# Let's talk about Lumens - Kitchen Lighting Design

SwentasticJuly 29, 2014

Now that we have our layout finalized, I need to come up with a scheme for the electrician to install lighting. This kitchen will have no upper cabinets but will have cantilevered shelves (so no undercabs) running above all the lowers including over the sink. The top shelf will probably be 12" deep, the bottom shelf 10" deep. I'm going to do some experimenting tonight with a flashlight and my husband to see where the tracks would need to be placed to still illuminate the countertop and not create shadows in the workspace.

The kitchen is about 10 x 26 - by my rudimentary calculations it seems like we need 25000 lumens or 21 bulbs. Does that sound right? I figured them at MAX so we can scale it back.

Here's the scheme I came up with - the lines with circles will be suspended track lighting with adjustable/movable fixtures. The holes are cans. Does this seem like too much? Not enough?

I HATE the lighting in our current kitchen. The cans are such that if my undercabs aren't on, I can't see what I'm doing on the counter. I'm hoping to avoid this by placing the tracks about 20" from the wall.

Can you guys tell me if this looks like it would work OK? I'm totally out of my element here and don't know where to start with looking at fixtures. Any insight you can offer would be much appreciated!!

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rmtdoug

I hope you mean 2500 lumens? You have a big kitchen but not that big. In any case, I will be following this thread as I want to see what you come up with.

July 29, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Swentastic

Well, see, that's where I was confused too. I actually do mean 25000 lumens.

Here's my calculation based on the HPG website:

9.8 x 26 = 256sf

100 footcandles (max lighting - for prep area) x 256 sf = 25600 lumens

25600 lumens / 1200 lumens per bulb = 21.33 bulbs

Now granted, I'm maxing out my lighting here. I'm planning on having everything on a dimmer so I doubt I'll ever actually use that much light but are my calculations right? Is this total overkill?

Here is a link that might be useful: Calculate Lighting for a Kitchen

July 29, 2014 at 5:03PM
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plllog

There's a GW lighting forum. They probably have the technical knowledge to answer you better. (I turned to them for help with my kitchen lighting, but I went with a lighting designer IRL whom they introduced me to instead of pursuing it online.)

July 29, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Swentastic

Oh ok thanks plllog - I'll check that out too. Unfortunately we're working on a shoestring budget so I probably can't afford a real expert.

July 29, 2014 at 6:37PM
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rmtdoug

I see how you got your figures, but I think the web site was calculating based on need for a specific area, i.e, 100 FC for a food prep area, 20-50 FC for general lighting. It seems you are planning for the whole kitchen being a food prep area. I'm curious to see what someone with experience in this will say.

You asked if it is overkill? I'm thinking maybe it is, but lighting is like outlets, you can never have enough.

This post was edited by rmtdoug on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 19:19

July 29, 2014 at 7:18PM
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raee_gw

I went to a local lighting store (where I had previously bought fixtures) and got free help with the design.

My kitchen is 9.5 x 13 approx., unlike yours I have cabs down both long sides ( one of those sides is shortened by the doorway to the basement steps) so my light is confined to a smaller footprint. I have 5 LED recess kits, 3 on one side with the main counter and sink, 2 on the basement entry side next to the frig and pantry; each 800 lumens I believe (maybe 900) = 3600-4000 lumens, and even dimmed to 75-80%, I have more than enough light for the counters with upper cabs without turning on the UCLs. I really feel that I didn't need all the undercabinet lights -- I rarely turn them on. I am a bit older and really appreciate good lighting -- I go into the kitchen when I need to see small print well.

So it seems to me that for your space around 10,000-12,000 lumens would be a ballpark. I have no idea how the use of track lighting for some of that will effect the dispersal and effectiveness of the light, though.

July 29, 2014 at 7:35PM
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brightm

We just put 6 4" LED recessed lights at 550 lumens each as the main overhead light. That alone lights up our 13 x 17 room up super bright. We have one more as a task light over the sink. We'll have 3 pendants over the island, UCL, and a hood with lights. Lighting wise, it's going to be WAY more than enough. Like you, everything will be on dimmers because I have no idea how all this will play out. I can't say how it'll be functionally (shadows, etc.) since we're not finished, but it SEEMS like it's going to work out well.

July 30, 2014 at 12:53AM
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calumin

That's a lot of lumens. 35 lumens per square foot is probably a better estimate. That would include recessed lighting, task lighting, etc. Our kitchen was 11x17 and we did about 9000 total lumens, and that is extremely bright. We don't always have all the lights on (e.g. UCLs aren't usually on), but for recessed lighting we have 10 575 lumen lamps across a 11x13 space, and it's pretty bright.

You should think about using LEDs for recessed lighting. There are Cree 4" lights (CR4, or EcoSmarts at HD - same light) that put out 575 lumens each. They are very bright with good light. If your ceiling is 9' or higher you might want brighter lights -- there are Cree 6" lights that go up to 1000 lumens each. Either way, your 1200 lumens / bulb estimate is high if you're doing LEDs.

On the lighting forum there is a thread that goes over how to calculate recessed LED requirements, it will tell you more than you probably need to know.

July 30, 2014 at 3:42AM
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schicksal

FWIW our kitchen is about 12x28 and 15 Cree CR4 LED lights are more than adequate. If this helps give you an idea... there are three more lights ahead and to the left because the room jogs over a bit. Spacing is about 4.5' I think. They were easy to install / took forever to measure.

This post was edited by schicksal on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 7:08

July 30, 2014 at 7:04AM
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Swentastic

Wow thanks for all the feedback - I think you're all right, this design is overkill. Schicksal I really like your kitchen - very nice!

Funny enough, Cree is one of my clients. Maybe they'll give me a discount?? Fat chance! I'll look into those 4" LEDs, I think they'd probably be a good option. I'd still like to use some directional track lighting just to highlight the stuff on the shelves, etc. Will let you all know what I came up with - thanks for the input!

July 30, 2014 at 1:11PM
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schicksal

If you do decide to go with the 4 or 6" LEDs, the best price I was able to find them was on Amazon. You can get a decent discount if you buy in quantities of 4 (4/8/12 packs).

July 30, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Swentastic

Awesome! Great to know!

July 30, 2014 at 2:43PM
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