Updated: May 27, 2020
LED lighting is the way forward. In fact it won't be too much longer before LED will be the only option. Halogen and fluorescent lights will soon be history.
LEDs are energy efficient. They have a much longer lifespan, they require little, if any, maintenance, they don't flicker and they don't give off UV. All in all they are a 'good thing'.
However, whilst LED is wonderful, especially in kitchens, it is important to make sure you select the correct brightness and shade of light fitting, whether cool white or warm white.
For the tekkies an LED bulb is measured by colour temperature on the Kelvin Scale - it's a perceived warmth or coolness of a light source. Don't confuse this with the hot or cold temperature around us - that's degrees Celsius. Our friend Kelvin runs in the opposite direction to regular temperature. Light with a low Kelvin of 3500K or less, is called 'warm' light and this is more akin to the old halogens and has a yellowy-orange glow. Light with a high Kelvin of 6000K or more is called 'cool' and this has a stronger, bluey/white beam.
So what's it all about? Well, basically, the message is make sure ALL your light fittings have the same K value. Your kitchen designer or electrician will help you with this, but if you are doing your own lighting make a mental note to check before you buy from your local stockist as not all bulbs do have the same values. Brands differ so not all Cool White bulbs will be the same for example.
But, regardless of all this, here are some steps to take if you are planning your kitchen without a professional designer alongside:
Make sure you know where you need your lighting before work starts on preparing your room. Make sure your builder or his electrician has a full specification showing where you want everything - where the light fittings are to be sited and their switching points. Be aware of where the LED drivers need to be put and make sure they can be hidden, out of sight but accessible. They are usually put on the top of wall units or below base cabinets behind the plinth.
Think about your prep areas and make sure you have sufficient illumination so you can work comfortably and safely.
Think about mood lighting (or ambient lighting as it's sometimes called these days). How do you want your room to look - do you want to have lighting along the plinth line, under the wall units, on top of the wall units, or maybe on the leading edge of the worktop shining down or perhaps underneath a breakfast bar? There are lots of areas where lighting can be brought into play.
Think about the brightness of the lighting you need in each area and check the bulbs you want to buy. Look for the Lumens rating of the bulb. The higher the rating the brighter the light. As a guide, if you want an LED bulb which gives off the same sort of light as, say, an old 60W bulb, then look for one which has 800 Lumens. A 40W bulb is the equivalent to 450 Lumens.
Think about colour. For the kitchen most people will opt for either a cool white or a warm white bulb. Warm white is very popular, probably because it's closest to the old style halogen light with its soft glow. It works well with natural tones and timber and is good for a general lighting scheme. Cool white is much brighter (it's my favourite for a kitchen) and works well as a 'task light' or for creating accent lighting, especially if the kitchen has a more modern feel or has a colourful decor.
Designing a kitchen can be a tricky old business. There's a lot of think about and it's not easy to get it right. Always consider taking on a professional kitchen designer. Design services come free with your new kitchen if you decide to buy from a reputable kitchen specialist like Kitchens in Portugal.
KITCHENS IN PORTUGAL can advise on all aspects of kitchen mood and task lighting.