Is My Kitchen Too Dark? (pic)

xand83February 21, 2011

We are trying to wrap up our kitchen re-model. We had an old track lighting system in the kitchen with only 2 working bulbs. No under-cab lighting. It wasn't too dark b/c those 2 lights were really bright. Well, and everything in the old kitchen was mid-nineties white.

We replaced the fixture months ago with an Ikea fixture that had 3 35w halogen bulbs. Post kitchen remodel we now have under-cab LEDs and are very happy with them. However, the ceiling lamp seems a little dark and we notice a lot of shadows being cast. We have about 68" of length between the 2 soffits. The fixture has to be less than 27" wide as it fits between an air register & a sprinkler system.

Is there a better lighting option for this kitchen? It's a basement condo and there are no windows in the kitchen. Thanks!

UCL lights off:

UCL lights on:

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bh401
I would think you need more wattage. Possibly this with 3 100w halogens

3 75w halogens

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 75w halogens

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:30PM
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xand83

Thanks for your suggestion bh401! I was tempted to install another halogen fixture, because their look is pretty sleek overall. I think we had a major ambient light problem, and I wanted to stray from doing 3 halogen lights again. I bought a decorative fluorescent light fixture at HD and, after trying different bulbs, settled on the T8 Philips in neutral.

I wanted to stay away from halogen, but I think this situation warranted it. The halogen fixtures put out a more yellow light that was hot and I remember not alway being comfortable under the old fixture (low ceilings!). It seemed most of the track lighting would have given us the same problem that we were trying to rectify, with shadows and such.

It's much brighter, but it's a soft light and a low-profile fixture.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:17AM
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xand83

Argh- That last paragraph should read, "I wanted to stay away from fluorescent, but I think..."

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:20AM
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DavidR

I wanted to stay away from fluorescent ...

Fluorescents have improved 1000% in the last decade or two. Modern electronic ballasts have eliminated flicker and striking delays, and tri-phosphor lamps produce a much higher quality of light. Efficiency has gotten even better. And they remain quite affordable. They deserve a second look.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:42AM
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bh401

Looks much brighter. I was hesitant to suggest fluorescents because alot of people just flat out don't like them. That's why I tried to post(not sure what happened) ones similar to what you had up there.

I saw your kitchen on your "orange" post. Thought it looked like you changed the lights.

I think you did a great job!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 3:19PM
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xand83

Thanks! I think the fluorescent fixture really helps with the overall brightness. I just didn't think another track system would be able to light both the upper cabs and the rest of the kitchen in that short a span (68"). And recessed lighting was out as we have HVAC and the sprinkler in the ceiling. Infuriating place!

I'm pretty happy with the fixture overall. I wish some of the pics didn't show the upper cabinets so yellow, as they very much are not. But that is just the camera/pictures, they look white in person. It's just nice to be able to see now! haha

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 6:39PM
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DavidR

I know someone who did about the same thing. The contractor built her new house with cans in the kitchen. Within weeks after moving in, she called him back and had him send out the electrician to install a nice, bright central fluorescent fixture. Dark, shadowy kitchen problem solved.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 2:56AM
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xand83

Minor update. So, fluorescent lighting is tricky. The fixture in the picture above was bright. A definite step up. But two 48" T8 bulbs were too much for our kitchen. We gave it a go for, what, 3 weeks? But it was just too bright and I felt the light clashed with the under-cab LEDs. And that's with the neutral T8 bulbs. I think the pic above shows the warmer kitchen/bath rated bulbs. All together, too warm & too much.

So, another trip to HD today, and I came home with another fluorescent fixture (forehead slap). A circular 32w at 4100k. The white cabinets are now white and we don't need sunglasses to walk in the kitchen. I think it's definitely better. We'll give this one another 3 weeks and see! Ha!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:24PM
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DavidR

Glad you got it sorted. For future reference, you can operate most 2-lamp electronic ballast fluorescent fixtures with only one lamp. The light output will be a bit more than half.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 8:10PM
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