From DT Online
A central pendant light or strip fluorescent light will give good general lighting but the result will be that almost all activities in the kitchen (e.g food preparation, cooking, washing up) will be done in shadow. Wherever any food preparation is taking place (e.g. worktops, sinks and hobs) some direct or task lighting is needed to make sure peeling, cutting, chopping, slicing and cooking can be done safely and without shadows.
Features and Applications
Under-cupboard lighting is ideal for lighting work surfaces because it is well hidden and stops shadows obscuring the worktop. LED lights produce very little heat output which prevents cupboards and food becoming too warm. They can be used either as a continuous strip or individual fittings.
General lighting can be enhanced, especially in kitchens with high ceilings, with up-lighters on the top of kitchen cabinets or Wall lights and this will also reduce the number of down-lights required. Spot lights on lighting tracks can be positioned to illuminate different areas of the space but this should be done to avoid shining in the eyes of someone sat at breakfast bar for example.
If there is an island unit, this could be lit with pendant lamps combined with recessed down-lights and, in the case of a kitchen/diner arrangement a row of pendants over an island could provide a visual divide between dining and kitchen areas.
Open-plan arrangements, such as a kitchen/diner, benefit also from mood lighting to provide a more relaxed ambience and change the atmosphere from a practical preparation zone to a entertaining space. Dining areas should feature warm white LEDs to create an appropriate atmosphere whereas the cool white light needed for work areas might be too harsh. Plinth lighting, especially with LED lighting strip around an island unit or breakfast bar, gives the illusion of floating furniture, which can create a dramatic effect at night.
Feature lighting, such as internally lit glass cabinets or shelf lighting, can combine with mood lighting to enhance the dramatic effect.
For flexibility, it is important that different aspects of lighting (e.g. general lighting, task lighting. mood lighting) are controlled on separate circuits and, where possible, fitted with dimmers. There exists also sensor-operated lights which switch on automatically when someone is present thus avoiding the need to operate switches with wet hands. Drawer and cabinet lighting can also be operated on sensors, such that they come on automatically when the door or drawer is opened.
Regulations require that all electrical work carried out in a kitchen must be certificated by a registered electrician to show that the work has been tested. A kitchen is regarded as a special area due to the proximity of water to electrical sockets. All down-lighters must be fire rated and, to meet energy saving directives, 75% of all lights in a home must be low energy. Kitchen lighting levels should be approximately 400 Lumens for general lighting, increasing to 700 Lumens for task lighting - and even more if the occupant is elderly or partially sighted.