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I have 20+ years experience in Home Furnishings and Interior Design, specializing in Kitchen and Bath Design since '01. I work for Bilotta Kitchens in the A&D Building on East 58th Street in the Mid-town Manhattan. I have a passion for learning and love the opportunity to collaberate on projects of all sizes. My strengths in the field begin with my design background, use of color and texture to bring interest to a room, spatial relationships, organizational skills, innovation, decisiveness, and planning. I have had the thrilling experience of helping hundreds...?maybe thousands of people with their projects, and what I love is it never gets boring, and no two are ever the same. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Task Lighting In Your New Kitchen

When you're designing a new kitchen, getting the most important decisions right is crucial for the long-term contentment with which you will come to regard your new room. Lighting schemes is one such decision and it should be made prior to the construction of your kitchen. Many people leave the lighting until after the kitchen has been built and then wonder why they can't see properly when preparing food. It's worth getting hold of a kitchen planner to help you make the most important decisions while planning your new room.

Although ambient lighting and accent lighting need special consideration, task lighting is perhaps the element of your kitchen lighting scheme that can make or break the effectiveness and functionality of the room as a whole. Task lighting, for those new to kitchen design, is focused lighting that provides illumination for the areas of your kitchen in which you perform daily tasks, including the sink, cooktop/range, and kitchen worktops. When you're planning your task lighting, consider the following elements:

Under cabinet lighting: Without task lighting under your cabinets, shadows from the ceiling illumination in your room will make food preparation both tricky and dangerous. There are many styles and shades available nowadays, particularly compared to the limited range available even just ten years ago. Using this sort of lighting is an energy-efficient way to illuminate your kitchen, as the sort of slimline fluorescent lights used last a long time and don't use too much electricity to function.

If you want to introduce a slightly more futuristic feel to your kitchen, you can pick lights that provide a garish blue tone to your worktops, whilst a more traditional country-kitchen feel can be achieved by less clinical tones. Underhood lighting for your oven is also a sensible investment, as it provides additional illumination when cooking food on the cooktop or taking heavy and boiling hot items out of the oven.

Track lighting: Track lighting can be used to direct light towards the work surfaces and areas of the kitchen that you use more regularly than others. For example, the sink and kitchen worktops on which you cut your vegetables require more light than other areas of the room. One advantage of this sort of lighting is that one track can be left off while another is illuminated, meaning that it's an easy way to save both energy and money.

You can choose between free track, fixed track, and barewire track when picking your track lighting, with the first option allowing greater flexibility for those who want to reposition and move lights on a regular basis. The fixed track option, meanwhile, comes with the light fittings already in place, so provide slightly less flexibility. However, these are cheaper and the lights can be angled so don't write this option off too readily. Finally, barewire track lights make use of a pair of tensioned cables between which lights can be repositioned.

Downlights: Downlights are another option that can provide additional light to the areas of your kitchen you deem to be most important. You can buy them in a wide range of finishes depending upon the colour scheme and style of your kitchen. Downlights look particularly good in modern kitchens but bear in mind that this sort of lighting isn't particularly energy efficient, so take this into account if 'going green' while saving cash is a real concern of yours. You can buy low energy downlights but these options have their critics, with some people believing there isn't yet a viable alternative to the energy-zapping version that matches the standard downlights for price and quality of illumination.

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