The Right Way to Light a Kitchen

kitch light It turns out that old-school lighting theory doesn’t work so well in practice. Here are some more effective kitchen lighting solutions.

The Right Way to Light a Kitchen

It turns out that old-school lighting theory doesn’t work so well in practice. Here are some more effective kitchen lighting solutions

Architect Doug Walter shows how to light a kitchen correctly

For too many years, the advice about kitchen lighting given by people who should know better has been to place the can lights out in the aisles of the kitchen. This looks nice on the plans, but it keeps the people working in the kitchen in the dark.

I prefer to locate can lights closer to the upper cabinets, where they deliver three or four times as many foot-candles to the work surface. That’s not a guess—I’ve measured it both ways.

Unfortunately, the old theories are still being taught these days. But now you know there’s a better way.

A: A great idea …

Just last year I attended an industry event at a lighting showroom where a representative from a major lighting manufacturer recommended lighting kitchens based on a sketch like the one at right. The reasoning here is that the overhead light should not hit the upper cabinets (horrors!), but should neatly fall just below them, where it joins with the undercabinet lighting to bathe the counter with a workable number of foot-candles (fc).

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