The way we design our kitchens has changed drastically over the last several decades. And why not? Our lives have changed pretty dramatically, especially throughout the last (nearly) 2 years when the pandemic brought things to a screeching halt and we found ourselves spending more time in our homes – and in our kitchens – than ever before. Gone were long days at the office, replaced by hours spent working at computers atop the kitchen island or preparing meals that we normally would have eaten at a restaurant.
As such, kitchen lighting trends have changed as well. It’s no longer about flicking one switch, which triggers one great big fluorescent light on the ceiling. Lighting is different now and – we think – better than ever.
Task or zone lighting
Because the kitchen is no longer a one-task area where we simply cook and then eat, we now look at lighting a little differently than before. Many of us now divide our kitchen into zones or task areas – the place where the kids do their homework, the spot where the adults work, the table where everyone joins together to eat. As such, we’re tending towards several smaller lighting fixtures instead of one central fixture. Pendant lights have become very popular for work areas, for example, while sconces add more subtle illumination to spots where we want to sit for a quiet meal or a post-work glass of wine.
Lights that are hidden under your cabinets and shine on your countertops are ideal for food preparation areas. With direct lighting shining on the counter, you can slice veggies, read recipes, and do other prep tasks with much better light than what you’d receive from an overhead fixture.
Under-cabinet lighting also makes for great mood lighting. Since it’s indirect, it’s warm and subtle and can be great for cocktail parties and other gatherings where guests tend to hang out in the kitchen.
Track lighting has been around for a while but it still remains popular. The reason why is two-fold. First of all, you can position the lights whichever way you wish, and making a change in the position is simple. When used with LED bulbs, track lights are also extremely energy efficient and will reduce your electric bill compared to other fixtures.
In addition, track lighting is also very minimally invasive, so to speak. With fixtures sitting close to the ceiling, they become almost invisible, which is preferred in some kitchen designs. But they can also be very interesting to the eye, crafted from different materials and in different shapes and sizes.
While some homeowners opt for subtle, many are now going in the opposite direction, especially regarding the area of the kitchen where everyone gathers to eat. If you have a separate eating area in your kitchen, consider a statement piece above the table. It can be a classic crystal chandelier or a much more modern sculptural fixture that’s ideal for the contemporary kitchen. It may wind up being your favorite fixture in the entire house and could surely be an attention getter as you begin to gather again with friends and family.
Natural and raw materials
More and more, homeowners are looking for natural, serene fixtures for their kitchens. That means passing on the plastic stuff and looking for fixtures that are made of materials such as brass, copper, clear glass, cork, leather, and even bamboo or raffia. These humble materials are ideal for a variety of kitchen styles, from pretty Country French to industrial-designed rooms with hard edges and monochromatic tones.
Of course, we can’t forget to add technology to the mix. While smart lighting isn’t a style, it is indeed a trend…and there are many advantages to using smart technology in your kitchen.
The first is aesthetics. With smart lighting that can be controlled from your phone or computer, you can rid your walls of all those ugly switches. Chances are you have one for at least one for every group or zone of lights. Instead, smart lighting keypads usually provide six to eight push buttons on one pad and take up only a small spot on your wall.
The second, of course, is function. You can preset lighting levels according to your needs and activities. For example, if you only use the eating area in the morning, you can program the lights so that only the fixture above the table comes on when you get up in the morning. In the evening when you normally prepare dinner, the lights can be programmed to come on at full intensity. The options are endless and you’ll find that pre-programming lowers your electric bill as well.
At Stapleton Electric, we’re familiar with all the new kitchen lighting trends, from conventional fixtures to the latest in smart technology, and we’re eager to help you organize the lighting in your kitchen to fit your needs and your own personal style. For more information, call us at 778-985-9395.