When you are remodeling your kitchen or bath you you’ll be making many decisions and one that is almost always overlooked is lighting. The kitchen lighting is often regulated by the permit department and LED lights are required in order to help reduce our energy consumption. Now what homeowner would not want to save energy and the environment at the same time? Well that depends on the products that are out there to work with the lighting system you want to include.
- Traditional florescent lights are low energy, but not well-loved due to their yellowish cast. Designers hate it but it is the cheapest solution for lighting that meets the low energy requirements a contractor has to prove.
- LED lights are available now and offer many solutions for your kitchen. The only thing is that the technology had some flaws over the last two years and some homeowners who put them in for their inspection wanted them removed when they found them to be unreliable and not efficient for their everyday needs. So, there is a lot of misinformation regarding what LEDs can do. If you follow the city’s building codes, you risk hating the look or the way the lights work. If you push the regulations then you may end up having to remove the lights you select if the building inspector finds them not properly certified.
Controlled solutions like Crestron or Lutron set up lighting scenes and are remotely controlled to give you a lot of options for your lights. The benefits are settings that can light up your house or specific areas with the push of one button, depending on your needs. The drawback is that you need to think through your plan and determine what you want in the midst of your remodel, so you may have a hard time visualizing it, especially if you changed the layout. These lighting systems can also be integrated with your AV system and your computer if you wish, which makes it even more important to think it through in advance. It can greatly reduce the number of switches and interruptions on your walls including bulky equipment you get from the cable company. So you do have to have some dedicated space for a controller closet or main panel to house all the wiring that powers your remote.
- Remember when you are setting up your lighting system you will want to think about how you use your home. You will want lights that cast light on your dinner, your cooking space, your mirrors, your outside space, your art or wherever you want light to be shone in order to become a focal point. Lighting designers will tell you that even if you do recessed cans that streamline your ceiling and provide a clean look for your general lighting, you may want accent lights or floor lamps to help build a design effect you are trying to communicate.
At the end of the day, your home’s lighting is your decision. My advice is to do your homework and think about your lighting from the beginning, There are some great resources on the internet and local specialty companies that are extremely helpful particularly when you are trying to change out your lighting without having to change out your entire system.
I highly recommend visiting a lighting specialty store individual to help you since you may have to work with existing lighting and new lighting. We had five ancient recessed lights in our upstairs bathroom that were rusted inside due to the moisture. I took the monstrosity to our local lighting expert, Timarie, at the Lighting Zone in Redondo Beach. She took one look at it and found the same fixture in her resources. Then she asked me about the rest of the lights in our home, which we had just remodeled to include updated baffles in the recessed lights. She researched and found a system that plugged into the pigtails that were required for our old lighting system and yet trims that worked with it that mimicked the lights in the rest of the house. This saved us a bundle replacing the fixture and the trim. Specialty shops are worth their weight in gold to save you time and help you save money with their practical experience that is only accumulated over time. Here are some of the many options offered by the Lighting Zone: