Design it out: Consider lighting at start

Consider lighting at the beginning of the project says director of Liberty Fitting Services Mark Conacher

29 Jul, 19

Installers offer their experiences to designers, enabling them to create plans which provide more efficient fits. Director of Liberty Fitting Services Mark Conacher says designers need to remember the importance of lighting at the start of the planning process


Design lighting at start


The inclusion of appropriate lighting is sometimes overlooked during the design process of a new kitchen.

It cannot just be any old lighting. It has to be lighting that is planned and meticulously thought out, just as much as the cabinet design itself.

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All too often kitchen lighting can consist of half a dozen spotlights in the ceiling and a strip light under every other wall cabinet.

I believe great kitchen design is definitely enhanced by incorporating great lighting design.

Accepting and understanding the importance of the correct lighting and selling that point to the customer will definitely pay dividends for the designer going forward.

With the kitchen undoubtedly being the most multi-functional room in the home, with food prep, cooking, dining, entertaining, homework and generally just hanging out, various kinds of lighting are essential.

In days gone by there were really just two options for lighting in a kitchen, a four-foot fluorescent strip light on the ceiling or a five-foot one.

Thankfully those days have passed, and lighting can be broken down into three main categories: ambient, task, and accent lighting.

  • Ambient Lighting

Good general lighting is essential for overall use of the room and for also for safety, with use of track or flush mounts, though the most commonly used  are recessed down-lights.

  • Task Lighting

As the name suggests, task lighting is the direct lighting of the areas where tasks will be carried out during food preparation, etc. Under cabinet spots or strips are ideal for illuminating these specific areas.

  • Accent Lighting

These lights will add warmth, depth, and an atmosphere to the room and can be used for display cabinets, plinth lighting, under-worktop, etc. Overhead lights can certainly bring a dramatic touch to a design feature and so worth considering.


Consider using different layers that can be used alone or together to create the ambience appropriate to the given situation.

Consider controls

Great importance also needs to be given to the controlability of the various lighting, even if it is just to darken the room a little to help hide those veggies from the children.

The more controllable these various lights and fixtures are the better. Use dimmers, if possible, and where the lighting fixture allows.

With smart switches becoming more popular, being able to control these lights from your phone, and perhaps set a mood before you come home, definitely has its advantages.

Multiple layers of lights, switches, and apps unfortunately come at a cost. However, if there is any room where it is worth the extra time spent educating the customer of the benefits, it is the kitchen the hub of the home.

My reminder to designers is: what is the point of great kitchen design if it is not accentuated by great lighting design?

Our last Design It Out Mark Conacher reminded designers to use annotation in their plans.