Small Galley Kitchen and Lighting

WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8aJuly 15, 2012

My kitchen has an old fluorescent ceiling fixture that I would like to replace. Having never replaced such a fixture, I am having a hard time at what kind of replacement to look. The fixture must be ceiling hugging; ceiling is too low for chandelier type (even though that is what I would love to have).

Please point me in the right direction, so I can quit wasting time and get the light replaced.

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What you want to be looking for is flushmount or semi-flushmount (which hangs about 4-6" down) ceiling fixtures. Google those terms or go to your local lighting store or places like Home Depot and look at those types of fixtures. Unfortunately for lighting, there are literally millions of choices at every price point.

What type of knobs/pulls do you have on your cabinets - maybe start there for the type of finish you want for your light. Does your kitchen/house lend itself to a particular style - start there for fixtures.

So for example you might wind up looking for "flushmount nickel contemporary lighting fixture"

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:54PM
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A single central light fixture is absolutely the worst type of light for any workroom. A kitchen is a workroom with sharp things, and hot things, and obstacles underfoot. You want the best lighting you can get. That means more lighting fixtures than just a single central light.

Split that central light into three flush or semi flush fixtures. That will light your traffic path in the middle. You want to also install some recessed lighting that wash light down the front of your cabinets. That adds detail to the general lighting and puts the focus on the cabinets. Undercabinet lighting puts light directly on your work surface where you need it the most. All of these should be on dimmer switches. And you might think about some decorative pendant lights that also serve as task lights if you have the space. Many galley's don't, but even in a galley, you probably want a light above your sink. That could be two sconces mounted on the window frame to either side of the sink, or it could be a pendant above the sink, or it could be recessed lighting above the sink. It depends on your kitchen's layout and style.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Although many will tell you the ideal thing to do, many of us cannot afford that. I renovated my wider galley last year and couldn't afford the recessed lights I wanted to put through out. It had a center ceiling fixture at the end my the fridge and sink and then a chandlier for you to hit your head on at the other end (they had a small table at that end) and a recessed light in the soffit over the sink. I opted to do two things, I put a new center ceiling fixture near the stove and sink and put a can light over the sink when I took out the soffit. From Judy's New Kitchen

And down at the far end which is very dark because of no windows, I put a matching pendant over the little eating area I built and then put in two can lights to light up the dark corner and the open counter area I like to work on. From Judy's New Kitchen

Although far from the lighting system my electrician recommended for the room, I find it very functional and have no issues with light.

I am moving this fall into a new house with a small galley kitchen that I just gutted. There is no windows in the cabinet area at all. In that case, I just had the central fixture replaced with 5 can lights and I added undercounterlights to the side with the sink and the most counter area.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:42PM
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If you haven't already done it, you should cross-post on the GW "Lighting" forum. davidtay is a real expert and very helpful.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:49PM
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As suggested, davidtay is extremely helpful, so posting this over there would be a great idea.

It may also be helpful to give an idea as to budget - are you looking for "ideal lighting solutions" or "budget lighting solutions". In part, that is to ask, are you looking for just one light fixture or are you looking to improve the overall lighting situation in your kitchen? (One central light in a kitchen is rarely ideal lighting.)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 8:17PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Thanks to all of you, I will post on the lighting forum. Between your responses and other I may receive, I know I will get very good advice that I can understnd. As stated, my kitchen is small and is just too narrow for both light fixtures and recessed cans.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Hi walnutcreek - I just posted a similar response to a posting about track lighting, which is what I went for in my small galley kitchen. I was going to have to lower my ceilings if I wanted cans/recessed lighting so I went with a track system along with UCL and am very happy with the results.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 3:13PM
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