What the Hell is Functional, Accent and Ambient Lighting?

Kitchen Lighting studio ezra_Australian Interiors

As the heart of the home, and the place where all the sharp things live, kitchens live by a different set of rules when it comes to lighting – as compared to say your living room or bedroom. So, to accommodate your multifunctional space, the lighting needs to be thoughtful.

Essentially, kitchen lighting falls into three categories; functional lighting, accent lighting, and ambient lighting. But it’s not just about throwing lights at the ceiling and hoping something sticks. The placement and style of your lighting should be carefully considered. So, let’s talk about it…

Functional Lighting

Also known as task lighting, functional lighting is an essential element in EVERY kitchen and should be planned well ahead. Yes, that means before you start looking at pretty pendants.

Think about all the areas where you don’t want shadows (sharp things, remember). So, think about where you prep, cook, and clean. Not only that, think about how your family uses the kitchen because these will be the key areas you will want to illuminate.

Kitchen Lighting One x One Interiors_Australian Interiors

Silverdown House kitchen by One x One Interiors

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is concentrated light, all about drawing attention to architectural details in your kitchen. They can also add an interesting visual effect to specific locations in your kitchen. Generally, it is used to create a focal point by highlighting areas such as display cabinets, or lighting stone benchtops from below.

Accent lighting does little for the function of your kitchen. However, what it does do is add a touch of drama.

Kitchen Lighting Marcs Interiors_Australian Interiors

Hamilton kitchen by Marcs Interiors

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the final light source to plan and your opportunity to put form over function. In other words, go get those pretty pendants. Although, keep in mind that ambient lighting will play a supporting role in your kitchen’s overall ambiance and atmosphere.

Look over your kitchen and be sure your lighting layout is adequate .ie. you’re not going to be walking into that sharp corner all the time. And while you’re not going to be adding too much more, if any, ambient lighting is the time to add a strategically placed downlights or up the watts of your pendant bulbs.

Kitchen Lighting studio ezra_Australian Interiors

Balwyn Abode kitchen by Studio Ezra

Designer Tip

Having control over intensity, will at the end of the day will determine how successful your lighting is. Installing dimmers will allow for light adjustment based on the level of natural light in the room or the occasion. Cooking for the family, crank it up. Entertaining or enjoying a dinner for two, you know the drill.

And remember the most successful and beautiful kitchens combine all three.

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