Alternatives to Recessed Lighting?

danielle00December 9, 2008

Our space is 19 x 13.. we will have an island and a table for eating. One large window near the sink.

Ideas? Pictures?


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Recessed would work well for us, but in our remodel we can't afford the cost of re-drywaling the ceiling, and texturing as there is no over head access. So we are also looking for alternatives as we have only an 8ft ceiling height.

We saw some interesting looking rope track lights at IKEA, but they have those 40w halogen spot lights and we don't know if 10 of them is enough to provide enough light on those days when it's dark at 5pm.

So I'm looking for suggestions too. My kitchen is smaller at 10.5' x 10.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 1:49PM
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nutbunch, you can install recessed lights without tearing out the whole ceiling. Look for remodel cans. Basically, a hole is drilled into the ceiling matching the can and it pops in. The hard part is getting the wires to the can.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 3:31PM
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nut bunch-- we used a lot of ikea lighting in our two previous homes (townhouse and then a single family home). the track lighting looked nice, but every single light failed (meaning it would not work even if we changed the bulb). It was very, very annoying.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I am not a fan of recessed lights either. I am considering the one I have linked below and another surface mount LED light sold by a local retailer.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: How about something like this?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:59PM
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homepro-- thanks.. that's an interesting solution. i have a lighting consultant coming tomorrow, so we'll see what she comes up with.. probably something expensive ;o)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 6:33PM
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Danielle - I'm so sorry about your IKEA lighting and that does make me think again! It woud be very annoying to have to replace the whole fixture when a bulb burned out.

djandkpl - Yes it's the wiring that is the problem and the ceiling joists that runs perpendicular to our kitchen flow. So to connect all the wires, you'd have to drill through or go around them. Not recommend without taking out a huge swatch of ceiling around the light switch exposing all the joists. Then they'd run the wires down each area, connect them to the switch and go. Leaving me to pay a sheetrock person to fix the huge ceiling cut out. Maybe someday when I can save up. It will be the last thing needed.

There's a lighting store close by so I think I'll check them out for some close to the ceiling lighting.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 6:34PM
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I did recessed lights in my kitchen, but I don't really need them. I have 11 recessed lights, undercabinet lights, 3 pendents over island, one double short fixture over sink, 2 sconces...I think that's it. (my kitchen is 15 or so x 25)

If you do undercabinet lights, a light or sconce over the sink and some pendents (number and size dependent on size of island) over the island, plus something near or over the table I think you'd be fine as long as there are no dark corners or other odd spaces.

I don't have a fixture over my table because there was no way to center it without it looking stupid from other rooms. There are 2 sconces there (on either side of the entrance to the great room), but they don't provide enough light to eat by (unless you want dim lighting). So, we do use the 2 recessed lights over the table, but the other recessed lights are only used if I turn off the pendent lights. If I used all the lights in my kitchen you could do brain surgery in there.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:32PM
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I don't personally like the look of recessed lights...have you thought of just doing a more traditional lighting scheme? here's what i did:

Installed a new "regular" ceiling light in the main kitchen area that has 3 100 watt bulbs (I'm using daylight bulbs there). 2 mini pendants over our peninsula. 1 smallish chandelier over our dining table (the wall is gone between rooms). I also have undercab light on one long counter (flourescent) and a light over the sink. This gives me PLENTY of lighting, and I think it's more homey than recessed.

main light


dining light

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:15PM
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I am not sure I remember EXACTLY how he did it, but I had recessed lights done in a textured ceiling that must run both parallel and perpendicular to the joists, and there was no damage to the ceiling at all. Since I have an "L" shaped kitchen, with lights along both runs, they can't both be parallel to the joists. It was not a big deal to the young electrician who did it. He was a friend of my nephew, but a licensed electrician, and works for a large company that does numerous kitchen remodels among other things, so he had done more than a dozen kitchens before mine.

I am not sure what the problem is with yours unless it could be an electrician that doesn't normally do renovations or retrofitting of fixtures. I am pretty sure I have photos somewhere of the wiring going in when the backslash area was removed and the wiring run through for the UC lighting as well. If you are interested in pursuing it, I will look them up for you to see if we can see exactly how he ran the wires up to the ceiling. I really wasn't a big deal at all.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 12:37AM
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RE: Posted by danielle00 (My Page) on Tue, Dec 9, 08 at 17:52....the track lighting looked nice, but every single light failed (meaning it would not work even if we changed the bulb).

I have a followup question.... We bought a 5 piece track lighting set 6+ years ago when we built our home. Thus far, we have never replaced a single bulb. Then this morning, I came down and the lights wouldn't go on. What's the likelihood that all the bulbs burned out on the same day? If we drove the 1 hr to Ikea and bought new bulbs - would you think that I would be back up and running ..... or .... Is it far more likely that the fixture is pooched. Suggestions appreciated, please and thank you.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 6:49PM
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Have you changed the bulbs? What happened? We've had fixtures with multiple bulbs go dark in one day.. with the ikea ones, though, it was normally dead for good.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 6:59PM
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We used a 'layered' approach to lighting. Surface fixtures provide general illumination into cabinets all the way to the top. This layer provides about half of the needed lighting and are intended to be left on all day long. Recessed cans were cut into the existing ceiling (lath and plaster) using a RotoZip and carbide tile bit with circle adapter. The circles for retrofit fixtures have to be as exact as possible. This layer of lighting is located to illuminate the counter and provide the majority of work light. There are mini-pendants at the peninsula on a dimmer for both supplementary work light and ambient light when desired. Additional miniature downlights on a dimmer are over the sink to play a similar role. With all of this we don't need undercabinet lights.

All of this required careful planning to make an ordered layout that fit into the joist spaces. We were installing a beam so we had access to one end of the ceiling joists and used that for routing wires between the joist spaces. However, I have used fixture holes to drill through adjacent joists and wire things up that way. That will only work if you are lucky and have a relatively dense layout, however.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 11:22AM
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