Kitchen lights

holcombe3August 24, 2013

I need help planning my lights for my kitchen. My husband is wiring the home and when I went to look at it today he had placed 3 can lights over the island. I was picturing maybe 2 hanging lights over it. The table is going where the bay windows are and there will be a bar opening into the living room. Should I just leave the can lights and put a pretty light over the kitchen table?

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I would save the pretty light for the table. Most hanging lights are not task lights so if you plan to work on the island, the spots will give better light. Also, are your ceilings 8 ft? Mine are and I think my pendants look silly. Wish I had saved the $$$$. They're pricey.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:10PM
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When we were remodeling, we learned from a lighting consultant that you want to light your kitchen like no other room in your house! You may see if there's a store that does free or one time consultations to give you a plan.

We have four small cans on the corners of the island (ours is a square shape,) a hanging light and then cans in the major pathways. We also have two cans over our sink and then there is a light on the vent over the stovetop. You want those lights in front of the workspace so you don't have any shadows.

It doesn't sound like you have enough lighting? The space where the three cans over the island might be better as pendants? Then add cans in the perimeter walkways around the counters?

And still have your pretty light over your table! :-)

If you post your kitchen plan, we can better help you - I agonized over lighting so I feel your pain!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 1:13PM
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I realized that sounds like a ridiculous amount of lighting so I'm posting a pic so you can see that it's really not. The key is separating the island from the perimeter walkway b/c your body will block one side or the other.

(Our cans on the four corners of the island are really more for a softer light - they get used rarely but are for more drama when I want the big light off. That's also b/c of the shape of our island. If you have three cans or three pendants on dimmers, you'll have what you need.

A low ceiling is definitely tricky - if it's low enough that any pendants won't really provide any light but directly down, you may want to stick with the cans.

So, you want to take your kitchen plan and come up with a lighting plan that works for your space -

Oh, also, the larger round flat discs in ours are speakers so ignore those!)

The lighting consultant hand drew the plan but this was the converted copy. The red circles on the perimeter where 5" cans (could have been 6") and over the island were 4". Decorative light is the circle. (You would have your three here, either cans or pendants.)

If you post your kitchen cabinet/island plan, folks can take a look! :-)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Thank you so much for the help so far! Here are the prints for the kitchen. He is wiring the house this weekend so he is pushing me to make a decision.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 2:44PM
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OK - Hmmmm...

Looking at your plan, I think you're going to want a lot of lights! That is a big area between the kitchen and the dinette area.

I think you'd want the three lights over the island, either cans or pendants. Since your island isn't oriented towards the eating area, you could probably just go with cans? Or I am not sure what that shape is in front of the island (behind the word "kitchen?") Anyway, those lights on one switch, with a dimmer. I'll look at Houzz because there are some islands perpendicular to the kitchen that have pretty pendants since it's such a nice big island.

I would consider four more cans around the walkway perimeter of the kitchen - basically the four a little off the four corners of the island? Separate switch with dimmer.

And, I would put one can tucked back but directly over your sink. The other lights are all at your back so otherwise, you shadow yourself.

Do you have a table for the dinette area or is it built in - and if so, what size?

If you want to put your prettiest light over the table, defintely that's a great spot. But unless it's very bright (and you want just that light,) or there are big windows that always provide light, I would consider some cans around there too. Depends on how you're planning on orienting your table - maybe two, maybe four. Separate switch than any other set, including the center light, and on a dimmer!

And make sure you can turn all these lights on from multiple, logical places! Which path will you use when you most often walk in the room? Make sure you have the first light you reach there be the most important lights for your kitchen. Then is there a path you more often use to exit the room - or when you come in from the outside, etc. WALK your paths and then mark on the wall which switch you want to have and where. We have a four-way switch for our main kitchen lights because we have four spots we enter and exit the room!

Do you use Houzz? One of the best ways to figure things out is look for kitchens similar to your layout and see how their lighting is laid out.

Let me know what you think and I can help maybe mark it up for you on the photo to give your husband.

I am paying it forward because I was SO stressed about our kitchen lighting. I had to scrape every resource possible until I found this consultant who would help me and even then, he wasn't very responsive b/c we didn't buy the lights there. Having a well-lit kitchen now makes me so happy - there's nothing worse than dark spots or shadows in some place all the time. You can always choose to dim or leave lights off but you can never make it brighter!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 5:15PM
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OK - I'm back - what's your house and kitchen design style? I can look for a few examples if I know that - hard to tell from just the framing and a plan. ;-)

Ignore the vaulted ceiling on this one, but here's one that's (very) traditional where the dining area is perpendicular to the island - similar layout to yours but this one is more closed in. You're has the nicer area to the dinette area and prettier angles. Anyway, the three pendants on the island are from Restoration Hardware.

Not saying it's your style but I think it helps to envision. Do you have "dream pics?" Those can help with lighting!

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz Trad'l Kitchen with lights

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Alexa you have went above and beyond to help me. Thank you so much! I showed your response to my husband and we went off that to lay the lights out today. And btw your kitchen is gorgeous! The area behind the island is a bar area that opens up into the living room. It will be arched over it. We haven't got our table yet but it will be a farm type table. All these decisions are so stressful but people like you help tremendously! I will post final pics when we get finished:)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:22PM
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