Get your recessed cans right, and the rest is easy
Most kitchens nowadays are illuminated with recessed-can lights. Despite the boost they provide over the single ceiling fixture of the past, they don’t provide the right amount of light in the right locations if their placement has not been carefully planned and if they are not part of a three-layered system that includes ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent or decorative lighting. In this article, Jeffrey R. Dross, corporate director for education and industry trends at Kichler Lighting, explains how to get the ambient layer right. This is the layer typically created by recessed cans. Dross begins by explaining the importance of beam angle, which is the angle at which light radiates from a lamp. In the case of recessed cans, this angle is cone-shaped. Proper placement means beam angles crossing about 6 in. above countertop height and being far enough away from cabinets so as not to create a glare on their surface. The next step is determining how strong the lamps need to be. This is calculated using two measures: footcandle and candlepower. Dross concludes with a demonstration of how the ambient-lighting needs for a sample kitchen would be determined.