Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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The kitchen should appear bright without glare. Good lighting is needed for a variety of visual tasks, including working at the sink and stove, preparing food, and reading recipes. Work areas on countertops should have extra light without shadows.

Design features:

  • Fluorescent strip lighting fixtures are mounted on top of the cabinets since there is at least 12 to 18 in. of space from the top of the upper cabinets to the light-colored ceiling. These fixtures provide glare-free general lighting by bouncing light off the ceiling. Each fixture uses a 32-W/830 T8 fluorescent tube (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 fixture can be centered in the room. This alternate fixture features a frame and white acrylic diffuser, and also uses two 32-W/830 T8 fluorescent tubes with electronic ballast. Additional light over the sink and countertops should be used to avoid shadows.
  • Undercabinet fluorescent lighting fixtures, hidden from view on the underside of the upper cabinets, light the countertops. These 2-ft long undercabinet fixtures have prismatic acrylic lenses and electronic ballasts, and use 17-W/830 T8 fluorescent tubes.
  • A recessed downlight centered over the sink makes washing dishes and preparing food easier. This downlight has a white grooved baffle trim, 5 in. diameter aperture, and uses a 50-W PAR 30 incandescent halogen floodlight or narrow floodlight bulb.

Lighting Tips
  • Place light fixtures over the sink, stove, countertops, and other fixed work areas. Locate these fixtures to the side and slightly in front of the position where a person would usually stand to see the task.
  • In the kitchen, avoid having only ceiling fixtures in the center of the room that cast your shadow when you are working at a counter or sink.

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