Creating a tray ceiling from 1980s recessed flourescent light

tracey63June 23, 2010

You know what I am talking about - those ugly flourescent lights covered by plastic panels (bug catchers in our home) that are recessed in the kitchen ceiling. They are typical of houses built in the 70s and 80s. I am thinking of creating a tray ceiling,putting crown modeling inside and then hanging a light or placing recessed lights. I just don't know what it would like and have had limited success searching for pictures on the internet of such a remodel. Does anyone have any photos or a website to give me ideas about what I am envisioning. Did you keep the area square or change the shape? Many thanks in advance

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Hi,sorry I do not have any pictures but I remodeled a house several years ago and did the recessed lights in the same setup. I painted a mural inside to go with a little handmade mosaic countertop I did, I also trimed the ceiling out with simple crown. I got lots of compliments on it. I say go for's fairly easy to do but bad on the neck.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 5:15PM
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Here is a before and after of our 1980 California home with the fluorescent lights and plastic panel. We "upgraded" our solid plastic panel to a grid panel some time in the 80s, but the ugly factor was still there nonetheless.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Here's mine from a house that was recently sold. The light is from Ikea and the arms can be bent to fit the space. The lights can be adjusted to point light where you need it.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:03PM
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I don't have any photo's, but in one house they ran a large crown molding around the bottom edge placing some up-lighting hidden behind it. Then they added some recessed cans around the lower soffit ceiling. In another house they just cleaned it up, and added a small crown around the top with some recessed cans. In our case, we bit the bullet and ripped it all out right up to the ceiling joists, returning the entire ceiling back to normal height. The original dropped ceiling ran down the hall all the way to the front door, so it cost us a bit more, but it was well worth it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 8:09AM
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    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:25AM
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I had this builder's site bookmarked for tray soffit ceilings, for inspiration.

How big is your light? Our mid-70's subdivision was built with these, mostly 4 foot square. I've seen houses for sale (never in person) where they did not enlarge the light area and it looked odd in scale to me - much too small. A friend in the neighborhood enlarged hers some and made it into a hexagon (or maybe octagonal) shape and put florescent lights behind crown molding up there - it looked very nice and threw a lot of light.

Here is a link that might be useful: tray soffit ceilings

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 2:30PM
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We had a large rectangular fixture we removed. We fixed up the drywall and installed two solar tubes, and then have recessed cans around the perimeter area of the kitchen. It looks so much better, and we don't ever turn on the lights during the day. I don't have a pic I can post right now, but I'll see if I can figure that out later...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 3:48PM
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