Today’s kitchen is much more than a place to cook. The kitchen can be a gathering place for a crowd or a quiet place to prepare and eat an intimate meal. Kitchen lighting, therefore, needs to be as inviting as it is functional. On this page, you will see a range of fixtures that help you create the ambience you want, while properly displaying the natural colors of foods, and providing you with the work light you need.
Under-cabinet lighting provides direct illumination of kitchen work surfaces. Under-cabinet fixtures are out of sight and positioned to minimize shadowing on countertops. ENERGY STAR under-cabinet fixtures usually use thin-diameter fluorescent tubes that use only about one quarter the electricity of halogen or incandescent bulbs and last much longer.
Recessed ceiling fixtures provide both accent and task lighting. These fixtures commonly come with incandescent bulbs, so they use more energy, generate more heat, and cost more to operate than ENERGY STAR CFLs. Not all ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs are appropriate for recessed fixtures. Make sure the ones you use are labeled “Suitable for use in enclosed fixtures.” When you install new fixtures, upgrade to ENERGY STAR qualified recessed fixtures.
Additionally, while not recommended, if recessed fixtures are to be installed in an insulated ceiling, make sure that they are air-tight and indicate they are “Washington State-approved” or “IC” rated for insulation contact. This will be both safer and more energy efficient.
Traditional ceiling domes and elegant close-to-ceiling fixtures, provide general, indirect lighting from a central location. Complement these light sources with task lighting that targets high-use areas like countertops or sinks.
Hang pendant fixtures over high-use areas, like a table or breakfast nook. To control glare, hang a lamp above either side of a high-use area. To minimize shadows, avoid locating hanging fixtures too near cabinets or in areas that will cast light on the back of a person working in the kitchen.
If constructing a new home or undertaking significant renovations, talk to your builder or contractor about designing and building light fixtures that blend into your home’s architecture. Linear fluorescent fixtures can be built into spaces above cabinets, into exposed beams or behind decorative valances to create exactly the appearance and atmosphere you want, with excellent energy-efficiency. Because architectural lighting is built on-site, you won’t find an ENERGY STAR. Ask for energy efficient linear fluorescent fixtures with “T8” lamps and electronic ballasts for high quality lighting at an affordable price.