Lighting selections are more than a personal aesthetic in the French kitchen; they’re a practical choice. Where you place lighting and windows has a direct impact on your cooking needs.
Kitchen windows were of paramount importance in centuries-old chateaus. Before electric was available, cooks needed daylong natural light in order to complete their chores. Window banks were usually on two walls to attain the most light for the longest amount of time. This is why old homes in France typically have the kitchen room built into a corner of the home with two external walls.
Modern French kitchens need plenty of natural light for growing fresh herbs, a popular culinary tradition. A few big south- or west-facing windows will provide a gorgeous, bright haven for a fragrant, homegrown indoor garden.
Having a warm countertop near a bright window is also a prime spot to proof yeast-risen baked goods. A stone section added to the surface will absorb the sun’s rays as the day progresses and make the proofing process more efficient.
Recessed lighting, sometimes referred to as can lights, is a great option for illuminating dark corners under cabinets and accenting focus areas of the kitchen. They’re relatively inexpensive, can be easily installed, and add a level of sophistication to a room.
Recessed lighting is especially useful over dimly lit work areas and can greatly increase the amount of useable space in your kitchen. The ignored corner beside the sink can become a vegetable preparation area or a nook by the range can become a staging area for baking.
The ambiance of a kitchen can be enhanced with a few strategically placed lights. An average, pretty flower arrangement comes to life when softly lit with a low-intensity overhead light. A cabinet or side table of beautiful dishware and antiques can be brought into subtle focus with a few recessed lights.
- If you chose to create a proofing area near a window, make sure the window seals are completely intact. Even a slight draft will cause yeast-risen dough to fall.
- Don’t overload on under-cabinet lights. One every eighteen inches will be the sufficient in most cases.
- Chose your kitchen’s accent areas wisely. Three should be the maximum for even large rooms.
- If you have the opportunity to design your kitchen from scratch, place a large window above the sink and near every oft-used workspace.