Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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The kitchen should appear bright, yet without glare. Good lighting is needed for a variety of visual tasks, including working at the sink and stove, preparing food on the countertop, and reading recipes.

Design features:

  • Fluorescent strip lighting luminaires are mounted on top of the cabinets (behind a trim board) since there is at least 12 to 18 in. of space from the top of the upper cabinets to the ceiling. Paint the top of the cabinets a matte white color to increase diffuse illumination to the room. These luminaires provide glare-free general lighting by bouncing light off the light-colored ceiling. Each luminaire uses a 32-W/830 T8 fluorescent lamp (CCT of 3000K and CRI of 80) with electronic ballast. For kitchens without on open cove above the cabinets, a ceiling-mounted, Energy Star labeled luminaire can be centered in the room.
  • Undercabinet fluorescent lighting luminaires, hidden from view on the underside of the upper cabinets, light the countertops. These 2-ft long undercabinet luminaires have prismatic acrylic lenses and use 17-W/830 T8 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts.
  • A recessed downlight centered over the sink makes washing dishes and preparing food easier. This downlight has a grooved baffle trim, 5 in. diameter aperture, and uses a 50-W PAR 30 incandescent halogen floodlight or narrow floodlight lamp. A downlight over the sink is especially important if the ambient light is provided by a single luminaire in the center of the ceiling.

Lighting Tips
  • Place luminaires over the sink, stove, countertops, and other fixed work areas. Locate these luminaires slightly to the side and in front of the position where a person would stand to see the task.
  • Avoid having only one ceiling luminaire in the center of the room that casts a person's shadow onto the counter or sink where he/she is working.

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