Dramatic Kitchen Lighting Can Make A Big Difference
Cooler weather brings many cooks back indoors and into the comfy, old kitchen. All the nicked cabinets and dark corners that were forgotten during the outdoor cooking season are still there and seem to stand out more than ever.
Small wonder that fall is a popular time to start thinking about remodeling that old kitchen.
Home owners know that money invested in the kitchen is one of the best ways to improve the value of a house or apartment. Kitchen remodeling projects continue to provide hefty returns at the time of a home sale.
The 2006 Cost vs. Value Report, published by Remodeling magazine, shows that home owners recoup 80.4% of the average $54,200 they spend on major kitchen projects, and get back 85.2% of the average $17,928 spent on minor projects.
Don't let those figures throw you. You may be thinking to yourself, "That's all well and good, but I don't have that kind of money to spend on a kitchen remodel right now." If that's the case, don't count yourself out just think on a smaller scale.
You can make some dramatic changes in the kitchen just by focusing on recent trends. A good place to start is by taking a long, hard look at your kitchen lighting.
If you have an older home that has not yet been updated, chances are you have a single ceiling mount fixture in the center of the room that doesn't provide much light or focuses a bright glare in the center of the room. Not the best design for trying to work in the kitchen. If you're lucky, you may have another one over the sink which helps with cleaning dishes, but not much else. Why not upgrade with options that offer more direct light?
These days in home remodels, designers are replacing the old center fixtures with recessed cans and pendants. These options can be placed anywhere a busy cook needs bright lights. They offer more direct task lighting in the kitchen. Kitchen remodeling can also include installing undercabinet lights to highlight the countertops and toe lighting to accentuate the cabinets.
These small changes can make a big difference in the look and feel of your kitchen and make cooking a whole lot easier.
Undercabinet and toe lights are easy to add. All you have to do is tap into the wiring for the outlets that already exist along the wall. In homes with no attic access above the kitchen, however, the cost of installing recessed cans can be a turnoff, but as Norm Brown of Norburn Lighting & Bath Centre in Burnaby, B.C., points out, "You can get around this limitation by instead installing a rail system on the ceiling that allows you to add light fixtures anywhere in the room."
Among the many options these systems offer, the ability to drop pendants over an island and spotlights onto the counters, art or china, all without cutting holes in the ceiling. They are available in a variety of materials and finishes so there's something that will match just about any decor.
And when it comes to the fixtures, Paige Malouche of Progress Lighting in Greenville, S.C., says there is a lot of mixing and matching of designs. "These days, we're seeing people with what you'd consider to be a traditional kitchen putting in modern lighting fixtures. A popular trend is to hang bronze or brightly colored pendants from track and illum-flex systems," she says.
"There are so many fixtures available it has really turned into a fashion
show," adds Monty Gilbertson, CLC
of Lighting Design by Wettsteins in La Crosse, Wis. "There's clean contemporary, decorative ornamental, pretty much any look you can imagine, and if you want to take it a step further and address intensity and mood lighting, this can be done by adding dimmers to the fixtures you install."
For more information on lighting,
visit www.americanlightingassoc.com or call (800) BRIGHT IDEAS for your nearest showroom. Credit: www.newscanada.com
More kitchen lighting ideas around the Web:
Light Up Your Kitchen
- From This Old House, a good intro to upgrading kitchen lighting that includes Lighting suggestions, track lights, undercabinet lighting and where to find the parts to get the job done.