Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lighting your Kitchen

Lighting your kitchen
Making sure your kitchen is efficiently and properly lit is very important. It is absolutely necessary that you have excellent lighting in your kitchen in order to see what you are cooking and preparing. It is recommended that you light your kitchen based on worst-case conditions. This means you should make your decision based on nighttime conditions with no natural light. Here are some key rules to follow:
·        Recessed lighting. It is not decorative, but certainly effective.
·        Light your island! The island should have a pendant light above it. This is also an opportunity to add some creative flair to your space. As an island is a key focal point in a kitchen you can set the tone for how you want your kitchen to feel.
·        Lots of light above the oven, cooktop and prep areas. It is considered bad feng shui to cook and prepare your meals in a poorly lit area. An exceptional amount of light will not only allow for a tastier meal, but a happier you!
Important Areas to Light
·        The range or cook top
·        The sink
·        The island
·        Under the cabinets
·        Kitchen counter
·        Breakfast/dining area

Types of Lighting to Consider
·        Task Lighting
This type of lighting focuses on the specific areas where tasks are being performed. Some examples include the pantry, storage areas, the sink, and under cabinet lighting.
·        Ambient
This type of lighting is used to fill the room with background lighting.  This will set the mood of the space. Sources of this kind of lighting can be either recessed or surface-mounted fixtures.
·        Accent
Accent lighting provides the most dramatic lighting of any featured here. Similar to task lighting, this type of illumination draws attention to specific areas in your kitchen. Unlike task lighting it centers on the kitchen’s aesthetic. Decide on a few features of the kitchen that would benefit from accent lighting, like sentimental objects, pictures, or sculptures, for example. Accent lighting can even be inside your cabinets, shining through glass doors.

·        Decorative
While your accent lighting is drawing attention to other objects you may want to showcase. Decorative lighting is there to show off itself. It is simply there to decorate. This is an opportunity to choose fun pendants over your island or a chandelier over your dining table.

Lighting to avoid
Fluorescent lights do not promote good health.  The constant flickering is not only annoying, but it affects the eyes and nervous system, and can cause hypertension, eyestrain and headaches. They do however provide bright light at a low cost. If you decide that you do need fluorescent lights in your kitchen, use full-spectrum bulbs.

Below are some pictures showing the various types of lighting you can use in your kitchen…

This picture shows some fun decorative pendant lighting over the island. Your eye is immediately drawn to the lights. They are effective because they not only decorate the space, but they set a mood.

This picture is an excellent example of all the different types of lighting you can have in your kitchen. You can see a large, decorative pendant over the island. Accent lighting is placed in the alcove in the ceiling to draw your attention to this architectural detail. The ambient lighting is the recessed lights in the ceiling. Lastly, task lighting is used under the cabinets and on the pantry area.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Kitchen Work Triangle

How do you design a functional kitchen?

One of the most common questions asked when designing a kitchen is, how do you know where to lay everything out? Well there is a concept called the “Kitchen Work Triangle”. The key to an efficient and functional kitchen is the work triangle.  This is the most used concept for kitchen design.
The concept involves spacing apart your 3 main work areas at a reasonable distance. These 3 areas include the sink (prep site), refrigerator (cold food storage) and oven (cooking site).  If you space these work areas too far apart you will subsequently be taking too many extra steps and it can make cooking in the kitchen unpleasant and frustrating.

Here are the basic rules to follow:
·         The distance from one area to the next should be between 4 and 9 feet.
·          The total perimeter of your work triangle ideally should be between 12 and 22 feet and this will vary depending on the size of your kitchen.
·         There should also not be any obstructions in the way of the triangle including islands, cabinets etc.
·         The flow of traffic should not flow through the work triangle. However, with a galley kitchen, unfortunately this is unavoidable.

Other helpful tips…
·         The addition of an island can be helpful in some kitchen layouts as it can minimize the distance of your triangle by adding either the oven or sink to it.
·         You should have a minimum of 3 feet between each side of the island although 4 feet is ideal.
·         Traditionally you should have your sink against a window as this creates a view while you are prepping food. However, this may not be an option so some sinks are placed in an island or countertop that may over look an open space such as a great room.
Here is an example of a successful work triangle. The sink is against the window and there is an appropriate distance between the refrigerator, oven and sink. In this case they have placed the oven in the island to produce a more efficient work triangle.