Please critique this lighting plan

scrappy25March 10, 2010

Here is the planned first floor house addition, back view. The addition is 12 feet deep and 30 feet wide, not counting the screened porch to the right. You don't need to read the writing, this is for a general overview.

Here is the bare bones floor plan

Here is the lighting and electrical plan for the kitchen (i'm not including the screened porch in this discussion). This is from my architect. I tried to shade in the cabinets to make it more legible. I'd like to have critique on the banks of lights and the switching design. I have more specific questions to follow. I know the kitchen table should be moved more towards the island. BTW the only island seating is at the end by the sofa.

$- light switches

-3 pendants over kitchen island

-others are potlights

-under counter lighting in office area on on cooktop run. Not on sink run since there are appliance garages under the two upper cabinets there.


1. I thought I saw some advice here to put the potlights on the edge of the counters. This plan seems to be lighting the aisles. Which is better?

2. I would like to add two skylights, preferably over the kitchen area, but don't know the best place for it.

3. I'm torn between 3 pendants over the island, or a ceiling fan. It does get hot in the summer. I suggested putting one big ceiing fan between the sofa and kitchen island, but my architect said that looked out of place. She thought the ceiling fan should be in the center of a definted area.

4. Should the under counter lights also be switched on the wall beside the front wall?

Here are some things I have already thought of:

1. Should connect all 3 backyard lights and switch them from both the patio sliders and the screened porch exit.

2. She does not have the outlets for appliances on here, I think by intent.

2. I need double outlets inside both appliance garages.

4. Ceiling fan should be switched from a more central location than the back wall.

5. Disposal will be an air switch on the counter, not a wall switch.

I appreciate and comments and suggestions! I will cross post in lighting linking to this thread.

thanks in advance.

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Here are the things that I feel you will not like once you are up and running.

1. You need to decide where you think you will prep, your potlights are lighting your walkway/ailes and you may end up with a shadow over your work space even if you have undercounter lighting.

2. Be mindful of the skylights, love the sunlight, but depending on where they are placed and time of year, you could bake while yourn prepping your Sunday afternoon dinner.

3.If it gets too hot in the summer, no skylights, and I love the 3 pendants they add a great look. You can always put up a floor fan when it is really hot that way you are not stuck with a fan in the middle of the kitchen, also with a ceiling fan you can't really have lights around it because they will strob while the fan runs, may be more of a disco kitchen :)

4. In my opinion you have WAY TOO MANY light switches. I would never figure out which switch did what. I am either an all ON or all OFF gal, and I like dimmer switches. You should decide which lights will be on at the same time. I would consider putting all the general lighting from the kitchen and kitchen table area together, desk by itself, island lighting on a switch, task lighting over sink on 1 switch, disposal on a switch, and all undercounter lighting on a switch. I would put your undercounter lighting switch where you will be coming and going most of the time or where you will be preping. I think that cuts 12 switches to 6.

5. Do you want a fixture over the kitchen table?

1. I agree with you all outside lights on one switch!

2. I think the circles with slashes are applince outlets maybe? If they are she put your outlets on your island where people are to sit. They should be on the end you are going to prep on.

3. Yes I would put outlets in the garages for sure. Do you have enough counter space to deal with dishes with both garages right there on either side of the sink?

4. I like the fan in the TV area. May not be seeing what you are asking.

5. You can always have them run your disposal switch to under the sink in the cabinet, that is where mine is and I love it there, I never turn it on trying to turn on a light.

The biggest complaint I would have would be that other than undercounter lights you have no task lighting (except over your main sink) and you general walking around lighting I think is going to produce a shadow on your work space and I have a light that does that now and I never work there because I cannot see ever. Also you mentioned your island seating is on the sofa end, your open floor plan is wonderful, if you sit at the island you are going to always have your back to the den or TV which means everyone will always be turned around possible in the other direction, you have enough walkway for 2 feet of turned people on barstools and a 36"-42" walkway behind the couch? If not you may want to move the seating to the kitchen table side.

I think you have a great floor plan for your space that you will really enjoy!!! Good Luck!!! Hope I helped!!!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 11:35PM
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I agree there are way many switches and I couldn't figure out what controlled what either.

The sofa will be somewhat overly bright-lit by 5 can fixtures. I think I would just take out the 4 center cans in the tv area. It's probably better done with lamps and one or two wall washers. Same thing for the desk area - the two cans behind the seated person will make looking at anything while seated at the desk difficult. Consider task lights under the wall bridge with a switch at the desk only.

I think of lights as task lights, walking around lights or decorative. The island pendants can be either decorative or functional, depends on height and wattage. In your case, the pendants may conflict with the television so perhaps consider working in a couple of cans over the island. That way, the working side will be properly lit even if the tv watchers start yelling about the pendants.

I'd want to drift the remaining cans to the edge of the counter, so at least some the light was directly on the counter and not blocked by my head and body. I think I'd switch the counter edge cans together on dimmers as walking around light in the kitchen. I think maybe a total of 4 or 5 cans across the back hall, switched together on dimmers as walking through the space lights.

I agree with planning for a fixture over the table space, but consider also adding two mini-cans winged out just a bit from the center on a different switch with a dimmer instead of those three cans. This would allow for anything from romantic dinner lighting up to pressing it into use as additional prep space. It also lets you pick out the best looking fixture without too much concern for how much light it puts out. The other choice, I guess, is to think about if you'd like another fan there.

For additional task lights, the under cabinet lighting and the hood lights will work out fine. Remember that refs and ovens generally now have adequate lighting built in.

So to me, groupings would be the walk through the back hall at the garage door, the stairs and possibly the back door. Kitchen general lighting, and the island light switches on the range wall near the back door, and on the cleanup wall near the other door. Table lights switch near the stairs.

Undercabinet lights switch together on the wall they control. A switch with a dimmer for the mood lighting of the tv area with a lamp or two for reading. The switch for the mood lights could be only at the stairs.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:22AM
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I'm far from a lighting expert, However we just finished our kitchen and can say with certainty that the cans should be at the very edge of your countertop - regardless if you have under cabinet lighting.

Also, you may want to consider having the cans closer to the front of the basement stairs, small pantry, and garage entry. (perhaps in a line right across that wall from one end to the other?)

Like the pendants over the island instead of a fan. Fan looks good over the living area.

Good luck in your reno!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:49PM
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Thank you for all your advice! I can't access gardenweb from work and have been working a lot, so unable to respond until now. Based on the sugggestions above

1. No ceiling fan in kitchen, keep the pendants over the island
2. Consider extra lighting over the table in addition to potlights; at least wire for it.
3. Decrease the complexity of the switches
4. Potlights need to move over the edge of the counters.
5. Consider removing potlights around ceiling fan (or put on dimmers) in the tv area and the potlights in front of the office.
6. Back hallways lights on dimmers

Thank you! I will be taking this to the local lighting store to see their suggestions, and look at what they have.

Other questions-
1. If I move the potlights over the edge of the counters, there will be about 6 feet bettween them and the island pendants. Will it matter that the aisles are not well lit? Would you also put some potlights on the edge of the island in case the pendants are not switched on?
2.Does it make sense to light the aisle between the sofa and the island?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 11:44PM
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