Stuck when it comes to lighting in your kitchen or bathroom… Darren James answers some of the common questions
What is your number one tip in regard to lighting bathrooms and kitchens?
Lighting needs to be functional and energy efficient so my main rule of thumb / tip is to firstly maximise natural light. That’s where I start and layer the lighting to suit the space from there.
What are some innovations in light bulbs and lighting technology which is changing the way we can illuminate kitchens and bathroom?
LED – their energy efficiency and the lifespan of the light is far superior over other types of bulbs. They do cost a little more but you will save it in the long term but have lower running costs and you will be changing the bulbs less often as they have a greater life span. LED’s are so very versatile – they are available in different colours and brightness levels and can also be put on dimmers. They are also extremely flexible when it comes to design and construction with the ability to go around curves and be concealed
Can you please described what a layered lighting design is, the effect it creates and how people can implement a layered scheme in their kitchen and bathroom?
Ensuring the balance of all three types of lighting (Natural, task and ambient) is key to layering. I always recommend starting with natural lighting then mover through to ambient, task and lastly accent/feature lighting. Always ensure the colour of your ambient/genera and task lighting is closely matched to your natural light as well as the finishes in your space. Consider the colours of your cabinetry, flooring and benchtop surfaces.
Ambient and task lighting ensures the kitchen performs functionally so key work areas (sink, cooktop and prep areas) should be sufficiently illuminated.
How can people make the most of natural lighting in their kitchens and bathrooms? What are the benefits of natural light in these spaces?
The ideal is that your kitchen does not require artificial lighting during day light hours. North facing windows will allow sunlight and natural warmth into the home where as south facing windows will mostly introduce some daylight without the heat effects which is great for homes that are in really warmer climates where cooling a home is more of a priority. Sometimes the orientation of a kitchen is not changeable and in these cases considering the use of appropriate skylights is beneficial. It’s important to considering how the natural light will affect the space in different times of the day.
Lighter coloured interiors i.e. walls and joinery will reflect more light and reduce the level of artificial lighting required.
How can pendants be used in kitchen to create wow factor and quality light?
Pendants have the ability to visually anchor a space and are a great way to have some fun and inject some personality into the design.
Pendants work really well as they act as both task and ambient lighting. They also have the ability to visually anchor the space and are a great way to have some fun and inject some personality into the design.
What should people consider and look for when selecting pendants to hang above benchtops?
So, the first thing is to consider when deciding on the location of your pendant lights is to work out what mood/effect you are trying to create with the pendant? Is it for accent lighting or task lighting?? This will determine not only the location, but the type of fixture and bulb. If the pendant is being hung in the middle of a space (kitchen) then you will need to consider the height of people using the space – this is why you generally require higher ceilings. Pendants can be hang lower over dining or bench area, hence why the island bench or dining area is a favourite spot for hanging pendants.
If you have a large rectangular space / or island bench then you can generally go with more than one light. However, the number of lights is not as important as is the scale / proportion of the pendant to the space. Whether it’s one large oversized pendant, a cluster of lights or even three smaller pendants all in a row, all three will have completely different effects. Think about what mood you would like to create with the pendant. If you are trying to soften the space or create some warm a more natural organic style pendant / fixture such as timber or a woven product might be more suitable than say a concrete pendant.
If you are installing the pendant over a dining area (whether island or table) as a guide I would recommend hanging the light 70 -90cm off the finished bench height – you can go slightly higher or lower depending on the fixture size and what is appropriate for the space. Generally large lights can be hung a little higher and smaller pendants lower. I usually adjust the height to suit the client and the space – keep in mind you don’t want the light shining directly into someone’s eyes. Nor do you want the light blocking the view across the kitchen.
When is it suitable to use a pendant light in the bathroom / what type of pendants are best and where should they be placed?
Pendants are a great way to add personality to a bathrooms space. If you are hanging a pendant over a bath or basin it must be low voltage.
Selecting bulb colour and wattage
What are the options when it comes to bulb colours – warm white – cool white. What effect do the different colours create. What are some tips when selecting bulb colours and wattage?
Lighting generally comes either in warm white, neutral white or cool white and each bulb colour will give the room the different appearance. Always ensure the colour of your ambient/general and task lighting is closely matched to not only your natural light but also the tone and finishes in the room i.e. Cabinetry, wall, floors, benchtops etc. Warmer coloured bulbs render well with warmer tones such as browns and yellows whilst cooler colour lights work better with your cooler colours such as greys and blues. The finishes and gloss level of your surfaces also need to be considered, high gloss surfaces such as benchtops will naturally reflect more light.
Low level lights – kick boards, under cupboards, below island benches
What affect can you create by lighting these areas and what are the best lighting products to use – ie strip LEDS? Can strip lighting in these areas be used in-conjunction with a sensor.
Yes, strip lighting is a great way to highlight a design feature and further define a space. They can certainly be used in conjunction with a sensor which is really beneficial and proves quite functional when entering a space such as a bathroom, stairwell or a kitchen at night.
LED stip lights need to be concealed in a way that you do not see the hot lights bouncing off the floor. It needs be appropriately diffused. Sure you want to see the effect of the light but there is nothing worse than seeing the actual strip light itself.
Hi tech / sensors / lighting apps controls
What are some of the latest innovations in the kitchen and bathroom lighting technology – ie apps to turn lights on and off, special bulbs which change colour etc?
It is now a lot easier to program your lights to suit your smart wiring throughout your home. There are a lot of systems available which enable you to use your smart phone to control your home.
Always ensure the colour of your ambient/general and task lighting is closely matched to your natural light as well as the finishes in your space. Consider the colours of your cabinetry, flooring and benchtop surfaces.