The kitchen is the most-used room in a home often acting as the social hub of a family. What makes the kitchen so special? Food, of course, and along with food comes all the warm, fuzzy feelings of belonging and being taken care of. The kitchen’s association with nourishment makes it a comfortable place, perfect for a relaxed, solitary cup of coffee in the morning or for time with family or friends around dinner time, chatting about the day’s events, or spending time cooking or eating a casual meal together.
Since the kitchen is so important for psychological and physical well-being, it is worth one’s while to make that space as welcoming as possible. Using glass block to let in as much natural light as possible is one very effective way to heighten the good-feeling atmosphere of your kitchen. Glass block is a great material in the kitchen for other reasons as well: it is easy to clean and it is durable.
Benefits of Natural Light in the Kitchen
There’s nothing more cheery than a kitchen that is suffused with natural light. Natural light boosts mood and productivity, creating a ripple effect of even more benefits. Consider this somewhat tangential effect of natural lighting on food preparation for an example. If you’re preparing a meal in a room that makes you feel good, you’re more likely to put that good energy and attention into your food as well which will likely translate to better tasting food that brings joy to yourself and others as well. Of course, part of that effect is due to the more functional aspect of good lighting: if you’re only vaguely seeing what you’re cooking — the size of the chop, the colors, the cooking doneness and so on— the results may be less than stellar.
There are safety benefits to natural lighting as well. Natural light is great for keeping mold at bay in humid areas such as the kitchen. Good lighting, both natural and artificial, also increases safety. Seeing what you’re doing when you’re handling sharp knives and hot appliances is critically important.
A Layered Approach to Lighting In Your Kitchen
To get the right amount of lighting — both natural and artificial — in your kitchen you should pay attention to three basic categories of lighting function:
Ambient Lighting: This is general overall lighting and includes windows, skylights and any other overhead lighting..
Task Lighting: This is a brighter lighting to illuminate work areas such as countertops and islands.
Accent Lighting: Accent lighting is used to highlight kitchen decor, architectural features, or to contribute to the atmosphere of the room.
Using this layered approach as a guide, your kitchen will be beautiful, safe and efficient with the right amount of light to perform cooking preparation without shadow or glare. Let’s see how glass block can be used for lighting during the daytime, using these three basic categories as a guide.
Using Glass Block To Get More Natural Light in Your Kitchen
Glass block is a great material to use in the kitchen because it is so versatile and beautiful as well as functional. Glass block comes in a variety of patterns, colors and opacities allowing for unlimited creativity with your kitchen lighting. It is also very easy to clean and it won’t scratch.
Adding Natural Ambient Light in Your Kitchen With Glass Block
Glass block windows can contribute greatly to ambient lighting. The magic of glass block is that you don’t need to sacrifice privacy to let the light shine through. Because glass block comes in a range of opacities, you can play with the amount of direct or diffused light to create a crisp or soft atmosphere.
Beyond the obvious places for windows, also consider some of the more unique vacant wall areas such as the space between cabinets, or closer to the ceiling with celestial windows.
As well as allowing daylight to shine into your kitchen through windows, glass block can allow light to flow into the kitchen from other rooms, adding to the ambient light and making the space feel more open.
Adding Natural Task Lighting in Your Kitchen With Glass Block
One of the most beautiful and dramatic ways to use glass block for daytime task lighting in the kitchen is with a glass block window backsplash — essentially a glass block window tucked under the kitchen cabinets, behind the countertop. Not only will a glass block backsplash light your work area during the day, it will provide a beautifully ethereal glow throughout the kitchen, adding to the ambient lighting. As mentioned above, glass block is also extremely easy to clean, making it the perfect material for a backsplash.
Adding Natural Accent Lighting in Your Kitchen With Glass Block
Glass block can also be used for accent lighting during the daytime hours — either because it allows sunlight to highlight the kitchen’s features, or because it is used as the focus accent itself — an accent that adds to the brightness of a kitchen.
One of the more interesting kitchen accent lighting ideas we’ve seen is a wall of glass block with glass-doored kitchen cabinets hung from the ceiling in front of it. Not only does the glass wall provide superb ambient lighting, increasing the feeling of openness and space of the kitchen, it highlights the cabinetry and the crockery inside.
Using glass block kitchen focal pieces adds to the kitchen’s atmosphere and style, and will also increase the general brightness throughout the kitchen because of the light that flows through the piece or reflects off it. Here’s few ideas to get you started on how to incorporate glass block focal pieces into your kitchen:
- A glass block kitchen island
- Glass block open shelving using the glass block as the vertical and wood or some other material as the horizontal.
- A glass block tile-like backsplash
Glass Block For a Bright, Cheery Kitchen
We hope these ideas have sparked your creativity on how you can incorporate glass block into your kitchen remodel to provide natural light that serves different purposes. Because glass block is so versatile and comes in many different opacities, patterns and colors, you can play with the amount and type of light to create the exact atmosphere you’d like in a highly functional kitchen that adds to the pleasure of food, cooking and handing out with friends and family.