Bruck Lighting Rainbow Lights
Available in small and large sizes, the Rainbow family of fixtures offers pendants, sconces, spotlights, and ceiling-mount lights with halogen lamps (LEDs are an option with pendants and sconces). Shown: The Rainbow Down II pendant with frosted white glass inner shade and a clear glass outer shade with a dichroic coating that fuses the light into pink, blue and green colors. Other glass colors and coating types are available. Bruck Lighting
Progress Lighting Everlume Light Fixtures
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are emerging as a residential light source with the potential to save more energy and last longer than even CFLs. The Everlume line includes everything from recessed fixtures to cove lighting, step lighting and pendants. New this year: a pendant with brushed nickel finish and painted tortoise glass. Progress Lighting
Kichler Island Light
For a casual, contemporary style, try this three-light fixture with a brushed nickel finish from Kichler's new Farren collection. Hand-crafted using a slump-glass technique, the wave-inspired square shades are made from textured satin etched glass. Other pieces include a five-light chandelier, a pendant and a wall sconce. Kichler
Compare Your Options
Lighting fixtures, or luminaires, come in a wide range of looks and installation types. Those most commonly used in the kitchen include:
Ceiling Fixtures: With flush-mount ceiling fixtures, the glass or diffuser touches the ceiling. Semi-flush- mount or close-to-ceiling fixtures project from the ceiling so that the bowl hangs a few inches away and indirect light reflects from the ceiling. Ceiling fixtures typically provide general lighting and hang in the center of the room or over a kitchen table or breakfast nook.
Also known as chain-hung or suspension fixtures, chandeliers hang from the ceiling and often add more pizzazz and take up more space than a ceiling fixture. They have two or more arms with uplights or downlights, and provide general lighting. Most people choose chandeliers for more formal dining tables or dining rooms.
Pendant lights are decorative fixtures, suspended from the ceiling, that offer both general and task lighting. For that reason, kitchen designers often place them over islands or open counter areas where conversation, dining, baking and food prep take place. Use mini-pendants (usually under 12 inches) for small spaces. As an alternative to using several individual pendants in one area, try a multi-light pendant or island light.
In the kitchen, wall-mounted fixtures typically take the form of sconces that match a chandelier, ceiling fixture or pendant. They can deliver general, task, or accent lighting. In the kitchen, common sconce placements include on either side of a hutch, piece of art, or decorative backsplash to help in creating a focal point.
Track or rail lighting systems offer a great deal of design flexibility. The track itself can be short or long, straight or curved, and flush to the ceiling or hanging from it. Pendants, spotlights, and other lighting fixtures can hang from the track at different heights and point in different directions, providing general, task and accent lighting as needed.
Recessed ceiling fixtures, or can lights, consist of housing installed within the ceiling, a lamp, and a small bit of trim to cover the hardware. If you want your lighting to be unobtrusive rather than decorative, this is the way to go. Recessed lighting can provide general lighting for the whole kitchen, task lighting over the sink or counter and accent lighting above shelving or wall art.
These lights come in the form of slender strips, mini track systems and small recessed or surface-mounted discs, also called pucks. Installed below wall cabinets, they supply task lighting by illuminating the counters and work surfaces without shadows. Used inside cabinets with glass fronts, the same lights display glassware or china.
Choosing the Right Fixtures and Lighting Plan
Especially in a multipurpose, highly trafficked room like the kitchen, lighting should be an integral part of the project, not an afterthought. Proper lighting improves the function, appearance and energy efficiency of your home and is also important to your comfort, health and safety. Yet homeowners and contractors alike often place more emphasis on decorative aspects or wiring considerations than efficiency and function.
Follow these strategies to ensure your lighting is as practical and energy-efficient as possible:
Develop a Lighting Plan
A lighting plan should include both the location and the type of fixtures and controls. Along with the ambient lighting required by building codes, the plan should address decorative, task, focal, and safety lighting.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program
Choose Energy Star Fixtures
Instead of traditional incandescent lighting fixtures, opt for fluorescent fixtures that are Energy Star-qualified. Look for lamps with a higher Color Rendering Index (CRI) — at least 70 or 80 — to avoid a glow and get a light closer to true natural light.
Recessed lights (aka "can" lights) that penetrate the ceiling should be IC-rated (insulation contact) so that they are resistant to fire and also prevent air leakage and energy loss. Other similar lighting fixtures should be caulked around the edge or gasketed to prevent air infiltration.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program
Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Where you can't (or choose not to) replace existing incandescent fixtures with fluorescent fixtures, try using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). A 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with an 11- to 15-watt CFL. Although CFLs cost more than regular light bulbs, they last 6 to 10 times longer, and each one saves $25 to $30 over its lifetime. To maximize their benefit, use CFLs in high-use areas.
LED (light-emitting diode) technology uses 90 percent less electricity than incandescents. Because of LEDs' long life and additional up-front cost, they are suggested for difficult-to-service indoor and outdoor applications, and heavily used indoor areas. They can also be used in a variety of creative lighting layouts because of their size: roughly that of small Christmas lights.
Dimmer switches allow one fixture to serve several functions; task lighting when at full illumination, and decorative or safety lighting at lower settings. Dimming increases lamp life and saves energy because less electrical wattage is used.
Adding motion sensors to outdoor lights can increase home safety. They turn the light on when they detect movement, and automatically switch off after a set amount of time. Because they limit the time that the lights are on, they can reduce energy use by up to 90 percent.
Occupancy sensors can also be used indoors in rooms that are used for short periods of time, such as hallways, powder rooms, workrooms and closets.
Copyright 2006, The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), www.pathnet.org. Adapted with permission.
Let Your Lighting Make a Statement!
Element Designs eluma Illuminated Shelving
Used as shelving or a backsplash, °eluma light panels make an attractive alternative to traditional in- and under-cabinet lighting. Built in custom sizes, the panels consist of an acrylic or etched glass insert encased in a metal frame and illuminated by an LED (light-emitting diode). Choose from a variety of frame finishes and light colors. Element Designs
Cooper Lighting Halo Art Glass Pendants
The new cylinder-, beret- and haloid (globe)-shaped pendants in the Halo line of handmade art glass fixtures come in 14 colors with names like Irish Coffee and Plum Wine. Available in multiple sizes, lamp types, and wattages, these pendants can be mounted to a track system or directly to the ceiling. Cooper Lighting
Meyda Lighting Fused Glass Fixtures
Part of the Metro Fusion collection, these three contemporary fixtures use colorful art glass fused together to create abstract designs. The Muro Verde sconce (left) features an 8-inch cylinder of seafoam green and amber glass, while the Muro Colorito (right) incorporates red, blue, amber, green and black glass on a clear background. The Stella Rossa 4-inch mini pendant (center) features a red, draped cube glass shade. Meyda Lighting