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For Boomers & Their Aging Parents

Recent Questions: Kitchen Lighting Levels

Question:  We are about to remodel our kitchen and want to incorporate universal design ideas for aging in place. We’ve read that we will need increased room lighting, but we don’t know how standard lighting is calculated let alone increased lighting.  Can you give us an idea of how to determine correct lighting for our new kitchen?

AnswerA well-lit kitchen layers and blends four different types of light: general or ambient lighting in the ceiling, task lighting over sink, cooking and work areas, display lighting in cabinets, and possibly some decorative lighting, like lamps, chandeliers, or wall sconces. The most important lighting to consider for the purposes of aging in place is both general and task lighting.

I recently worked with clients who also were remodeling their kitchen. They had already gone to a kitchen designer/contractor for a new layout but wanted me to review their plans with an eye towards aging in place, and one of the questions that came up was that of adequate lighting.  

My clients' windowless, 10’ x 12’, galley kitchen had a single ceiling fixture and there was no task lighting at all.  And while the new plan called for under cabinet lighting, there was no plan to change, or add to, the ceiling lighting

After researching the question of illumination levels, I found the simplest calculation to be 8.5 lumens per square foot – walls, ceiling, and floor included.  This calculation pertains to general lighting levels only and excludes any under cabinet lighting, which is considered to be task lighting.   

So here’s an example:

A 10’ x 15’ by 8’ kitchen has a walls/floor/ceiling surface area of around 700 square feet.  An 8.5 in/sf target suggests you might want to build in the capacity to generate at least 5950 total lumens.  A basic 50 watt PAR 30 bulb produces about 660 lumens, so I’d use about 9 of them to light up that kitchen.


As for task lighting, islands, areas over the sink and stove, and counter tops require more concentrated, direct lighting since they are work areas.  Every section of kitchen counter top needs task lighting. Such lighting can be provided by under cabinet lighting attached to the wall cabinets or by small pendant  

fixtures.  When planning for task lighting, remember to allow for separate switches rather than a single switch which will allow you to turn on only that counter top lighting that you need rather than all the fixtures at once.   
                                       
  
 
   Susan Luxenberg 
  President
  HomeSmart LLC

19 Comments to Recent Questions: Kitchen Lighting Levels:

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Jill Oakson on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:09 AM
Great job! Generally we don't give enough attention to the kitchen but it requires most as one of the most important job done in this place so I'm impressed to see your effort of making the place prettier and handier to run cooking smoothly. Thank you so much for placing the details with some cool snaps.
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switches on Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:56 AM
Informative content! I think your suggestion about switches is helpful for all of us. I really like your suggestion about switches and I must follow your suggestion. Thanks for this allocation.
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kedarnath yatra on Friday, April 05, 2013 5:34 AM
Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks
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Local Plumbing Experts on Friday, April 12, 2013 4:40 AM
Kitchen is the main thing in our house. Thanks for posting this post.
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sand blasting Sumner on Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:17 AM
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led strip lighting new zealand on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 12:40 AM
Thanks for sharing your ideas with me such a nice post very useful for us..
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ivory research uk reviews on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:13 AM
We are about to remodel our kitchen and want to incorporate universal design ideas for aging in place.
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Quick Property Sale in London on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 1:18 AM
Lighting are also an important part of the home. You nicely described about the kitchen lighting levels. Nice job
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visit here on Friday, June 28, 2013 4:24 AM
Thanks for sharing these valuable tips to remodel my kitchen. I like the layout shown here and would like to have a kitchen like that. Thanks for sharing this with us and this is very helpful for everyone to add a better design to their kitchen.
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skuts on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:10 AM
Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say excellent blog!
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Forklift Training Melbourne on Saturday, January 18, 2014 4:10 PM
Your article is very nice. You have provided interesting information.
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rental cleaning canberra on Friday, April 11, 2014 7:02 AM
Thanks for contributing your important time to post such an interesting & useful collection.very useful blog on Recent Questions: Kitchen Lighting Levels..thanks for sharing..
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Commercial food equipment on Monday, May 19, 2014 3:18 AM
I am going to Repaint my kitchen Cabinet soon and i found your post related to that and very informative for me. Thanks for sharing!
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shopping online on Sunday, June 15, 2014 3:28 AM
I am very happy to read this. This is the type of information that should be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc .
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Allena on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:43 AM
This blog is very informative for me.i read your full blog.Great Job you done.it is quite importance that which type of light we used in our kitchen bcoz it give special effect in our kitchen as well as our home.i really want to thank that you post such a amazing blog.My best wish is for you for next time.
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Jayden Harris on Thursday, November 13, 2014 6:27 AM
It's really a good and very informative for me.
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Jaime harold on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 1:57 AM
Its really awesome post, i used to live this kind of place only.
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