Basic 'rules' for placement of lights?

BalTraOctober 30, 2011


This is my first post to the lighting forum.

I am the GC for my kitchen. It's a small galley-style without uppers. Interior townhome with southern windows only. Peninsula opens the kitchen to the dining room, which also has southern light and some from north (living room) as well.

The counter run along the West wall is 131" long, peninsula is 84" long on East side. Frig will be recessed to the North wall. Sink on West wall. Cooktop on peninsula. Both more or less centered.

I'm planning on recessed cans, 6" so I can someday upgrade to LED (is this a correct assumption?)

What is the convention for spacing of the lights? Distance from the wall = ? Distance from upper cabinets (were there to be any!) = ?

How bright should they be?

And I plan some simple, small pendants over the peninsula. I'd like three as I prefer an odd number.

Nothing fancy planned! Looking for simple, straightforward, with a result of few shadows and good lighting - hopefully with the option of having things be not too bright in the wee hours of the morning!

Thanks in advance,


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LED modules from CREE will fit into either 4" or 6" recessed cans.

Others will also fit into 5" cans.

In all cases, the led module is separate from the can.

The convention is to have the cans ~ 26" - 30" from the wall. The offset from the upper cabinets (& crown molding) has already been figured in.

The spacing between cans should be ~ 3' to 4'. The simple rule of thumb I used is to achieve ~ 35 lumens per sq ft. ((Total_sq_footage * 35) - output_from_other_sources) / (output_per_can) gives the # of cans needed.

The final position/ layout of the cans is affected by the layout of your ceiling joists, pipes, wiring, ductwork, etc in the space above the ceiling.

A standard 60W incandescent light produces ~ 800 lumens. Put it into a can and the effective output drops significantly. Maybe to 400 - 500 lumens?

The bulk of the LED recessed can modules have an output ~ 500+ (575 for CR6) to 650 (std LR6) and definitely outperform all recessed can lights.

Normally, the light color is 2700k.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 11:14AM
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