How to do DIY

How to Choose Your Kitchen Lights

Lighting is one of the smallest changes you can make to a kitchen that can actually have a really big impact on the way it looks. The current trend is to have downlights in the kitchen, recessed into the ceiling, which help to make the space functional and attractive, but the choices don't stop there. Many different types of LED downlights lights are available, so there are a few things to think about before you buy.

Lighting for your kitchen

How Many Lights?
Downlights generally cast a narrower beam than larger lamps, which means that you need more of them to adequately cover your kitchen space. While you might not need comprehensive coverage in your living room, you need to be able to see all of your work surfaces in the kitchen when you're preparing food. The average size kitchen would require at least six LED downlights, each rated around 50W. More may well be required if you need more light, or if you want to target a particular area. Most outlets will be happy to help you work out the optimum number for your own kitchen.

Which Colour is the Best?
There are generally two different lighting colours; warm and cool white. Choosing between them is a matter of your own personal taste, but they can have a huge impact on the appearance and mood of the kitchen, so it's always a good idea to take some time when deciding. Warmer whites are the most common, and give the room a cosier feel. Cool whites on the other hand can give your kitchen a more modern look, and can give a better representation of colour in the room.

Which Beam Angle?
LED downlights come in a variety of different angles, ranging from very narrow spotlights, to broader beams that spread out the light. Naturally, the narrower the beam, the more intense the light will be. Again, this is a matter of personal taste, but you need to remember to adequately cover the room. Spotlights can work best when focused on a place in which you need a stronger and more direct light. It may help to draw out a diagram of where you want light to be in the room in order to avoid patchiness.

How are they Fitted?
Fitting is often the last thing that people think of, but there are a couple of things that are important to take note of. Firstly, not all LEDs are suitable for use with dimmer switches, so you may need to change either the bulb or the switch to make sure that you get things right. Fire safety is a very important consideration too. Whenever you cut a hole into the ceiling, you are creating a space through which fire can more easily spread. For this reason, many downlights come with a fire rating, of 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes. These ratings indicate the amount of time which the bulb will provide hindrance to a fire, and can save lives in a dangerous situation.

Are Some Better than Others?
You'll notice that some LEDs are more expensive than others, and generally, aside from offering different light colours and strengths, the difference will be in the life expectancy of the bulb. LEDs are more reliable than traditional bulbs to begin with, but they range from lasting around 25,000 hours, up to 70,000. Impressively, this is between 10 and 30 years, so you won't have to think about replacing them for a long time.

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