Are There Any Rules & Regulations for Kitchen Lighting in the UK?

Many people will agree that the kitchen is the most important room in your house. After all, it is where you cook, clean and socialise with your household members and guests. So, it is important to get everything right from appliances to lighting.

Lighting is a ‘make or break’ for a kitchen. Lighting sets the mood of the entire room.

Types of Lighting

The three types of lighting you use in your home are ambient, task and accent.

Ambient lighting is known as the mood setting light. It is the general light for the entire room and involves using brightness, colour and temperature to create the perfect atmosphere. The most common type of ambient lighting is ceiling light.

One type of ambient lighting that is becoming increasingly popular for kitchens is called recessed lighting. Recessed lighting is circle holes in feelings that shine downwards to create general lighting. In the past, many people would be put off opting for this type of light as the bulbs would gather a lot of dust, however if you install LED bulbs in the recessed light then this problem is almost eliminated.

Task lighting does not illuminate the entire room, it is more focused and placed where you would be completing a task. For example, if you will be prepping meals and chopping up food in the same area of the kitchen, you could install task lighting instead. This uses less electricity so it will actually save you money!

One way to implement task lighting into your kitchen is by using under cabinet lighting, which you can turn on whilst completing tasks underneath your cabinets. There are many different customisable options for this due to the versatility of LED lights - so you can get the lighting to be dimmed or even in different colours.

Accent lighting highlights a certain area of the room, this can look great in kitchens if you want to highlight your favourite features about the room. This type of lighting has become increasingly popular due to the rise of LED lights, as you can place them anywhere in your home and are flexible with many ways to get creative.

One positioning of accent lighting that looks unique is cabinet lighting. If you have a cabinet filled with trinkets, dinner sets that you love or antiques - adding lighting will highlight this feature to anyone that enters the room. You could use LED strip lights to achieve this look.

LED lighting is the way forward! LED lights use a lot less electricity than traditional bulbs, this is energy efficient and will save you money. LED lights have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs too, so you will not have to replace them as regularly. This will save you time and money. In a commercial setting replacing lights is a huge inconvenience as you may need to close for a few hours or even days whilst the lighting is being replaced, resulting in loss of earnings.

Commercial Kitchen Lighting

Ensuring that you abide by rules and regulations for commercial kitchen lighting is vital, it ensures that all of your staff are safe and there are no health and safety complications. If you hire a professional to fit your lighting they should ensure that everything fitted is up to the legal and industry standards.

Natural light is important when considering kitchen lighting. Whilst you will be mainly relying on artificial light, natural light will improve the conditions of work for your employees. When implementing natural light you need to carefully think about the positioning, as if a window is placed poorly it may create a glare. The designer should consider how artificial and natural light will work together and not cause unnecessary problems.

In the UK there are no rules about what the luminance levels have to be, however a general rule of thumb is that 500 lux is appropriate for an average kitchen. Yet if you are working with more detail-oriented food then this will have to be increased. An industry tip is to illuminate 100 lux more than what you need, as the light will fade over time.

Furthermore, lights should be fitted in places where it is easy access to clean, this is to prevent any food health and safety risks. Dust tends to build up on lights and this is a risk in the kitchen as it could fall into food.

Beyond lighting for aesthetic purposes and practicality, you need to consider lighting for safety too. Emergency lighting’s purpose is to be able to light the way for employees to leave the building safely, it should turn on automatically yet backup is required too in event of power failure.

Firstly you should identify possible hazards, such as steps or change of flooring and situate lighting nearby. Lighting needs to be placed by exits so that employees know where to walk to. This will ensure safe removal from the building.

Rules & Regulations

There are not many rules and regulations for kitchen lighting in the UK to follow, which makes your life much easier. However, there are a few different rules to follow.

Firstly, in September 2021, the government decided to phase out halogen bulbs to encourage the public to opt for LED lights. Whilst shops are allowed to sell halogen bulbs until stocks run out, it is a good idea to choose LED lights, as you will not be able to buy halogen bulbs in the UK within the next few months.

Furthermore, UK law requires that downlights are fire rated. When you create a hole in your ceiling, you are creating a potential fire hazard, yet this is unavoidable if you want a downlight. But fire rated lights delay the fire from spreading.

The IP rating is more an issue for bathroom lighting water is more likely to be in contact with the light there.

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