remodel, the first tip I have is to consider lighting right from the very beginning. Lighting can truly make or break a space, and I don’t want you to spend your time and money creating your dream kitchen and then be disappointed in the end because it doesn’t feel right or complete.

As you make your lighting plan, consider these three things:

  1. Budget
  2. Things You Don’t Like About Your Current Kitchen
  3. How You Plan to Use Your New Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel Lighting Budget

There is no ‘tried and true’ method for setting a lighting budget because it is very dependent on the size of your kitchen and how high end you want your fixtures to be. As a starting point however, when you are doing a complete remodel, I recommend allocating at least 1% of your total construction budget for the electrical and fixtures.

To be sure you use that money wisely, start by pricing out the basics. We’ll get into this detail in a minute, but for now, know that you’ll need recessed lighting and pendants. With the remaining budget, add lighting under, on top of or inside the cabinets and enhance the design of your fixtures.

What Don’t You Like In Your Current Kitchen?

You are remodeling your kitchen for a reason – what is it? While your old kitchen is still in tact, take some time to recognize what lighting you have, and identify what is and isn’t working. Here are some of the most common lighting problems in kitchens I see today:

  1. Not enough task lighting
  2. Too much lighting, specifically recessed
  3. Too many variations in color temperatures
  4. Lack of lighting controls/switches
  5. Not the preferred style

Consider everything from the type of lighting, to the design of the fixtures, to the level of control you have; this will help you define what you want and need in your new kitchen.

How Will You Use the Space in Your New Kitchen?

Identify the activities that will take place in your kitchen; in addition to the standard kitchen tasks of cooking, baking, and meal prep, how do you and your family use this space? Are you entertaining guests or are your kids are doing their homework? Maybe you do your crafts and watch the latest Netflix series, have your morning coffee and read the news, or host neighborhood game nights. Or maybe it is a combination of all the above. How you use your kitchen should influence the lighting.

These are the types of lighting you need to layer to create a functional and beautiful space:

  • Recessed Lighting
    Place these lights in between the island and wall cabinets for general room illumination. Recessed lighting is the foundation that provides the building blocks for the rest of the layers of light, so it’s important to start here and get it right.
  • Pendant Lights
    Bring light down to illuminate sitting, dining and the more intimate conversation and activity areas. Common locations include over the kitchen island, dining table, and even the sink. One caution I have for you as you bring the light source down, make sure to keep the fixtures above the line of sight.
  • Task Lighting
    Light up your work surfaces with task lighting, specifically under the upper cabinets. Use LED lights in these applications to keep the heat down. Other places you can incorporate task lighting is above cabinets and even under the island and cabinets to provide security lighting.

Fixture Style & Design

The final and most fun part of planning your lighting is choosing your fixtures. I’ve pulled a few classic and modern lighting samples to get you thinking about your style and design preferences.

Classic Style Lighting Ideas for your Kitchen Remodel:

Modern Lighting Ideas for Your Kitchen Remodel:

Your options are endless, so let your imagination run wild. At this point in your remodel, your dream kitchen is just a few light fixtures  away from being reality.

My Final Kitchen Remodel Tip: Consider Relying on a Lighting Design Specialist

The experts are here if you need them. Here are a few great instances where a lighting design specialist can be helpful:

  • You’ve got a vision, but are uncertain how to bring it to life
  • You need help finding fixtures that match your style and fit within your budget
  • You want to learn about lighting and make the right choices for your remodel

If you decide to use a lighting design specialist for your kitchen remodel, please consider us. Or, if we can help in any other way, let us know.

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