Totally Lost-- 1980's update
Hi everyone, I have been reading the threads here for awhile, and have gotten SO MUCH great info that this is where I have turned for help on my own problem. I never can seem to find much information on fixing up small, cramped kitchens online, so I figured I would just go for it and ask you guys.
Here is the basic background info:
My kitchen is approximately 11'x9.3' and has a 1980s recessed lightbox. We took down the diffuser panels and pulled off the frame and already the kitchen looks much bigger and more open (as much as a tiny kitchen can). The top of the lightbox area is at the 8' level and is a 4'x6' opening and the furdown itself is at the 7' level-- unfortunately, removing the furdown is not an option due to major structural changes that would have to be made. I am trying to embrace this 12" deep rectangular hole in my ceiling as a sort of tray ceiling, maybe adding some short crown to the top, etc. I should mention that we are trying to do this on a budget because this is a one-income household.
That said, the only lighting in the kitchen is the 3 original fluorescent fixtures inside the recessed area and a few hockey puck under-cabs I installed several years ago-- the kitchen sits in the center of the house, so it has no windows. I have become very accustomed to having LOTS of light from these six T12 bulbs (all the original fixtures), and can not figure out how to change the lighting in the kitchen without suffering heatstroke from recessed lights (remember the 7' ceilings?) or spending way more than I can afford. Honestly, lighting a small room with low ceilings is REALLY confusing and seems to be very challenging.
This evening, we tried a 5 light halogen fixture in the recess and the shadows in the room were horrendous-- the light fixture is GORGEOUS and I wish I could make it work, but I don't see how. Immediately after, we tried putting a four T8 bulb fixture with a nice white diffuser in the recess and ended up with a very dull, only sort-of lit room.
Here is a snapshot of my embarassing kitchen-- it is a disaster due to all of the popcorn scraping we have done (the WHOLE HOUSE) and other various projects going on. I would love to overhaul the whole thing, but right now, all I can do is the lighting and paint (which I think will REALLY help)-- it isn't much of a kitchen but I am trying to make it mine:
I did a sketch (I'm sorry, I am really bad at drawing anything to scale and am really new to all of this so I don't know if I gave you guys enough info) of the kitchen to share with you:
--the counter space next to the where I wrote "7' ceiling" has no cabs above it-- it is open looking into the breakfast nook.
--the dotted line marks about where the lightbox sits
--the counter spaces that have a line through the middle have cabs above them
ANY advice you might be able to offer me would be greatly appreciated-- this has been somewhat of a nightmare to figure out and I am pretty much out of ideas-- well, save for one crazy idea: rebuild the light box about halfway up in the recess using up-to-date materials like pretty crown moulding and matte white diffuser panels. I don't even know if it would work! In theory, it could still provide the level of light I want and end up being a neat fixture...... but it certainly wouldn't be something anyone is used to seeing.
I am happy to provide any additional information you might need and trust me when I say, if you have read this far, I appreciate your time SO much.