How about pendants? How many, what kind with what bulbs?
I also have another bar/peninsula with seating and a small sink I'd like to use with pendants. Is it possible to have it in both areas of this 14X14 kitchen area?
Help!! I'm so tired of these details and don't know who to ask at this point.
I joke with my clients that there comes a point in the design progress where I feel like the coach in the corner of the boxing ring cajoling my clients to step out into the ring just one more time. Deep breaths, come on, you can do it! *grin*
First off, your architect is right; it is indeed simpler having recessed lights for a number of reasons:
- recessed cans take far less planning (where can they be installed where someone won't bump his or her head?)
- installing time (what height should the electrician rewire the cord at?)
- they can be obstructive to some folks whose heads are at the same level as the shades
However, having said all that, if you want a nice design element, there's nothing as attractive as pendant lighting. In this case, you're looking for mini-pendants which have shade sizes from 3" to 8" in circumference.
Let's take a look at what may hopefully help you:
SIZE AND PROPORTION MATTERS
The wider the shade, the more space it takes up, and the more chances there are for it to become an obstacle. I tend to avoid overly large (8"-12") shades which tend to be close to the size of a person's head. Consider shades that are between 4"-8" at the widest circumference.
I allow a pendant for every 2-3 feet of counter, depending on size, style, and the room configuration and then specify the bottom of the shade to the floor at anywhere from 63"-68" depending on the same reasons.
(I should point out for every general tip I give to you, I've also broken, yet they work for me 95% of the time, so I'm passing them along to you.)
How long is your island? In the case of the post I wrote here, the cabinets on either side of the induction cooktop are 30"wide. There are two mini-pendants, one for each side that is approximately 6" in diameter.
LIFESTYLE AND COMMONSENSE CHOICES
Here's a tip: imagine a person getting up off the bar stool -- where will the head be in relation to the mini-pendant? Will it be an area for conversation where the pendant may block the view?
Case in point: I have a wonderful family I'm working with right now, two soon-to-be-tall strapping teenage sons, lots of immediate tall family, great parties with lots of tall friends. Did I mention tall?
This is the first time in a long time I haven't suggested island pendants. I just had such a clear mental picture of the pendants batted like tetherball (also known as swingball outside the US) that I suggested recessed cans. The clients agreed, we're going with recessed cans, and everyone's happy.
There is nothing wrong with not having pendants either. Sometimes, like the photo below, a kitchen looks better without pendants.
SHADE COLOR MATTERS
The color of the shade also plays a factor in whether you want overall area lighting or simply counter lighting. The darker the shade, the less ambient light there will be. Keep that in mind when you're selecting a colored shade, such as the one below, or a glass that is a rich amber or dark blue. It really does block the ambient light until there's nothing left but a pool on light on the counter, which is fine if that's the effect you're going for.
BRIGHT BUT NOT TOO BRIGHT
Let you in on a little secret: there is such a thing as too bright, especially if there is a table nearby or bar seating. 100 watt bulbs are particularly strong and yet it seems a great many pendant lights have them. If you can, look for something in the 60 watt range or consider LED pendants. I find fluorescent bulbs also too blindingly bright if you happen to look up. If you like the fluorescent, consider selecting something that encloses the bulb.
I tend to recommend an electronic low-voltage dimmer for low voltage lighting and a Decora sliding dimmer for regular lighting. I like the softer lighting that the pendants provide after the meal is on the table, and enough to get the pie from the oven or for drinks at the bar seating.
WATCH WALL CABINET DOOR SWINGS ON A PENINSULA
Yes, it is possible to have pendants in multiple areas. One of the biggest mistakes any new designer or do-it-yourself-er will do is specify the pendants for the island, and then specify the same light for the peninsula, completely forgetting the cabinet on the wall next to the light. The light's installed, someone opens the wall cabinet to get a glass and bang! contact with the shade.
It only seems like an obvious mistake in retrospect. Measure the width of the door when it's fully opened to prevent this from happening to you.
Have a good look for mini-pendants here: Lighting Universe. If you're stuck, start by eliminating the ones you don't like and pay attention to your instincts - they're always better than you think they are.