Your house should reflect you. Renovation projects are not only rewarding for the sense of accomplishment they produce in you, but also for gaining an elegant space that you are eager to spend time enjoying. Here is a lighting guide for the two most commonly performed home improvement projects: kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels.

Kitchen remodel ideas

The kitchen is frequently the lifeblood of the family home. It is a space for producing culinary creations and crafting nutritious meals for family, friends, and guests. It is a space for repose: an area in which to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or a conversation with a kindred soul. It’s where the pitter-patter of little feet come to find comfort, direction, or praise from a parent. It makes sense then that kitchen remodels are the No. 2 most requested job according to the National Association of Home Builders 2012 Remodeling Market Index as reported in HuffPost.

Since the kitchen encompasses so many purposes, the lighting should do the same. We encourage homeowners to think of these four “layers”:

Task Lighting – illuminates workspaces and functional areas, such as countertops and pantry closets

Accent Lighting – adds depth and emphasis to the environment, such as recessed adjustable fixtures and track lights

Decorative Lighting – installed purely for aesthetic purposes and to add interest to a space, such as chandeliers, pendants and wall sconces

Ambient Lighting – gently reflects off the ceiling and walls to brighten the whole room

You’ll want to include more than one layer to give the kitchen dimension. Even though ambient lighting fills the whole room and softens shadows, there will be no depth or dimension to the space. Adding some accent lighting can add interest.

When it comes to styles and trends, the possibilities are endless. Fixtures can be selected and arranged according to your kitchen’s personality:

  • Large, overhead pendants for added drama
  • Mini pendants to add visual interest
  • In-cabinet or undercabinet lighting to highlight special serving dishes or a colorful backsplash
  • Toekick lights under base cabinets to illuminate the floor and serve as night lights

Talk to one of our lighting experts about lighting ideas for your kitchen remodel.

Bathroom remodel ideas

The bathroom can be a haven. It is here that you step into a relaxing bath or shower to lose the world for a moment. It is here that you linger in front of the mirror to shave, to add a touch of mascara, to spruce up your hair and prepare to look your best to face the world. It is here that guests, too, can take a moment to slip away from the crowd and regather themselves to continue the evening. It is no wonder, then, that bathroom remodels are the No. 1 most requested project in America on the National Association of Home Builders survey.

The four big ideas for lighting the bathroom, courtesy of Design Necessities and Houzz:

Ceiling first – Use mounted or recessed lighting overhead for general illumination. More lighting gives the impression of a brighter, cleaner bathroom. Lighting is an essential element for turning the bathroom into an inviting, comfortable space instead of an unpleasant one.

Vanity or mirror task lighting – Vanity lighting is essential for ensuring that you look your best when preparing for the day. While many bathrooms place lighting directly above the mirror, it is actually one of the worst locations since it casts deep shadows beneath the eyes, nose and chin. In addition to making grooming difficult, these shadows can visually age faces by 10 years. Instead, place a pair of sconces mounted at eye level on either side of the mirror for shadowless illumination and a confidence boost when you look at your reflection.

Shower or tub area – Safety is key here! You or your guests do not want to be stranded behind a dark shower curtain, and darkness could lead to falls if you drop a bottle of shampoo or bar of soap. While most people think one fixture is fine here, you usually need two. Equal lighting at both ends of the tub is best. If your shower is only 3×3 ft. or so, you can get away with only one fixture, but otherwise two fixtures are key.

Decorative (optional) – If you want your bathroom to be a space for repose with a spa-like atmosphere or need special master bathroom remodel ideas, consider some of the following:

  • LED tape lighting under wall-mounted cabinets make them appear to float in space;
  • Illumination for wall art;
  • Single, unique pendants to act as visual decorations as well as light sources.

Regarding types of bulbs to use in the bathroom, never use clear bulbs with filaments showing. They are popular, but they cast a shadow on everything. Choose something opaque or frosted instead.

Gross Electric’s lighting design services

Gross Electric’s lighting designers are skilled practitioners at giving your kitchen or bathroom the ambiance you seek. Trained by the American Lighting Association, our lighting designers can work with blueprints for new construction, work on-site for projects in progress, or help create better lighting for an existing space.

Browse our Bright Ideas gallery to see examples of our work and get inspired for what you can do in your home, or contact us to start a conversation.

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