Summer kitchens have become increasingly popular throughout Houston over the past few years. These luxury outdoor buildings are actually much more than cooking facilities. They include dining areas and living room spaces. Some also have outdoor covered patios attached to the dining or living room areas. This complexity of design requires outdoor kitchen lighting plans to likewise feature complex patterns of general, decorative, and task lighting in each of these areas.
It goes without saying that the most utilitarian layer of light in a summer kitchen is in the cooking area itself. Here, we have a general layer of light that creates basic visibility throughout the entirety of the space. This is typically generated by recessed lights mounted in the kitchen ceiling.
Adjustable task lights are positioned over stove and countertop areas to assist chefs in all of the functions of food preparation and cooking. Dimmers are wired to both general lights and task lights to help minimize heat output. Whenever possible, cooler burning light sources are also used, when appropriate, to help minimize heat buildup around the stove.
Outdoor kitchen lighting in dining areas is much like the interior lighting around a formal dining room inside the home. The top priority here is atmosphere. Depending on the building’s interior architecture, anything from a chandelier to pendant lights can be suspended over the table area. Patio lighting is typically low level and soft. Decorative wall sconces are often use to create a surrounding perimeter of ambience that encircles the seated guests.
The most complex aspect of outdoor kitchen lighting is found in the living room area. Summer kitchen living rooms are very much like living rooms within homes and require luxury lighting techniques. While they are tiny in comparative size, they feature all of the same elements familiar to indoor spaces. Furniture, wall art, entertainment systems, and fireplace are just a few examples of the features we find in the lounge portion of the average summer kitchen.
These luxury spaces are typically open to the air so that people reclining on couches and chairs can look out onto the landscape while they listen to music, watch movies, or sit by the fireplace in the colder months of the year. A variety of outdoor kitchen lighting fixtures must be mounted in key areas here in order to fully support the living space as a luxury environment. Examples include, but are not limited to, dimmable recessed halogens, decorative lighting, chandeliers, wall sconces, table lamps, and art lights for prints hanging on the wall.
Outdoor kitchen lighting must also pay as much attention to external space as it does to internal space. Lighting the deck outside of a summer kitchen is essential to marking its position as a major landscaping element. Up lights are positioned along the base of the exterior walls to highlight the convergence of surrounding vegetation with architectural forms. Columns, if present, can be lit with either up lights or down lights. Covered patios extending outward into the yard form the dining room area are illuminated with perimeter ground lights and lights suspended from the ceiling of the patio covering.
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