Sunday, May 4, 2014

How to Choose the Best Lights for Your Kitchen

The installation of efficient and ample lighting is a key element of any kitchen remodeling project. Unfortunately, homeowners and kitchen remodeling professionals alike often overlook lighting in favor of the big-ticket renovations: new floors, appliances, and cabinets.

The result? Too many homeowners toil away in dim kitchens with inefficient lighting. To avoid this problem, of course, you must prioritize lighting from the beginning of your project. At MKBD, we understand: proper lighting is a crucial element of a well-designed kitchen layout. We recommend installing kitchen lights with your full-scale kitchen renovation.

Like floors, appliances, and cabinets, the kitchen remodeling industry offers seemingly endless lighting options. To narrow your choices, we suggest focusing on lighting that is both fashionable and functional.

Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the lights! It simply does not make sense to spend your entire remodeling budget solely on big-ticket items. Lights might not be your biggest expense (thankfully), but they might just be your most strategically important expense.

So save some money for the lights.

And if you're looking for knowledge, check out MKBD's illuminating tips below!

For this Bucks County project, MKBD installed multiple layers of light (from recessed lights to elegant pendants and more) to illuminate each aspect of the new kitchen.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lights should provide the bulk of lighting for your kitchen, so the strategic placement of recessed lighting is a crucial design element. To illuminate all prep and cooking areas, professional kitchens might employ an abundance of bright recessed lights, but a home kitchen requires a degree of subtly. To avoid the industrial feel of a professional kitchen space, opt for several strategically-placed recessed lights instead of one larger light.

In the above MKDB project, the homeowner chose to install recessed lights directly over the center of the cooking action: the oven and surrounding prep space. We love this choice. We routinely advise new customers to consider a similar lighting option.

Of course, you'll want to adequately light your prep and cooking areas. Yet perhaps you'd also like the ability to soften the lights for entertaining. If you wish, you can control the intensity of recessed lights by installing a dimmer.

Recessed lights do not add appreciable expense to a kitchen remodeling project. However, just remember, since the lights are so high, you might need to purchase a ladder or stool to change the bulbs! Unless, of course, you're this guy.

Pendant Lights

The above kitchen also utilizes elegant pendant lights. Low-hanging pendant lights can contribute a relaxed contemporary feeling to your space. As such, they're best reserved for your kitchen's entertainment zone: the bar (as in the example above); or perhaps the kitchen island.

When searching for pendant lights, you might become bewildered by the options. At MKBD, we guide our clients to simple, yet elegant pendant lighting solutions that utilize unobtrusive cables to anchor the lights to the ceiling. If you're feeling more extravagant, however, you might choose a chandelier-style light anchored to the wall with decorative chains.

For this MKBD project, we installed three beautiful pendant lights over a granite counter meant for serving drinks and entertaining.

Cabinet Lights

Cabinet lights can provide subtle enhancements without appreciably changing the lighting scheme of the kitchen. They also function perfectly as "night lights" for those who like to sneak to the kitchen for a midnight snack.

In most home supplies stores, cabinet lights are generally referred to as "under-cabinet" or "above-cabinet."

Under-cabinet lights softly illuminate your counter-top cooking areas. You might install overhead lights above your cooking areas for broad illumination, but under-cabinet lights can offer a more precise spot of light for the tedious (or joyous, depending on your view) work of peeling and chopping onions.

Above-cabinet lights create an extra layer of light on your kitchen wall or ceiling. By softly illuminating certain aspects of the space, above-cabinet lights can enhance the warmth and beauty of a kitchen. 

AT MKBD we often use the same fixtures for both under-cabinet lights and above-cabinet lights—both provide similar enhancements to different elements of the kitchen.


If you're planning to remodel your kitchen, talk to the experts first. MKBD is currently offering a FREE Kitchen remodeling estimate, FREE design, and FREE custom layout to all new customers.

Let's talk lights, and more!

Call now! 215-355-4747 or visit us online at 

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