Recessed Lighting Layout for Kitchen - Please help

steph2000September 14, 2013

We are DYI'ing a kitchen remodel. We are in the final stages of nailing down the layout. Work is getting stalled in part because of lighting. We had originally said we'd skip recessed lighting but we've had a change of heart. My partner is now sold on LED recessed lighting for the kitchen - and maybe short hallway right off of it.

We are in a small 1952 ranch with short ceilings (89 1/2"). I want to put 2-3 mini-pendants over the peninsula, but my top choices there are more for accent lighting and not really about task lighting. I just like the idea of having a bit of sparkle there when we aren't cooking.

The problem is, it seems lighting is really a specialty area and hard for first-time DYI'ers to get right. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing you want to get wrong. I'm looking into local options to get some consultations, but so far, that hasn't gone so great.

I'm hoping we can get some input from both professionals and experienced remodelers here.

This is the kitchen, with the rafters in place along with a beginning point for lighting layout:

The DR is to the left of the kitchen. The entry/small living area is to the bottom. To the right is the small hall that leads to the bath, laundry and bedrooms.

I'm not sure what size we should go for the lighting, how far to put them out from the walls/around the perimeter and how many we need. It would be NICE not to have holes all over the kitchen. Right now there is nothing over the fridge area and entry into the kitchen, either. Not sure if that's a problem.

As small as the kitchen is, it seems like maybe one row of recessed down the middle would make sense, but I read that you don't want that as it will cast shadows when you are working on the counter. We will have UCL on the exterior wall that has uppers. On the small range wall/nook, we will only have the range hood lighting - unless we maybe put little lights to accent the tile wall and counters that will be there or something?


Thanks so much in advance!

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I'm working with a handyman to install recessed lights. I don't know anything about the subject. Can someone recommend options, like this:
I heard you can attach a "transformer" to convert the 110 Volt electricity to 10 Volt. So if one room has 4 recessed lights, then I won't need to buy 4 lights at $30 each, which include a LED light with transformer. Instead I could get the LED lights without the transformer, for $10 each. Can anyone make suggestions on this project. To install Recessed LED lights, in 2 bedrooms. Four lights in each room, with a dimmer switch.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 5:16PM
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The led recessed lighting thread and the predecessor have more info.

The cr series from Cree like the RT series from Sylvania are more diffuse than traditional can lights.

The centre does not need to be lit.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Thanks, davidtay. I am actually browsing threads here and tryig to make sense of it.

I just saw a friend's new kitchen in the same subdivision. She moved in to it after the remodel, but doesn't have the details. Her cans seemed to be more like 5" from the outside perimeter, with 4" inside the rim. They had a really different look but seemed kinda bright and sparkley while being nonobtrusive.

It has me rethinking the 6" cans, which she had in her adjoining LR and looked so much more like cheese holes in the ceiling...

Hm...Any idea what those might have been??

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 12:38AM
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The trim ring may be larger or slimmer.

There are a number of vendors for recessed lights- twice bright, nora lighting, sylvania, halo, cree, ...

If you have the lights all of the same size and arranged in a fairly regular pattern, it would be a stretch of imagination to call that swiss cheese.

Figure out the number first. If you're uncomfortable (think that is too many) with that (cost, look), you could remove some and substitute with additional lighting - pendants, cove lighting, UCL, ...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:49AM
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I guess my main take-away, which I don't seem to be communicating very well, was that there was something about the 5" (or are they 4"?) that looked significantly better (and less cheese hole like) than the 6" cans in her home on similar ceilings. They just looked a LOT less obtrusive.

I think part of it was the size in our small homes with short ceilings. But, I think part of it was also that the inner area was different. The bulbs were not receded into the cans. Instead, there was some kind of casing that was even with the ceiling and the bulb area was small (maybe 2"?) and even with that line, too.

The lighting was not diffuse. It was more sparkley and bright.

It was just really interesting, given there were cans on in the adjoining DR that were the 6" we've been considering - and could still use in our adjoining hallway.

I'm explaining this HORRIBLY. I should have taken pics.

Is anything I am saying making sense? Do you have any idea what lights were in that kitchen?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 11:49AM
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There are a number of styles and sizes you can choose from (cost not considered). Some have no diffuser.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Steph2000: ask your friend!!!! I want to know too:)

davidtay: what does a diffuser do? do we want the inner part of the recessed light to be white baffled, silver & reflective, should the lights sit up higher into the ceiling or lower? what's the best way to make the light spread and not look like a spotlight? Does the housing make a difference? You're so helpful with us "lighting knowledge deficient" people:)

I honestly have read through the threads and taken some info, but some things seem to be a little over my head. I gathered that the general consensus is to get the Ecosmart lights from HD, which have the built in trim. I learned to place the lights closer to the cabinets than in the middle of the aisle, I learned how many lumens/sq ft., and the different "temperatures" of the lights.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 10:06AM
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A diffuser is usually a translucent covering. It is used by many led lighting manufacturers to obscure the little glaring point light sources and help in the color mixing.

Led lights like the CR6 and RT 6 have a sufficiently good spread of light that is closer to a surface mount than a traditional can light. The distance is fixed.

If you refer to the recessed can housing as the housing, no, it does not affect the light spread.

The output quoted for the CR6 is the light emitted out of the lamp. If you place an omni directional bulb (60w, ~ 800 lumens) into a can, you could end up getting ~ 600 (or less) out of the can.

A real life example is the new Cree bulb in both the A lamp and BR lamp ( reflector bulb used in recessed cans) form factor. The former gives 800 lumens while the latter provides 650.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:13PM
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