Once upon a time, the kitchen was the most utilitarian room in the house. Used by cooks, maids and servants, it was a dark, poky place to which no attention was paid in terms of either ergonomics or décor. Nowadays, the kitchen is where we live and entertain – and the thinking that goes into designing a kitchen is entirely different.
Function, of course, is still important. But these days, designer touches don’t stop at the kitchen door and chandeliers aren’t just for dining rooms.
Atraditional chandelier radiates a formal, sophisticated ambience which perfectly complements an elegant kitchen that extends into a dining or entertaining area. Showing off a chandelier in such a setting serves as a stylistic focal point and also unifies the two spaces.
The glitz of a chandelier also balances a serene colour palette in terms of contrast and wow-ness. In fact, says Heather Moe of Design Moe Kitchen & Bath, the last five years have seen a huge change in the way that people look at kitchen lighting. When working on a new design, she routinely installs seven levels of illumination: countertop and general lighting, under-cabinet task lighting, over-cabinet up lighting, accent cabinet lighting, some supporting sconce fixtures (mounted on walls or on cabinets), ceiling lighting and a central accent fixture.
Another designer tip is to mix soft and hard. The antique black chandelier in the photo below softens and offsets the hard, solid masculine materials that have been used in the rest of the room.
Amy Beth CuppDragoo of ABCD Design believes that – in large spaces especially – repetition and balance are key: “I decided to do a black Hungarian crystal chandelier in this kitchen because this is a loft, and the dining area was in an ‘L’ off of the kitchen. I wanted the fixture to stand out against the white wood hood and kitchen cabinets, and it needed to play off the black enamel Viking range. We already had black and white happening throughout the kitchen, and I felt that clear crystal wouldn’t ‘pop’ like black would. It was the obvious choice for the room.”
As dramatic as chandeliers can be, it is important to choose one that fits the space – when picking yours out, keep the size of your kitchen its ceiling-height in mind.
And a kitchen needn’t be traditional or classic to carry off a chandelier. Match the room’s quirk-factor to that of the fixture, and you’ll have a match that’ll rival even the best of Nigella’s chocolate puddings.
Robin Denker of Kitchens By Design sums up the concept nicely: “I love a little bit of surprise in a room, and of course hanging a chandelier gives me just that. Add a little bit of bling, something unexpected.”