CCSRtip Tuesday – Lighting 101

When working with clients one of our jobs is always to do a lighting plan or reflected ceiling plan (RCP). Today, I thought I would share some lighting tips for planning where your fixtures should go. There are 3 types of lighting that one should include when designing –

1. Ambient (general) Lighting | This type of lighting provides the overall illumination for a room. Bright, but not glaring, it can come from ceiling fixtures, pendants, and chandeliers, and wall-mounted fixtures.

2. Task Lighting | Focused directly on a specific area where activities such as food preparation, cleanup, or ready take place, this type of lighting typically comes from pendant, under cabinet, recessed, or track fixtures.

3. Accent Lighting | This kind highlights design elements, such as items displayed on shelves. It comes from wall-mounted lights or pendants and should be significantly brighter than surrounding ambient lighting.

Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide | Consumer Reports | July 2012

See above Kitchen RCP Plan showing all three types of Lighting.

Typically for a Kitchen Design we normally choose to use recessed pot lights to take care of the Ambient Lighting – spaced 30″ from the wall and about every 4 to 6 feet. There are a few different types of bulbs for your recessed fixtures (and sizes – 4″, 5″, and 6″ typ.) – Par 16, Par 20, GU10 (line voltage) and MR16 (low voltage) lamps are most common. (Both come in great LED options – that cost so little to operate – they should really be considerations – they also can give off a great warm light – about a 2700 K)

“Pot Light”

PAR 20


MR 16MR16

Par Bulb LED


We take special care to note areas where more “work” is happening – and include Task Lighting in the way of under cabinet lights mounted in places such as a sink (overhead/bulkhead lighting) and then lighting the countertop and also the cooktop (choosing a hood fan with a good light source). Some options for under cabinet lighting are a 2″ puck light, a 12″ under cabinet light (Halogen/LED – Halogen much hotter than LED) or LED tape lighting – ($$$) which doesn’t allow any “dark spots” in the design.

2" Puck Light2″ Undercabinet Puck Light

12" Undercabinet

12″ Undercabinet Fixture

LED Strip Light

LED Strip Light

Strip Light Example

Strip Light Example – used on a stairway.

The Accent Lighting is usually represented by a pendant fixture or a directional wall mounted fixture – something with a little more “sparkle” or “pizzazz” about it. For use above an island –  the size of your island will determine if you choose two larger scale pendants or three smaller pendants. Want to know the height to hang your fixture above a table or countertop???…. 30″. To check out some great pendants – go HERE.

Pendant 1

Pendant 2

Pendant 3

Pendant 4

(we are using the one above in the kitchen shown)

Pendant 5


There is so much to learn when it comes to lighting – but there are some basics to get you started! Happy planning – and if you need an added hand with any ideas or tips – email us at or comment below!


5 thoughts on “CCSRtip Tuesday – Lighting 101

  1. is this the LED tape you used ? I am looking to buy some for my living room (in a coving)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s