Kitchen Remodeling for Dummies has released a list of the top lighting manufacturers. After analyzing available research from various investigative organizations this list was compiled. The following top lighting manufacturers have been given high marks for energy conservation, long lasting products, and environmental friendliness.
Even if you can’t afford to include new windows in your kitchen remodel, rejuvenate your existing windows to let in more light and do away with the old, worn look. Now’s the time to sand and re-stain the wood frame and mull centers (the wood strips separating windows) so that your old windows don’t stick out like sore thumbs.
Too often, homeowners don’t include or even consider new windows as part of a remodel, but they should. New windows are energy efficient and save money on monthly energy bills. Plus, you can choose exterior finishes that are almost, if not completely, maintenance-free. New windows are also easier to operate.
A skylight can add beautiful, natural overhead light to a kitchen all year ’round. (Check out the skylight photo in the color insert.) Remember that you need to have direct access to the roof of the house to install a skylight. If your kitchen is on the main level, located directly under a couple of bedrooms, you’re out of luck.
Letting the Light Shine In: Natural Lighting Options
Like interior light fixtures, your kitchen windows are important sources of light. This section gets you thinking about the benefits of new energy-efficient windows, and it also tells you how to make your existing windows aesthetically pleasing with a fresh coat of paint and blinds if new windows aren’t in your budget.
Most kitchen lights are powered on a single 15-amp circuit. This takes care of the ceiling fixture (remember, you often only need one) and the one or two other lights in the kitchen. If you plan to add lights for the countertops, over the stove, and maybe even some in-cabinet lights, consider running an additional lighting circuit to the kitchen. Adding a new circuit and getting it to the specific lights can be tricky, especially if the wall and ceiling surfaces are finished. To be honest, calling in an electrician is best. Besides pulling the cable for the new circuit, the electrician can help make the best decisions about which lights should go on which circuit.
Incandescent bulbs are the old, familiar pear-shaped bulbs with the screw-type base. They’re easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and are used in a variety of fixture types. They produce a warm light that provides a comfortable, cozy feeling in a room. However, incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a filament with electricity, which can actually raise the temperature in a room if enough incandescent bulbs are operating at the same time. And they also use more electricity than fluorescent bulbs, so they do cost more to operate over time. The lifespan of an incandescent bulb is considerably shorter than a fluorescent bulb and the amount of light it produces decreases as the bulb gets closer to burning out. However, a new generation of tougher, more efficient, longer living incandescent bulb is available. They still produce the small warm, cozy light but last a lot longer than a regular incandescent bulb. Some are guaranteed to last for years! All incandescent fixtures can be used with a dimmer switch.
Fancy's fine, but function is foremost: shedding light on fixture options
Too often a homeowner absolutely falls in love with a fixture because of its look, shape, color, or what have you and never fully understands or realizes what type of light it will provide. When it comes to choosing the fixtures, don’t let decorating decisions overshadow what the light fixture can and will do. I know that the only way to really know whether a light will work for your situation is to install it and see how it fits in your kitchen’s layout. This, however, can be a very expensive way of doing things.