Find Out How Lighting Affects Mood in My Kitchen, Featured in Detroit Home Magazine

kitchen in Detroit Home fall

I am excited to share with you that my kitchen renovation was recently featured in Detroit Home magazine’s fall edition. Called Pale & Pretty Palette, the article talks about everything from how my family and I use the kitchen to why I selected the colors (reminiscent of Scandinavia) and what sort of lighting works best for us here in Michigan (where winters can get pretty long).

The entire kitchen/bath section is fun to read because readers get to learn about everyone from a tile shop owner and her kitchen (Motawi) to special collections that homeowners are fond of to what makes a kitchen a kitchen.

Getting back to that lighting element. Wow is lighting ever important, especially in a kitchen where families spend a lot of time, not just cooking, but also doing homework, making crafts, gathering for parties, etc.

Lighting is one of the most vital factors in any interior. It affects our moods, helps us interpret the seasons, and, unfortunately, if we are not careful, it sucks up electricity, making our energy bills rise.

With so many lighting choices, it’s paramount that when I work with a client, I take stock of not only bulb options, but how the sun makes its way through the day and how lighting hits various kitchen spaces.

In my kitchen, the sun’s daily journey affects color choices, as noted in the aforementioned article. We get the morning sun in our kitchen, but after about 2 p.m., the room gets a bit dark — so the lighter palette that I chose (soft grays, creams, ivories, whites) is great. It’s uplifting on the darkest of afternoons. Countertops also come into play when it comes to lighting … really! I chose off-white quartz stone countertops because they reflect light from the silver overhead globes beautifully. And I also have under-cabinet lighting, which adds mood … but is first and foremost very practical, lighting up the work space on the countertops.

As for chandelier lighting, look at the one in our  dining area. It’s from from Serena & Lily. I say, have fun with lighting! Look at those strands of bone-colored beads mixed with the subtle bronze veining … together it brings a sort of earthy glamour, don’t you think?

A few tips on choosing bulbs:

Incandescents: great for accent lighting, warm flame-like color

Fluorescents (usually cooler light): these can be used in utility rooms, hallways, offices. Most fluorescents produce only a cold blue/white light. It is stark and not very welcoming

LEDs: They consume far less power than fluorescent tubes, and incandescent bulbs,  they come in different colors and can be used in almost any environment or lighting situation. Use 2700 dimmable LEDs for lamps with shades.

I love what lighting designer Linnaea Tillett wrote with regard to how  residential clients, when thinking about how lighting should feel, often have strong emotional responses, such as, “’ I hate fluorescent lights. I hate track. I love incandescent. I love candle light. My mother (or father) always went around turning off lights, and I can’t bear the feeling of not seeing.  I hate it when it’s too bright; I feel ill. I’m afraid of the dark. My partner and I totally disagree about the reading light in the bedroom and how bright the bathroom should be. We always fight about it.’

These intense emotional reactions — fear, hate, love, and anger are hard-wired biological functions of our nervous system — make sense to me. Most of us grew up, as did our parents, in a world of plentiful artificial light. It is inextricably fused with our memories of home, whether gloomy or bright, candlelit or washed by a single circular fluorescent in the center of the kitchen. We remember the (now unimaginably) high levels of illumination above our desks in elementary school, and the acutely bright light at the hospital where we were rushed with broken bones, or visited a relative.”

Isn’t it interesting how lighting evokes memories? So when choosing your lights, think about how you want to feel — and what memories you’d like to create! And if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment here.


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