Hanging pot racks protect the life of your cookware and keep everything you need for food preparation right at your fingertips. Unfortunately, hanging models can also cast a shadow on your working surface that makes it difficult to see during food preparation.
As a solution to this problem, a small number of manufacturers produce lighted pot racks, which have electric lighting included in their designs. The light not only eliminates shadows, but can also make it easier to see to work. We created our Buyers' Guide to Lighted Pot Racks to guide you through the shopping process and make selecting the perfect model for your space simple.Considerations
Before shopping for your illuminated rack, you'll need to do an assessment of your space to determine where it can be placed. The simplest way to add a rack with lights is to replace an overhead light fixture with the rack, so that you can benefit from the existing wiring in your ceiling. Your new rack will come with electrical wire and instructions on how to properly use this piece to connect your rack's lighting to the power supply. If you don't have a light in your ceiling that you can replace, you may need to contact an electrician for assistance in modifying the wiring in your home to accommodate your new lighted pot rack.Measuring
To ensure your illuminated rack fits perfectly in your kitchen, you'll need to measure the space carefully prior to shopping. If you have a drywall ceiling, start off by using a stud finder to locate the joists in your ceiling, as you will need to install your rack into a joist to ensure that it remains securely in place. If you have a plaster or masonry ceiling, consult a contractor or stonemason for assistance with locating the joists and selecting the spot on your ceiling that is best for your rack.
Once you have determined where you'll hang the piece, you're ready to start measuring. Start off by determining your reach height, which is equivalent to your height plus 6 inches. Next, examine the cookware that you'll want to hang and measure the length of the smallest piece. Add that length to your reach height and then subtract that distance from the height of your ceiling. The figure you'll obtain is the minimum height that will work in your space.
For the length and width, measure the working surface over which you will be hanging the piece. Then, you'll want to subtract 12 inches from each measurement to allow for adequate clearance and safety.Shape
Once you have established the perfect size for your illuminated rack, you can begin thinking about its overall shape. Typically, the shape will be determined by your own personal aesthetic preferences, but there are some features of the standard shapes that you should keep in mind when making your decision.
Models come in three basic shapes.
Materials and Finishes
- Rectangle styles allow for the largest amount of hanging space due to their corners. Most styles include the grate necessary for hanging cookware from the center of the rack as well as from the sides. Rectangle styles typically feature two chains for hanging.
- Oval styles have a rounder appearance at the ends that some homeowners prefer over the angled look of a rectangular style. These curved ends do reduce the hanging area on both the frame and at the center of the piece. Like rectangle styles, most oval models with lights come with center grates and have two chains for hanging.
- Round styles usually have just one chain and resemble a chandelier lighting fixture, making them appealing to some homeowners. Round styles have the smallest amount of hanging area, however, so some people with large cookware collections often choose other shapes over the balanced look of a round rack. Round racks with lights usually come with their center grates.
Most models are made from steel due to its durability and strength. Manufacturers offer the racks with both the natural look of steel and with paint added to the surface to bring color into your kitchen and coordinate with your decor. Lighted pot racks are generally available in six different paint colors and finishes.
- The satin steel finish has a sleek silver color that shows off the beauty of the metal. The surface is buffed to make it slightly reflective without a full mirror finish that can become fingerprinted and smudged.
- The copper finish gives a rack a rich look that is slightly orange and intended resemble copper metal.
- The rust color is a warm brown shade that coordinates with a variety of color palettes.
- Black paint is a bold neutral that complements a variety of decors. This paint color is called leather by some manufacturers.
- Natural sand paint gives the frame a sunny, cheery color that is a mix of yellow and beige.
- The copper brushed black paint is predominantly black in color with flecks of orange running through it. Another name for the paint color is copper brushed leather.
If you are unsure what color will look best in your home, take into consideration the color of the paint on your walls, the hardware on your cabinetry, the cabinetry itself your appliances, your flooring and your counter tops. You'll likely want to match one or more of these shades as closely as possible or introduce a completely contrasting color to the room to add a dramatic effect. An example of a contrast would be selecting a black piece in a room with neutral walls, cherry cabinetry and stainless steel appliances.
Whichever paint color or finish you choose, your illuminated rack will generally be coated to resist rusting; however, if your rack is subjected to heavy use or if you use a harsh cleaner on its surface, you may develop rust. Should this occur, use a mild soap on painted racks to lift away the rust. If you have a satin steel finish piece, you can use a rust remover. Painted frames should always be cleaned with mild soaps as stronger cleaners can strip away the color.Lights
One you have decided what color or finish on a lighted rack will bring the most to your decor, you're ready to start considering the type of lighting that you prefer. Most racks with lights will have at least two lights though some have several. Like the shape and the finish and color, the type of lighting you choose is largely an aesthetic preference.
There are four primary types of lighting found in today's styles.
- Built in lights are hidden from view within the frames, so you cannot tell that they are there until you switch on the illumination. When lit, the built in lights will shine directly down from the frame itself to illuminate the area beneath.
- Candle lights are crafted to resemble taper candles and have special bulbs that look like flames. Generally, candle lights are found on round racks and are intended to make the pieces look even more like chandeliers. As the lights are mounted along the outside of the frame, the light provided from the candle bulbs will shine outward and down rather than directly downward.
- Shade lights are covered with fabric-covered frames or glass frames to make them resemble lamps. Models with this style of lighting are usually round or oval in shape. Like candle lights, shade lights will shine both down and outward when illuminated, and the shade softens the light produced by the bulbs..
- Cup or trumpet lights are shaped like the letter V with a glass covering that surrounds the bulb to soften the light and add style to the design. The light produced from cup lights will be projected outwards and downwards. Typically, this style of lighting is used on round and oval racks.
Many illuminated rack styles combine built-in lighting with candle, shade or cup lights to fully illuminate your work area.Features
The last element to consider when shopping for your illuminated rack is what features you might benefit from in addition to the standard storage space provided by adding a rack to your home. For example, many rectangle styles have open designs that allow you to use the tops of their grates as shelves for additional storage or holding decorative items. Anything that you place on the grate is completely visible and only requires you to reach up to retrieve it.
Oval and round styles may have raised sides that form a frame around the grate. With the addition of this frame, you can use the grate as a shelf and keep the items stored there partially concealed. You will have to reach your hand up over the ledge to retrieve any items, so you may find it difficult to grab anything that does not extend above the ledge.