The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« 2008 Kitchen Trends - Banquettes | Main | Kitchen Trends 2008 - What's To Come? »

2008 Kitchen Trends - Lighting

Having just talked about 2008 kitchen trends, I received a little booklet in the mail from Better Homes & Gardens, just for kitchen and bath professionals, all about 2008 kitchen trends. Allow me to give you their predictions, and my comments.  Actually, I think I'll do one trend per post, otherwise this post will be way too long! First up:


uploaded-file-37227BH&G says forget about lighting for the sake of function alone. Done, boring, over. The trend is for highly decorative (and functional) lighting anywhere and everywhere. Accent lighting, and decorative lighting fixtures, whether for task or general lighting purposes, will be designed into kitchens with more frequency this year.

My Take: I do agree. I'm seeing my clients paying more attention to my lighting ideas and suggestions (I almost always do a lighting plan) and being receptive to more and varied types of lighting in general. They seem to now get that lighting creates moods, it can change functional areas into more dressed up areas, and can create a variety of looks.

My Recommendation: When doing a lighting plan, let the type of lighting guide the type of fixture. Under cabinet lighting can easily be done with "green" LED fixtures, for example, as well as accent lighting, inside cabinets, as another example. Recessed lighting is a good foundation for general lighting and can be installed using flourescent lamps. Use dimmers, too, to save energy and create effects. Be aware of how much lighting you really need and where/how the lighting should be switched to conserve energy. 

To get started, understand that there are/can be three types of lighting in the kitchen: general (often, ceiling mounted lighting), task lighting (under wall cabinets, over an island, under a hood, over a sink), and accent lighting (lighting to feature a hutch, artwork or other decorative area.)

And, yes, have some fun with interesting lighting fixtures:

  • Hang several together at different heights
  • Use bright colors
  • Use interesting shapes
  • Hang pendants closer together than usual to have several appear as "one"
  • Be aware of lighting in stores, hotels, restaurants, other public places for fresh ideas
  • Add sconces that you would normally put in other rooms...they look great surrounding windows
  • Mix styles (carefully) and finishes
  • Ask yourself if you want the lighting fixture to stand out or blend in?
  • Be green and seek out antique lighting fixtures

Trend Or Good Idea? It may be a trend, but it's also a good idea in general. The principles of this 2008 trend have been present in professionally designed electrical plans for years. It is a trend in which eco friendly fixtures can play a part too. One can also follow a general design trend if desired and later, change a fixture in favor of another look. Here is an example of a preliminary lighting plan I did (below.) Let there be light!



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Reader Comments (11)

Could you post a larger view of the lighting plan? I can't read any detail on the current one. Thanks so much for your posts.

January 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Helpful insights and information! Thanks so much!


January 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermelissa @ the inspired

Our company,The LED Company, manufactures and sells custom LED lighting arrays for residential and commercial applications. Over the past 6 months designers are increasingly specifing dimmable LEDs for cove, under cabinet, step and accent lighting. Today, LEDs are valuable tool in the designers bag of tricks. Not for everywhere and everyone; but certainly gaining ground in being an effective luminary.

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBob Wilson

Sconces in the kitchen! Never would have thought of that. What is the design idea behind having them surround windows?

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Niz, K+BB Editor

Sandra, thanks for writing. This was just meant as a small illustration. It was a preliminary plan, done casually, and quickly, for a contractor. I actually experimented with color coding, thinking it would be easier to track switching. In some cases I specify specific lighting and in some cases I don't, depends. Here's a link to a larger version: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2243/2163733086_ef46413e91_o.jpg

Melissa, thank you for stopping by! I stop by your blog quite a bit!

Bob, I'd like more of your insight as to what types of fixtures you like for what applications.

January 3, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Ellen, The idea is to bring a little bit of "something different", meaning a typical look from other rooms, into the kitchen. To add the coziness, warmth, interest, of a wall mounted lighting fixture into a room that for some odd reason, does not normally show this type of lighting. I'm doing this right now in two kitchens and the clients love the concept. Of course, it is both functional and very aesthetically pleasing. I have them on my window wall in my kitchen. They can also surround a shallow wall cabinet, a piece of artwork, above a desk, lots of possibilities. I think there is a whole lot of useful "living room" ideas that can translate to the kitchen. Absolutely. Thanks for asking!

January 3, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

We've been riding this trend this past year (just finished a kitchen with wall sconces on either side of a nook window. It looks gorgeous at night!)

A possible reason for the trend could stem from commercial design. A great many of my clients eat out--they see the beautiful lighting in the restaurants which set the mood and tone and want it for their kitchens.

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly M

I think you're right...that, plus, our clients are so much more open to new ideas, it's really great to see...something we've been trying to tell them for years! It's nice to see.

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Susan, thank you for the link to the larger version of the lighting diagram. It will go in my planning folder to remind me that lighting for the kitchen is not just under the cabinets and recessed lighting in the ceiling, I especially love the use of sconces.

Your blog is a delight.


January 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Susan, thank you for the link to the larger version of the lighting diagram. It will go in my planning folder to remind me that lighting for the kitchen is not just under the cabinets and recessed lighting in the ceiling, I especially love the use of sconces.

Your blog is a delight.


January 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Sandra, my pleasure. And, that was just the plan for lighting, not for appliance centerlines and receptacles. Thanks so much for the compliment, so nice to hear.

January 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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