The right lighting dramatically affects the mood and ambiance of your home. It can make you more comfortable, relaxed and productive. And while there are no set rules, most designers agree that you need more than one source of light in a room. 

When it comes to lighting, there are many different options to choose from. Many serve a specific purpose, depending on the function of the room. It’s essential to consider lighting design at the planning stage to achieve the best possible results. Incorporating a degree of flexibility will also allow you to adapt the lighting to suit your lifestyle.

With lighting, you have an opportunity to completely transform the look and feel of your interiors. We’re going to focus on our particular areas of expertise—the kitchen and bathroom.

Kitchen lighting

The kitchen is traditionally one of the most difficult rooms to get right, full of awkward nooks and crannies. Increasingly, the kitchen has become one of the main entertaining spaces in the home—and many of them open plan—which happily, makes them easier to light. Lighting can be used in the kitchen to create separate functional areas, as well as to alter mood and feel. 

Related reading: What to Consider When Remodelling Your Kitchen.

A good kitchen lighting system has three components: general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. General lighting might include ceiling lamps, spotlights or recessed downlights—the latter are ideal for achieving a clean, minimal look. Food preparation zones will require bright task lighting, such as counter and cabinet lights, for clear visibility—directing light to where you need it most. Meanwhile, accent lighting can be used to set the mood; try fitting statement pendants with a dimmer switch for maximum versatility.

contemporary kitchen fitting oxford
Featured: LED downlights in the ceiling, halogen lighting built into the extractor above the oven, squirrel cage filament bulbs used over the breakfast bar.

LEDs are a staple of modern kitchen design, being both low-maintenance and energy-efficient. Experiment with brightness and colour temperature—you may want to go for different options in different zones. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, wall lights work well, especially if there isn’t much natural light. Aim for higher and brighter lighting to offer maximum coverage. 

Bathroom lighting

A poorly lit bathroom can be a dismal way to start each day. Modern bathrooms are multi-operational areas, used for both functional tasks and relaxation. While general ceiling lights will usually provide enough ambient light, they aren’t ideal for day-to-day grooming tasks. As with kitchen lighting, multiple light sources will do a much better job of bringing your bathroom to life.

Bathrooms need the ability to move from bright light to soft mood light across the day. You will also need to consider IP ratings, which must comply with the latest wiring regulations. Water and electricity are a deadly combination and best left to experts—installations must be signed off by building control in these locations.

Related reading: Planning Your New Bathroom.

The true colour of our face, hair and makeup is best represented in the daylight, so aim for this quality of light for your vanity lighting. A pair of vertical sconces mounted at eye level on either side of the mirror will provide the best lighting for grooming tasks. Avoid having a downlight straight above your head, which causes unflattering shadows, and go for clear fixtures or white shades that render colours appropriately for the room.

Contemporary Family Bathroom
Featured: LED downlights in the ceiling, halogen downlights, LED recessed lighting.

To create a spa-like atmosphere, consider lit niches in the shower or above the bath, as well as low-level LEDs that mimic candlelight. You may wish to install multiple circuits for flexibility—one for general lighting, one for task lighting, and another for the bathroom fan. A soft LED strip light operated by a passive infrared sensor (PIR) is a nice luxury when visiting the bathroom in the middle of the night.

To finish your bathroom decor, think about how the different materials will work together. For a really cohesive look, match the lighting fixtures to the other fittings.

There are many different lighting options available for the kitchen and bathroom, depending on your personal preference. Keep in mind the different zones of each room and what they’re used for—as well as whether your choice of lighting requires a particular IP rating. By bringing lighting design into your early planning stages, you can ensure that your new installation looks and feels as good as possible. 

Got questions about renovating your kitchen or bathroom? Leave a comment or get in touch.