by Timothy Sexton
It is easy to overlook the importance of lighting when decorating your kitchen. You spend all that time picking out the best cabinets and appliances and then stick with the same flickering fluorescent fixture that came with the house. Kitchen lighting and ceiling fans can do more than just illuminate your kitchen; they can also decorate as well as accent the best parts of your kitchen design.
Decide what the most valuable function of your kitchen lighting is. For some people, just being able to see what you are cooking may be all you need from kitchen lighting. If you tend to eat in your kitchen a lot, you may want the power to dim the lighting to create a romantic ambiance. If you have a large kitchen, you may want to be able to provide more lights in one area than another, so you should consider task lighting fixtures, such as pendant lights.
Choose fluorescent lighting if efficiency and the need to go extended periods without changing bulbs is foremost. Pop a fluorescent bulb into the fixture and just forget about it for months at a time. To get the most out of these lights, you need to install them so that the light bounces off the ceiling. Get a proper fixture and you won't have the problem of the bulbs blinding you when you turn them on. Fluorescent bulbs work best in compact kitchens and with light-colored walls.
Buy incandescent lights to endow your kitchen with a warmer, cozier feel. There are two important considerations to incandescent bulbs, however. The most important may be that they burn out much more quickly than fluorescent lights. The other consideration may either be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on where you live. Incandescent lights generate more heat than other types of bulbs, making them preferable for those living in cooler climates but not so great for those living in warmer regions.
Consider halogen lights for large kitchens where you want to decorate with accent lighting or specific task lighting. Halogen lights are a terrific choice for placing over islands, cabinets or long countertops where you prepare food. You can use halogen bulbs in track lights or directional fixtures. Halogen lamps are also excellent for motion control fixtures that automatically turn on when you move to a different area of the kitchen.
Use accent lighting to highlight a particular aesthetic element of your kitchen. Adding lighting above or beneath your cabinets is also a way to add a decorative touch to your kitchen. Directional track lighting is one easy way to cast a light upon a pretty picture hanging on the wall or a shiny new appliance. If you have a large kitchen, another consideration is to add a little flair with chandelier lighting or a ceiling fan.